Stabilizing World Population

 

Preferred State: World population is stable

Problem State: World population is increasing by 90 million people per year

Strategy 9: Empowering Women

The world's human population has more than doubled since 1950. High rates of population growth exacerbate almost all of the problems of developed and developing nations by overburdening systems designed to meet the needs of much smaller populations. If current trends continue, the world population could grow by another five billion in just fifty more years. Most of the growth is projected to occur in the world's poorest regions, whose fragile infrastructures and ecosystems are already overburdened.(102) Many population researchers have emphasized that current trends are unlikely to continue. More plausible is that the world population will level off within decades, either as a result of an effective plan to stabilize it, or as a result of rising death rates in overpopulated developing countries.

Surveys in developing countries indicate that most women of childbearing age would like to increase the spacing between their pregnancies or stop having children altogether. There are 300 million couples in the developing world who do not want any more children but who are not using any effective means of limiting family size.(103) If women who do not want to become pregnant are empowered to exercise that choice, population growth rates in the developing world fall by about 30%.(104) By making family planning services universally available, providing financial incentives to allow women to realize their goal of a smaller family, and improving prenatal and infant health care and the education of women, the world's population can be stabilized.

Costs/Benefits

Such a program would have a cost averaging $10.5 billion per year for ten years.(105) An investment of this kind and magnitude would increase national and world stability and help to insure progress in all of the other initiatives. There would be a large reduction in the more than 36.5 million illegal abortions performed each year-and in the attendant 180,000 deaths of young women per year as a result of bungled abortions.(106) In addition, infant and maternal death rates would decline substantially as improvements in female educational opportunities steadily raise the literacy rate for women. Family incomes in developing nations would also grow under the plan, as a result of high rates of education and better health. The experiences of developed nations suggest that the population stabilization program would become self-sustaining when combined with the successes of the other strategies listed in this Report.

The $10.5 billion per year for ten years cost of this program is 1.3% of the world's annual military expenditures. Assuming that the population stabilization program saves 150,000 lives per year, the amount the world would save by implementing the program would be over $130 billion.(107)

Regenerating the Environment

The initiatives outlined so far, if aggressively implemented within the next ten years, could fulfill the basic human needs for food, water, shelter, health care, energy and education for all of humanity. To insure that these conditions are lasting, major efforts will also be needed to protect the environment.

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What the World Wants Chart >

Eighteen Strategies...

...for tackling the major problems confronting humanity:

1. Eliminate Starvation and Malnourishment >
2. Provide Health Care & AIDS Control >
3. Provide Shelter >
4. Provide Clean Safe Water >
5. Eliminate Illiteracy >
6. Provide Clean, Safe Energy: Efficiency >
7. Provide Clean, Safe Energy: Renewables >
8. Retire Developing Nations Debt >
9. Stabilize Population
(current page)
10. Prevent Soil Erosion >
11. Stop Deforestation >
12. Stop Ozone Depletion >
13. Prevent Acid Rain >
14. Prevent Global Warming >
15. Remove Landmines >
16. Refugee Relief >
17. Eliminating Nuclear Weapons >
18. Build Democracy >

*Sources:
The What the World Wants Project is by Medard Gabel and the research staff of the World Game Institute. The material in this section of Media Hell is quoted directly from that research. Credits, Major References & Footnotes >