Secular Arguments for Having a Large Family - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 59 Old 10-12-2011, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure where to post this :)

 

Are there secular arguments for having larger families? Everything I see is always based in religion--I've only ever seen one person make a secular argument. This is something DH and I have been discussing but I'd love to hear thoughts on this.


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#2 of 59 Old 10-12-2011, 09:55 PM
 
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You could make a natural selection argument, with the larger number of offspring contributing to a greater chance of genetic success. I'm not sure if you were looking for more personal reasons though? I don't know too many people that consider natural selection relevant to their life / children! wink1.gif
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#3 of 59 Old 10-12-2011, 10:00 PM
 
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We're not religious at all and have a large family =)  We just figure that we're really awesome parents compared to the average person out there, so we figure we're doing the world a favor by raising so many awesome kids biggrinbounce.gif

 

Dunno if that's really an argument either, tho--LOL.

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#4 of 59 Old 10-12-2011, 10:41 PM
 
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do you need anything more than 

 

because we want to and can afford to do it?

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#5 of 59 Old 10-12-2011, 10:52 PM
 
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We're not religious at all and have a large family =)  We just figure that we're really awesome parents compared to the average person out there, so we figure we're doing the world a favor by raising so many awesome kids biggrinbounce.gif

 

Dunno if that's really an argument either, tho--LOL.


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#6 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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I've heard non-religious (and religious) people simply say, "We've always loved the idea of having a large family." Is there more explanation needed? I always just thought of it as a personal preference, not a religious thing. 


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#7 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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I would think "We enjoy kids" would be a good starting place.

 

A more in depth answer might be along the lines of "We think that in our situation a large family dynamic would be healthy and wonderful, not to mention fabulous". 

Even if I weren't religious, I would want a huge family, because I *do* like the dynamics of a larger family.

 

And on a silly note: "This world needs more intelligent folks, especially those raised by the likes of us."

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#8 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I would think "We enjoy kids" would be a good starting place.

 

A more in depth answer might be along the lines of "We think that in our situation a large family dynamic would be healthy and wonderful, not to mention fabulous". Even if I weren't religious, I would want a huge family, because I *do* like the dynamics of a larger family.

 

And on a silly note: "This world needs more intelligent folks, especially those raised by the likes of us."



orngbiggrin.gif

 

Thank you everyone! I think the main issue is that I would really like to have a lot of kids but DH has been more influenced by the societal mindset that anything above 2 or 3 is borderline irresponsible (for us, not judging others). We were talking the other night about how only religious people seem to be able to do it and have it be seen as legitimate and worthwhile. You just don't see many non-religious (or maybe rather non-conservative religious) large families so I guess we don't have good examples.

 

Ultimately I guess I'm hoping to find some good arguments to work on with DH...that having a lot of kids is okay, that there are really important reasons to possibly do so.


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#9 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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free labor?  that's why grandma did it.  


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#10 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Replacement rate in Dh's family is HORRIBLE... We only have two at the moment and we'd like a couple more but his dad was the only one of four siblings to have children and they only had two... So I often hear of over population and such and I just tell them that I am planning on making up the replacement rate for a few family members ;) And then I tell that that SOMEONE will need to pay their pension ;)

 

But it doesn't hurt that Canada's replacement rate is lower than it needs to be ;)

 

So do you have any family members that haven't replaced themselves that you could "help" out :lol:


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#11 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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I agree with Meemee.  No arguments needed.

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#12 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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I don't know if I have a large family. I have four living children and that seems to be the cusp number, for some reason. More than four is always considered a lot. Less han four isn't generally considered to be a lot. Four seems to be the point where people are most evenly split between "OMG - that's a huuuuugggge family" and "four's not so many".  However, since most people seem to think that four is a lot (and so do I, sometimes), I'll chip in my reason.

 

I wanted four kids. That's it. If my reproductive life hadn't been such a freaking disaster, so I'd been able to have them all when I was a bit younger, and if dh were onboard, and if Vancouver weren't such an insanely expensive place to live, I'd have probably gone with five or six, because I found I really do love having a bunch of kids around (usually). But, I always wanted four, so I have four. I've never felt that I needed to make an argument for it.


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#13 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hildare View Post

free labor?  that's why grandma did it.  



Well... I do have someone to unload the dishwasher these days.... and once the little kids are a bit bigger- I can supervise MORE tasks! 

 

Seriously, we have the number of children we want for our family.  I don't really feel like I owe anyone an explanation, it's just what we decided works for us.  (We are about to have #4 in a couple months, so I know we do have people comment..)

 

That said, people we are close to and who 'get' our family dynamic don't ask.  The people who DO ask, really have no place to do so as they aren't close to our family.  I know my parents don't really understand, but they also don't ask for justification. They have finally learned to go with it and enjoy being over run on occasion when hey are visiting or when we visit them. 

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#14 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hildare View Post

free labor?  that's why grandma did it.  



Along those lines, to ensure you're well-cared for in your old age. ;)  


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#15 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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Hum, honestly the only arguments that I can think of are the traditional (depressing) ones. Need for labor, infant mortatily, high rates of disease, spread burden of caring for non-productive family members in old age, etc.

 

Most people don't need children for these reasons anymore, and I at least there are many reasons not to have large families. (All of which DH brings up every time we discuss a third kid.)

 

So I think it all comes down to "we love kids, we try to be good parents, we love the dynamic of a big family, and we can afford it."

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#16 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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So I think it all comes down to "we love kids, we try to be good parents, we love the dynamic of a big family, and we can afford it."


Yep, this is how I feel about it, with #4 coming soon smile.gif

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#17 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

 

 

So I think it all comes down to "we love kids, we try to be good parents, we love the dynamic of a big family, and we can afford it."


 

This is, ultimately, where we came to with it.  The affording it is a pinch sometimes- but only in this moment. It's getting exponentially easier each month and we couldn't delay until everything was 'right' financially because we just don't have an open time frame in terms of my being able to have children. We accepted that things would be tight for a couple years then get better.  I know some of the judgment we get is because we aren't THERE  financially in everything, but in the end this is what we feel is best for our vision of our family.  

 

 

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#18 of 59 Old 10-13-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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We are religious, but I think there are lots of reasons why having a large family is wonderful!  My kids are great friends to each other, and we all learn so much from one another about respect, sharing, caring for one another, especially those less able, not wasting, reusing, contentment with what we already have (i.e. less materialism), frugality, baby care, witnessing healthy pregnancy and birthing (tho none of my kids have actually seen a sibling born, they have been there right after the fact), extended and tandem breastfeeding.  Also, it sure does make it easier to talk to your teens about why they should wait to have sex, and they "get" the realities of what it means to have a baby.  I was watching "Little House on the Prairie" today and Laura's husband made a comment to Pa about how hard it must be to raise five kids.  Pa said, "The more you have, the easier it gets."  And while he immediately retracted that statement on the show, I don't think he is far off.  The older ones are the experiments.  You don't know what you're doing, and you never will.  They will always be paving the way and breaking you in as a parent.  But the young ones, you relax and it's just easier.  You know what is serious and what is not.  (And then you have twins and feel like a first time parent all over again. LOL)  But, I think for so many people that only have 1, 2 or 3 children (the ones that always tell me, "I don't know how you do it!") that they never get past that point that children are difficult for them because they are always just in the breaking new ground stage of parenting as their children progress into each new stage.  Also, they only remember how difficult having an infant was without having the help of older children.  When your older ones can make their own sandwiches or fetch a book and read to their siblings or fetch diapers, mama's water, etc. it really isn't as tough.  When my sister started having her kids, I used to tell her that every firstborn should come with an 8 year old.  Anyway, that's my perspective.  

 

Oh, and the best reason, having kids keeps you young.  Who doesn't want that?

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Originally Posted by mylilmonkeys View Post

 every firstborn should come with an 8 year old. 

 

Beautiful. Just beautiful. And, so very true. I have 10 years between ds1 and dd1, and she seems so young compared to him, but I'm constantly blown away by how grown up she really is, in so many ways.

 

Oh, and the best reason, having kids keeps you young. 

 

I really wish that were true for me, but it's not. Having kids has aged me horribly, and I feel really, really old most of the time.


 

 


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#20 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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 every firstborn should come with an 8 year old.  Anyway, that's my perspective.  

 

 



The dynamic is VERY different with older kids in the house along with  tiny kids.  The big kid(s) get a huge sense of accomplishment when they are able to help, the little kids get a lot from interacting with older siblings (who are, by definition, WAY more fun than parents much of the time) and a parent is able to actually make dinner or grab a shower and it's totally acceptable to ask the big kid to keep an ear on a sleeping child or play trains with a toddler for 15 minutes while you toss dinner together.  SO AMAZING. 

 

 

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#21 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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I think the main issue is that I would really like to have a lot of kids but DH has been more influenced by the societal mindset that anything above 2 or 3 is borderline irresponsible (for us, not judging others).


I think getting more specific with him and addressing his actual concerns would go further than repeating slogans. We in the west have a massive impact on fossil fuel use and the resultant emissions, and one argument for smaller families is that the planet cannot support even the population we currently have at the rate we consume and emit (much less a growth in the number of people who live like typical Americans/Canadian), so if those are his concerns getting real about how your family can be different from the norm makes sense *to me.*

 

If, on the other hand, he sees it as irresponsible because of concerns about paying for education and helping the kids get properly launched into the world, you'd be best off going with a completely different argument.

 

I think you could take a really positive outlook on his hesitance, seeing it as a way to better plan and have an even cooler big family. Realistically addressing his concerns could ultimately mean you go into "big familydom" with eyes wide open and a social awareness that will be very positive for all those kids you talk him into having!

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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yup ITA with linda. 

 

you've got to know your 'enemy' before you go into 'battle'. half the battle is won when you know where the concern is coming from. 

 

it is a good place to start. 

 

for me - i wanted a lot of children. and the one argument that stayed with me - was population growth. now life didnt give me the family i wanted and i will always be a little sad about it.

 

but i have always felt i am raising a v. conscious kid. here is 'my' argument why i should have had many kids. 

 

 It means that a young kid from the Andes who's raised to believe that that mountain is an Apu spirit that will direct his or her destiny will be a profoundly different human beingand have a different relationship to that resource or that place than a young kid from Montana raised to believe that a mountain is a pile of rock ready to be mined. Whether it's the abode of a spirit or a pile of ore is irrelevant. What's interesting is the metaphor that defines the relationship between the individual and the natural world. I was raised in the forests of British Columbia to believe those forests existed to be cut. That made me a different human being than my friends among the Kwagiulth who believe that those forests were the abode of Huxwhukw and the Crooked Beak of Heaven and the cannibal spirits that dwelled at the north end of the world, spirits they would have to engage during their Hamatsa initiation. a quote from my favourite anthropologist Wade Davis

 

its the consciousness with which I am raising my child that will make a difference to who she is as an adult. it already shows. she has been concerned about people and earth issues since she was 5. she will change the world in her own way. she will be a mindful citizen - not a rabid consumer. 

 

to me that is more important than anything else. to have compassion for others and care enough to stand up for it. we are v. active in protests and volunteering. 

 

doesnt mean you have to do the same as me. we all need to raise our children 'consciously' to not be conspicuoous consumers of anything. 


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#23 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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Quote:
I think you could take a really positive outlook on his hesitance, seeing it as a way to better plan and have an even cooler big family. Realistically addressing his concerns could ultimately mean you go into "big familydom" with eyes wide open and a social awareness that will be very positive for all those kids you talk him into having!

 

nod.gif  Bill Clinton says he came away from his first presidential debates much stronger and more confident than before, simply because he'd been required under fire to clearly define and defend to himself what he really believed in.

 

At one point I wanted a lot of kids. I'm not religious at all.  Like others here mentioned, I liked the idea of the energy and joyful chaos, of siblings being friends, of the support and love a large family can give each other.  (And I'm 7 years younger than my next sibling, and I totally agree about how beneficial it is to have someone else, someone cool, to look up to.)  

 

Not entirely relevant here, but I changed my mind about having a big family because 1) I realized I would not handle it well and 2) dh was/is not at all inclined to have a big family.  Later I learned about the reasons Linda and Meemee describe and could not deny the wisdom. I certainly don't think I need to be replaced, humanity as a whole does not need me to have children.  

 

One obvious solution to the over population/carbon foot print issue is adoption.  I think if my first issue, above, wasn't such a problem I would have rallied dh to consider adopting a bunch of kids. 

 

For a while I really mourned that I wouldn't have my big, loud, enthusiastic family.  Well, I did get the loud part. eyesroll.gif

 

 

Quote:
We were talking the other night about how only religious people seem to be able to do it and have it be seen as legitimate and worthwhile.

 

Well, or generally it's considered impolite to criticize people's religious beliefs to their faces. 


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#24 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I think getting more specific with him and addressing his actual concerns would go further than repeating slogans. We in the west have a massive impact on fossil fuel use and the resultant emissions, and one argument for smaller families is that the planet cannot support even the population we currently have at the rate we consume and emit (much less a growth in the number of people who live like typical Americans/Canadian), so if those are his concerns getting real about how your family can be different from the norm makes sense *to me.*

 

You know, I used to think it made sense. I don't, anymore. We (Canada - not sure about the US, but I think it's the same) need more people. Our population is aging, and we need more people to keep the wheels turning, produce food, run services, take care of the aging population, etc. etc. If people here don't have enough children, then immigration will jump. I have lots of opinions on that, and some of them contradict each other, so I'm not going to get into it. But...when those people immigrate to Canada, they then consume like a Canadian. What difference does it make If the 20 somethings buying more clothes than they can reasonably wear, driving expensive cars (road racing, actually), buying every gadget that comes down the wire, etc. etc. were born in Canada or immigrated here? They're still consuming (as am I) a far greater share of the world's resources than people living elsewhere.


If the issue is the consumption levels of people living in North America, then why does it end up being about whether those people are born here or born elsewhere?

 



 


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#25 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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On an ethical, secular angle, we have an aging population in North America and a shortage of younger people to step up into jobs to care for the elderly that paid their taxes and made the world what it is today.  If everyone had smaller families, who would care for them? Also, some countries (like my own, Canada) are in situations where there aren't enough people to keep up economically.  We are at the point we are recruiting immigrants because we don't have the birth rate to get by.  And I do agree that kids from larger families have a leg up in dealing with social situations and very importantly, compromise.

 

But really, it should be about your personal desires and needs, because the choices you make with your family, of any size, over-rides any issue of numbers.  A large family can live more sustainably than some small families due to the choices made.  And your children can pass these values on to the next generation.


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#26 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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Someone has to keep paying into Social Security, dadgummit!  The Babyboomers should have had MORE kids, not fewer.

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#27 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:

You know, I used to think it made sense. I don't, anymore. We (Canada - not sure about the US, but I think it's the same) need more people. Our population is aging, and we need more people to keep the wheels turning, produce food, run services, take care of the aging population, etc. etc. If people here don't have enough children, then immigration will jump. I have lots of opinions on that, and some of them contradict each other, so I'm not going to get into it. But...when those people immigrate to Canada, they then consume like a Canadian. What difference does it make If the 20 somethings buying more clothes than they can reasonably wear, driving expensive cars (road racing, actually), buying every gadget that comes down the wire, etc. etc. were born in Canada or immigrated here? They're still consuming (as am I) a far greater share of the world's resources than people living elsewhere.


If the issue is the consumption levels of people living in North America, then why does it end up being about whether those people are born here or born elsewhere?

Yeah, I tend to agree. It isn't quite as simple as "there are too many people in the world". New Zealand, where I live, is another country that "needs" more people. Now, IF the government were to "import" a million or so young, skilled professionals from a crowded country, on the face of it that would make more sense than the current NZers producing more humans. But it just isn't going to happen, and wouldn't work: I mean, imagine the cultural chaos that would be caused with a huge number of immigrants, and, let's face it, the resulting racism and antagonism towards the newbies, and then making the economy work... it just WON'T happen.

 

So. Do we have few kids, as more and more of the population moves into retirement homes every year? Do we accept that massive social problems for a few generations is a fair price to pay for a smaller world population 50 years down the track? Do we go ahead and have lots of kids, trusting that science and ecological awareness will nullify some of the current pollution/overconsumption/food wastage issues in a few generations anyway? Can we ethically do that if we're not personally trying to make that a reality; and if not, how involved do we have to be? Is recycling and eating local enough, or should our kids be powering the (second-hand) computer with a bicycle inside a yurt? Isn't it more eco-friendly to bring up kids en masse - 6 to a house, sharing bedrooms and eating food made in bulk and so on - than six only children, each (typically) with brand-new clothes and their own toys and art supplies? (And if so, can you convince five of your friends not to procreate, so you can have all six?) :p

 

Complicated stuff.

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#28 of 59 Old 10-14-2011, 10:26 PM
 
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 (And if so, can you convince five of your friends not to procreate, so you can have all six?) :p

actually some of the mama's did do it here. since i could only have one of the 6 i really wanted, some mama here went and had 5 for me. winky.gif

 

however dd is still trying to find me a man with many kids so that we could have our large family after all. and instantly too. so i may need my numbers back if we actually do find one. smile.gif

 

 


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#29 of 59 Old 10-15-2011, 04:24 AM
 
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can you believe this thread woke me up. 

 

oooo oooo ooo. then immigration IS the answer. 

 

because its taking population from over populated countries and putting it in under populated countries. (some elite are serious about this and there is some underhand 'racist' hanky panky going on there). even though on paper linnaeus's classification of race was rejected many years ago it still lives on socially everywhere in the world (i guess it existed before linnaeus because that's what he based his classification on). we are our own worst enemy. give us money and education and it makes us even more bigoted. throw in some religion for a twist and OMG - the atom bomb.  

 

those immigrants dont become instant conspicuous consumers. they also tend to take care of the old people mostly as caregivers. even those older people with family. family guarantees you nothing. actually neither does children - except perhaps for a bit extending your gene pool. but as einstein (or was it gandhi) pointed out you've got to take a shot so that at least you have a chance. 

 

some of those very immigrants become as they become cititzens not just on paper and dont have so many children (may take one or more generations) and then they weed themselves out. 

 

hey i think that's the perfect solution to overpopulation. 

 

i mean i am the perfect example. i am an immigrant. both my parents came from large families. and yet i have just one child. AND i HAVE become a conspicuous consumer (hide.gif i SOOOO try not to toss veggies out of my fridge, but i do it sometimes). and these are not cheap veggies. but organic seasonal local farm veggies. OUCH!!!! 

 

you know i am being facetious here right?!!! but there is some truth somewhere out there. 
 


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#30 of 59 Old 10-15-2011, 04:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

New Zealand, where I live, is another country that "needs" more people. Now, IF the government were to "import" a million or so young, skilled professionals from a crowded country, on the face of it that would make more sense than the current NZers producing more humans. But it just isn't going to happen, and wouldn't work: I mean, imagine the cultural chaos that would be caused with a huge number of immigrants, and, let's face it, the resulting racism and antagonism towards the newbies, and then making the economy work... it just WON'T happen.

i wouldnt be too sure smokering. sometimes countries just dont have that choice. yes for an island nation it would mean more devastation and for myself that would mean more disappearance of indigenous people and culture (and i feel we are losing our greatest treasures) from whatever little there is. 

 

its funny that you write what you write because at one time "you" were the immigrant and yup drastically reduced the local population (no antagonism towards you smokering). 

 

in fact in europe elections are being fought and won on exactly this viewpoint alone. kinda sorta that's happening in the US too. esp. border states down south. but its HUGE in europe and it was this very issue that got the swedish prime minister elected. and why? because since the Iraq war more citizens have fled the country for safer grounds. during saddam's reign the elite escaped - not so much the common man. but since the war its the common man. the sad part. the elite was welcomed with open arms everywhere. the poor man was rejected. socially i mean. 

 

isnt it funny that the US with one of the lowest density in the world in the midwest is drawing people (actively buying people from india to come over here, and owing more and more money to china) from the two most populous country. 

 

i think over time even the starkness of russia will not keep people at bay. 

 

i mean the days are not that far away when population will stabilize for a while and then go down after. just as india is rising so is the birth rate going to zero if not in the negative - and to me that seems perfect from the conspicuous consumer point of view. in india from wikipedia i see its rural population going up and the urban birth rate going down. 

 

so are we slowly weeding out conspicuous consumers?!!!!


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