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2 Children Per Family? Why Is This The Norm? - Page 7

post #121 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
Why do we need more people in developed countries? I'm being serious. I haven't heard this before, so, I'd like to know the theories/arguments.
I guess I would probably phrase this more like, "Why do we need to maintain the populations of developed countries." The answer is pretty basic,and I really don't know if it will be popular here or not. Basically, it's just because I want my culture to survive. I think that is a pretty basic human desire.

I don't want to become hyperbolic or effusive, but developed countries produce art and literature and technological advances and medical advances and (if they do the right thing) stop genocide and educate their children; because the position/health/safety of women and children are FAR better in the average developed country than otherwise.

I am proud of my history and culture. I love the English language. I love Restoration and Victorian British Literature. I love Virgil and Horace and Milton and Shakespeare and Dickens and Trollope and Jane Austen. So... the idea of my culture eventually just disappearing because we don't replace ourselves is very upsetting to me.

I'm becoming effusive, so... I'll stop.
post #122 of 179
The chance of our culture disappearing anytime soon is non-existent. Even if people had only 2 kids each, it would take centuries for the population to decline much, and it would still never disappear.
post #123 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
The chance of our culture disappearing anytime soon is non-existent. Even if people had only 2 kids each, it would take centuries for the population to decline much, and it would still never disappear.
As I said, this is hotly debated and there are arguments/educated opinions on both side. IMO, it seems just as unlikely that we would starve to death anytime soon because everyone has more than two children. Malthus was saying this (mass death by starvation) was an imminent threat when he wrote his treatises beginning in 1798.

I don't think anyone on either side thinks that this is going to happen soon. If we're talking about long-term predictions of doom, though, I don't see why mine is any less relevant or possible.
post #124 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by katheek77 View Post
Why do we need more people in developed countries? I'm being serious. I haven't heard this before, so, I'd like to know the theories/arguments.
me too.
post #125 of 179
I seriously doubt most people are having 2 kids because of Malthus. Seriously. Doubt.

Fortunately I also seriously doubt that most people who have more than two kids are doing it because they believe they have to keep outnumbering people in other parts of the world.
post #126 of 179
Concerns over negative population growth within single, developed nations aren't really just about preserving culture. In fact, this is the first time I've heard that argument.

What is a real concern, and is already happening in some parts of Europe, is the lack of young people available to help take care of the infrastructure as well as the needs of the aging population. The same problem is being seen in China. We are seeing it in a small part in North America, and it will be getting worse. Even as a small-scale example, the fundamentals of things like Social Security are based on a pyramidal base. When SS was set up, it was with the idea that 15 young people would be paying into the system for each retiree taking out. Within the next few years (sorry, don't remember the date), those numbers will have declined to 2 paying in for each 1 pulling out. That's just a concrete example of what is happening to the social infrastructure of more developed nations as we see population replacement growth or negative population growth. Immigration could be one solution but that isn't without huge costs, both for immigrants and the receiving country.

This isn't meant to be an argument for or against a 2 child household, just an explanation of one reason some people are opposed to it.
post #127 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
I don't want to become hyperbolic or effusive, but developed countries produce art and literature and technological advances and medical advances and (if they do the right thing) stop genocide and educate their children; because the position/health/safety of women and children are FAR better in the average developed country than otherwise.

I would argue that many of the less developed countries produce art and literature; we're just not exposed to them very often in the West.

I also believe the US is listed near the top of human rights violators in the world. Ahead of many less developed countries.
post #128 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
Basically, it's just because I want my culture to survive. I think that is a pretty basic human desire.
This makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
I don't want to become hyperbolic or effusive, but developed countries produce art and literature and technological advances and medical advances and (if they do the right thing) stop genocide and educate their children; because the position/health/safety of women and children are FAR better in the average developed country than otherwise.
This does not make sense. There is a wealth of art and literature to be found in the "under-developed" and "developing" countries. It just so happens that history ( and the present) is dominated by those who are powerful. There is a lot of strife and unrest in many areas of the world and tracing their past histories might show not just a little 'involvement' of currently 'developed' countries/cultures. We do need to keep that in mind.

We ought to be more concerned about decline in culture than worrying about the unlikely possibility of it disappearing altogether.
post #129 of 179
SweetPotato and USAmma make some pertinent points. Humans are placing a burden on the planet's resources and impacting the environment as never before. It is a sobering thought.
post #130 of 179
"I like Martha Sears' response: "The world needs my children." They have manychildren, and I know that at least the 3 eldest are doing a world of good. Without Robert Sears' vaccine books I don't know how I would have found a good ped, for example. Maybe your 5th child is the one who would find the best solution for energy independence? or write the next great American novel?"

And maybe that 5th child could be the next Ted Stevens (or Ted Bundy) too.

The idea that people should have more kids simply because letting any egg go unfertilized is a loss of a potential "world changer" takes us to a ridiculous place. Just think of all those geniuses we're losing by letting a bunch of 14 yos not have kids right away!
post #131 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by lah7 View Post
Concerns over negative population growth within single, developed nations aren't really just about preserving culture. In fact, this is the first time I've heard that argument.

What is a real concern, and is already happening in some parts of Europe, is the lack of young people available to help take care of the infrastructure as well as the needs of the aging population. The same problem is being seen in China. We are seeing it in a small part in North America, and it will be getting worse. Even as a small-scale example, the fundamentals of things like Social Security are based on a pyramidal base. When SS was set up, it was with the idea that 15 young people would be paying into the system for each retiree taking out. Within the next few years (sorry, don't remember the date), those numbers will have declined to 2 paying in for each 1 pulling out. That's just a concrete example of what is happening to the social infrastructure of more developed nations as we see population replacement growth or negative population growth. Immigration could be one solution but that isn't without huge costs, both for immigrants and the receiving country.

This isn't meant to be an argument for or against a 2 child household, just an explanation of one reason some people are opposed to it.

I've heard this argument before, and I agree with it to some extent. At the same time, if our culture wasn't so consumerist, perhaps it wouldn't be as much of an issue. So, then, I suppose it goes back to sustainability and standards of living, and whether or not our culture is truly "advanced" if we can't sustain it throughout a typical life span. And this, I realize, is a far more complex issue, with a LOT of cultural issues tied up into it.

I think it has to be one or the other. If we, as a culture, lived a radically less consumerist lifestyle, then, yes, having many children would make more sense. Look at the Amish, for example. Relatively simple lives compared to most of America, usually have many children, but also have the means to support the elderly DUE TO their simple lifestyle.

I think the problem, however, is that we're not even close to living that lifestyle. If a culture/community is living in a nearly self-sufficient way, then, yes, many children makes sense.

Additionally, some of the technological advance do go hand in hand with the rapid consumption of natural resources, as well as less need for more children. Most of us in the US are no longer agricultural workers; we don't need 8 children to run the farm. Additionally, medical advances ensure more infants/children survive until adulthood, so, we don't have eight children expecting that at least four will probably die before they are adults.

I think it's kind of one of those trade-offs. Yes, technological advances are great. For real - I'm not being snarky. But, in many cases, those advances result in greater consumption of natural resources, and just aren't sustainable for a large population over a long period of time. I think except for a very few people in the US, most of us aren't living a nearly subsistence lifestyle. What's that saying? With great power comes great responsiblity? And I'm not saying that if you have six children, you're irresponsible. I'm saying, however, that, as a culture, we're not very responsible, and to say that "oh, well, we're environmentally conscious" is great, but, it doesn't come near approximating the lack of consumption in less developed countries.

Where the balance between consumption and production (of ideas, art, advances, etc) is, I don't know, but, I don't think it's occuring here in the US. Just some thoughts. And now I'm going to start dinner.
post #132 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by whalemilk View Post
I seriously doubt most people are having 2 kids because of Malthus. Seriously. Doubt.
.
Well, I didn't mean to suggest that. People certainly were very much affected by him in his time, though. My point is that "Malthusian concerns" have been around for a long time. People really like to argue that many children= bad.


I would never think, "I will have three children so that my babies will outnumber third world babies." But I also think that concluding, "Other parts of the world are producing 'too many" children, so I will have fewer to lessen overall impact" is the sort of thinking that will lead to our culture dwindling and perhaps eventually even dying out. That's what I don't want. Hooray for other cultures, seriously. But I want my own to stick around, too.
post #133 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post
This makes sense.



This does not make sense. There is a wealth of art and literature to be found in the "under-developed" and "developing" countries. It just so happens that history ( and the present) is dominated by those who are powerful. There is a lot of strife and unrest in many areas of the world and tracing their past histories might show not just a little 'involvement' of currently 'developed' countries/cultures. We do need to keep that in mind.

We ought to be more concerned about decline in culture than worrying about the unlikely possibility of it disappearing altogether.
Right, I almost didn't post this because I assumed it would go in that direction. Some seriously underdeveloped countries do produce amazingly artistic and beautiful things. I get that. Also, the Western world has done lots of bad things. I get that, too. I really should have just left this entire issue out of my post, because it is so complex and it is difficult to discuss it without seeming to be bashing other cultures, which is not at all my aim.

The argument that "the West" is failing to reproduce at replacement rates, and that this is bad, is an argument I have only really heard from conservatives; I'm not at all trying to be snarky-- honest!-- but it doesn't surprise me that many here are not familiar with and/or do not agree with those arguments.

Eta, I totally agree with almost everything Kathee said in her last post. We could be doing so much more; we have so much available to us, yet we take it for granted and are very wasteful. I struggle with this all the time. I just do not think that the solution is having fewer children; honestly, even suggesting it is scary, because the situation re: "birth control" in China is abombinable, IMO.
post #134 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post

And maybe that 5th child could be the next Ted Stevens (or Ted Bundy) too.

The idea that people should have more kids simply because letting any egg go unfertilized is a loss of a potential "world changer" takes us to a ridiculous place. Just think of all those geniuses we're losing by letting a bunch of 14 yos not have kids right away!
You're right, this was a pretty poor argument, and it was phrased badly, too. I don't at all mean, "Have as many children as possible, maybe you'll hit the jackpot." But I *do* think that if attached, loving parents, with the means of supporting many children, produce 5 or more children who are all also loving, attached, good people who are all working to make the world a better place.... then it seems like a worthwhile tradeoff that they're consuming a bit more energy.
post #135 of 179
"But I *do* think that if attached, loving parents, with the means of supporting many children, produce 5 or more children who are all also loving, attached, good people who are all working to make the world a better place.... then it seems like a worthwhile tradeoff that they're consuming a bit more energy."

But its impossible to tell how the in utero children of loving, attached, financially secure parents will actually turn out. Statistically they are more likely to be functional adults than the children of people who don't meet that criteria, but there is no surety of functionality, much less making the world a better place. So the energy and resources are consumed regardless.

Additionally, this thought process starts running into the more dangerous territory of who is actually making the world a better place, and who has the right to have kids.

I mean, some people would argue that the Duggers are making the world a better place (by their example of a devout lifestyle) and others think that the last thing the world needs is more religious fundamentalists.
post #136 of 179
I'm not trying to make light of this at all, but the image I have in my head is that of Monty Python dancing around singing 'Every Sperm is Sacred'.

I'm also thinking of the part in 'The Hitchhiker's Guide' and 'Men in Black' where it's suggested that the English language is considred so aweful by the rest of the universe that it's been outlawed.


A PP said that it's unlikely that our culture would disappear very quickly, if at all. But through the courses of history, cultures have disappeared at an alarming rate, and under circumstances less marked or obvious than attempting zero growth of it's population. And laying Malthus aside, though I do think there are many closet adherents of his ideas, especially in the government, I do think that there are people who regard western culture as undeserving of perpetuation, and therefore feel good about limiting it's growth. I think this is demonstrated by the increasingly callous attitudes of the medical community surrounding pregnancy and birth, and the way many women who do not appear to be 'ideal' are treated when they attempt to procreate.


I think what we're all trying to get our heads wrapped around (and please correct me if I'm wrong ) is the huge complexity of the issue of limiting family size. There are many issues wrapped up in it and many beleifs about those issues. Still, these ideas have to have a very powerful hold over us in order to counter the extremely powerful biological urge to perpetuate our own species. If we still lived in caves, the death of our culture/language/family group meant personal death, and the death of our offspriing. We are programmed to create and maintain a complex structure of ideals, and languages, and lifestyle- in short, we are designed to create and maintain a culture for our own survival. We are programmed for survival itself.
post #137 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidirk View Post

I think what we're all trying to get our heads wrapped around (and please correct me if I'm wrong ) is the huge complexity of the issue of limiting family size. There are many issues wrapped up in it and many beleifs about those issues. Still, these ideas have to have a very powerful hold over us in order to counter the extremely powerful biological urge to perpetuate our own species. If we still lived in caves, the death of our culture/language/family group meant personal death, and the death of our offspriing. We are programmed to create and maintain a complex structure of ideals, and languages, and lifestyle- in short, we are designed to create and maintain a culture for our own survival. We are programmed for survival itself.
Thanks for this very balanced view
I think you are right, it is a very complex issue and one which will certainly not be settled here. It was probably somewhat foolish of me to enter into it at all, as my own thoughts on the matter are still somewhat amorphous
post #138 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidirk View Post
A PP said that it's unlikely that our culture would disappear very quickly, if at all. But through the courses of history, cultures have disappeared at an alarming rate, and under circumstances less marked or obvious than attempting zero growth of it's population.
Speaking, as we are, in the context of population growth/control with regards to culture, these parallels become redundant.

Is there really an earnest attempt being made to achieve zero population growth?
post #139 of 179
"Is there really an earnest attempt being made to achieve zero population growth?"

I think some segments of the environmental movement are certainly pushing zpg. Our government most certainly is not - neither through our immigration policy or the emphasis on abstinence versus contraception.

I think the government certainly has an interest in promoting a larger family size -- its a little hard to have an army without young men (especially with China looming as our next potential world counterweight), or support social security and so on.
post #140 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
"Is there really an earnest attempt being made to achieve zero population growth?"

I think some segments of the environmental movement are certainly pushing zpg. Our government most certainly is not - neither through our immigration policy or the emphasis on abstinence versus contraception.

I think the government certainly has an interest in promoting a larger family size -- its a little hard to have an army without young men (especially with China looming as our next potential world counterweight), or support social security and so on.

A very interesting, and thought provoking point. :

(we could use a 'thinker' smiley, no?)
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