Damn this is stupid

COUPLES who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned.

Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.

A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.

It\’s stupid in two ways.

The first is that it doesn\’t matter, in population terms, how many children each woman has. What matters is how many are had on average. And every industrialised country (bar the US, for reasons to do with high immigration rates) has a fertility rate below replacement. Below the 2.1 which leads to a rising population (absent things like increasing lifespans etc.).

So, we already know how to get the birth rate down, as we in fact have already done it. Get people to being fat and happy and they\’ll have fewer children. So it\’s economic growth that reduces the population.

The second reason that it\’s stupid is that abortion and contraception aren\’t what reduce fertility levels. It\’s changes in desired fertility that do. 90% of the change in actual fertility levels comes from those changes in desired fertility caused by becoming fat and happy. Only 10% comes from the availability of mechanical methods to put that desire into effect.


18 thoughts on “Damn this is stupid”

  1. “Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the *government’s* Sustainable Development Commission.”

    Why do we have to pay for such idiots?

  2. We’ve done this before but it’s well worth repeating.

    The same basic rule (higher income for women = fewer kids) holds true on a country-to-country basis; on a historical basis (compare UK birth rates now with Victorian times) and on a class basis – women in the Underclass have disproportionately many children (to get the nice bennies) than women with a job, qualifications, career (because having too many kids, especially at a young age) would reduce her income.

  3. Half balls, I think, Tim. You’ve ignored the question of when women bear their children. Waiting until their thirties to have them, rather than having them as teenagers, surely has quite an effect?

  4. Porrit is obviously a tool, I would love to see the average UK number of children climb back up to 2 per family – without resorting to bringing women in from the third world.

    In my opinion women want to be able to maintain a certain standard of living for themselves and any potential children.

    If they are able to have children and maintain that standard of living, they will.

    I have a suspicion that the main reason they have not been able to maintain that standard of living over the past decade or so is the cost of housing.

    If raising a child costs £200,000 and your house costs £400,000 (over the lifetime of the mortgage) then you can afford to have fewer children than if houses were say half the price.

    It’s not that long since the average number of kids was 2.4 per family. How do we get back to that state? Perhaps lowering expectations would help. After all people who have children have a better future to look forward to than people who don’t. And pampered kids are no better than kids who’ve occasionally had to do without.

  5. yes it is a burden… bringing full grown immigrants is a profit center
    they get workers and some one else pays for their high expense period(growing up

  6. Pingback: Jonathon Porritt: Stupid and Wicked. | Newpapers Collected

  7. To people who can’t be arsed to ever do a day’s work in their lives, children are a profit centre, which they use to extort money from the state.

    To people who will be up and out of bed at seven o’clock tomorrow morning, and on the road 30 minutes later, children are a luxury.

  8. I’d say there’s another factor left out of the report as given.

    It’s not so much the number of children that’s an environmental issue as the amount they consume. I’d wager two children from Alderley Edge are bigger consumers than a medium sized Tanzanian town.

  9. 1) Interesting to see a lefty/greenie saying this. If it had been somebody on the right there would be screams of fascism

    2) If it a choice between being taxed to breather, move, eat, etc – eternal state bondage, or limiting the yet unborn, to prevent environmental Armageddon(assuming for a moment that it is all true), then which is best? There is no point in heading off Armageddon if we all have to be monitored and controlled by the state. What is the point to life without freedom?

    http://vindicovindico.blogspot.com/2008/03/heathrow-greenies.html and more here http://vindicovindico.blogspot.com/2007/12/climate-change-stuff.html

  10. Julian Simon liked to say ‘with every mouth comes two hands and a mind’. That’s the bit that the OPT don’t get.

  11. The prophet claims in his rant: “So it’s economic growth that reduces the population.”

    This implies that, at a minimum, economic growth is inversely correlated with population growth.

    Really? Like to give some evidence? Over the last 60 years the world population has nearly tripled and has coincided with one of the biggest economic expansions in human history.

    Also, we are about to enter a period of long-term lower economic growth rates. So, it would follow according to the prophet, that population growth should start rising. Presumably, we will become thinner and unhappier and when we’re like this we f*** like rabbits.

  12. Pingback: Jonathon Porritt: Stupid and Wicked. » Spectator Blogs

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