Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Population Control 5: Sex Education, 7 Billion People, and Congestion,

I posted in my facebook wall my earlier discussion, Population Control 4: "Excess People" and Government last October 26, 2011. It attracted some healthy exchange with some friends. I am posting below portions of those exchanges, I removed postings or comments not related to the topic.

Kat: I am having a hard time accepting your premise that population control is wrong, especially in the case of the Philippines.

Emmanuel: I agree with Nonoy...In the Philippines, high population is blamed for a host of problems, but the real causes are related to the general lack of productivity and terrible government policies especially those supported by significant numbers of people...I remember living in the Philippines when the population was much less; the levels of poverty were still very high...Even when the population was only 25 million, same situation....A large percentage of people were still poor.....

Stephen: Interesting discussion, and a worthy one. We being "pro-life" isn't just about whether or not one wants to protect babies. We must have strong efforts to promote quality of life. We see people living under bridges, or on landfills, and just say "Well, that's the way it is." But it doesn't have to be that way. And a true "pro-life" advocate would be working to change THAT, so that the babies who are born will be as productive as possible. Each of us is created in the image and likeness of our God. We must work so that these creations don't live in garbage.

That said, I'm not entirely certain of how the term "population control" is defined. Suggesting restraint and self-control is arguably "population control." I suggest that we try to adopt language that is more clear and removes or at least reduces ambiguity in our assertions. What I may see as "population control" may not even be on your "radar screen." Thus, we're talking but with two different directions.

Kat: I do not agree with Nonoy's point in anti-RH bill because I think women are the ones to suffer from the lack of sex education in the country.

I will take it over none at all. Even if inadequately done, it will provide sex education to students now. They will not have the capacity to offer consultations/ services to all mothers in the community, but it will open up information to students. Give teachers a chance to clarify misconceptions. Isn't that better than none at all?

I will even agree to rationalization/ streamlining or a revamp of bureaucracy. But does the same extend to continued prevention of sex education in the country? I don't think so.

Emmanuel: How is it that civilization managed to exist and thrive for so many thousands of years without sex education?

Kat: I am coming from a point where I hear male teenagers say that it was the girl's fault that she was pregnant because she was a slut and he does not hold responsibility for it.

Emmanuel: Sex education has been taught in American schools for decades and American boys still get girls pregnant and call them sluts....So if you think sex education is the solution, think again....The real problem in the U.S. and the Philippines with regard to getting young girls pregnant is a lack of morals, and you cannot resolve that through "sex education." If the government shows irresponsibility, how can I trust them to do other things right, even when teaching "sex education.?"

Nonoy Oplas: Hi Kat, I am not 100% opposed to family planning or birth control or population control as it is essentially a private and household decision. My beef is why use the govt and its coercive forces to implement such policy? I wrote in that blog article about 2x, Can't supporters of family planning spend their own resources to buy condoms, pills, etc and distribute these to the poor? These are not exactly expensive items.

What many pro-RH bill consider as "excess population is bad" is good for others. If I am younger, I won't stop at just 2 kids, I'd like to have 3 or 4 kids, why? It's cheap to get nannies and helpers here, people who can help watch our kids while me and my wife work. That is why I repeatedly argue that people are assets, not liabilities. Poor people who want to stand on their own, put up a barbeque or fishball stand, or sell buko and palamig as ambulant vendors, so they can feed their families even if they have many kids. But intrusive govt is evil, chasing these poor folks and confiscate their kart simply because they don't get enough busness permits from the barangay to city hall.

Kat: You're a likable libertarian Noy.

Nonoy: Steve, "population control" connotes bad image, so many RH Bill advocates do not want to use or admit that term. They use more neutral terms like "more choices for women", etc. But as I argued in my blog article, expanding CCT, expanding subsidized educ, healthcare, housing, credit, irrigation, etc. are all expanding choices for the people. The only people who have zero choice are the net taxpayers who will ultimately shoulder all those endless subsidies, from subsidized educ to subsidized tractors to subsidized condoms.

About mandatory sex education from Grade 5 to 4th year HS, I am not in favor of it. Many Filipino students, especially in public schools, are poor, if not stupid, in math and science, even in basic English grammar. They should learn more math and science,more English, more history. Now the environmentalists, the RH proponents, the human rights, and so many sectors have succeeded in introducing more and more mandatory subjects in public educ. Soon, students will be good in menstruation science but idiots in basic algebra and word problems.

Sex education, environmental education, human rights, AIDS, etc. are better done by civil society -- through the various academic orgs, the student council, community groups, church groups, parents, relatives, etc. -- not by government and public educ.

Emmanuel: Noy, here in NYC, a 2009 survey of 200 incoming students to the City University of NY who are graduates of local high schools, 90 percent could not answer a simple algebra problem! Yes, we are talking about New York City! Oh, but there a lot of sex education in schools...lol NY State has the highest per-capita spending for public school students...over USD 18,000 annually. How come so much waste...Get government out of public schools...If we want to really help students....

Nonoy: Thanks Emmanuel. I also see here many Filipino high school graduates from public schools. They cannot distinguish when to use a period from a semi-colon or a question mark. Very basic english and sentence construction, they are almost idiots, after spending 10 years in public schools. Adding 6 years of mandatory sex education, plus mandatory environmental educ, mandatory human rights educ, etc., will make those students become more idiots in science, math and basic english.

In one of my discussion yahoogroups, I also engaged some friends to a debate on the RH bill. Here are some points from some friends:

1. From Jack:

Hi Nonoy,

Thanks for indulging me on this. Yup, we do note that population is declining in developed countries such as Germany, and many European countries and also in China. However, the fast paced population growth in other parts of the world would more than offset this. I don't know how long it took planet Earth to get to a population level of 7 Billion but even if one factors in the decline in population in some countries, the increase in most other countries will still contribute to positive population growth.

Wonder what a world with an 11 or 12 Billion population will be like and how long that will take. :)

2. From Gary:

If China's one-child policy has been strictly followed, we should be seeing only half the number of Chinese today in say a half century. The same goes for other countries--to varying degrees--with population growth rates less than the replacement rate of 2.2%.

In addition, there's surprising new evidence that population growth rates do taper off eventually, regardless and independent of the economic picture. Why this happens wasn't explained in the material I came across, but it's evident nonetheless, apparently as some kind of safety mechanism of Mother Nature.

Bottom line: this recurrence of the discredited Malthusian thesis from the seventies will go the same way as its predecessor. The population scare is just as hokey as its twin brother, the climate change scare. It's the same old liberal Left using every scare tactic it can muster against the "raw animal spirits" of capitalist markets.

Unfortunately, even mainstream economists can be suckered just as easily as anybody else. Look at how many of them lined up behind the RH Bill.

3. From Jack again:

World Statistic Figures:

1955 - 2.8 billion
1975 - 4 billion
1986 - 4.9 billion
2001 - 6.1 billion

2011 - 7.0 billion

This may all sound hokey and alarmist to a lot of folks but it looks a lot like exponential growth to me. This idea of negative growth rates now being the rule rather than the exception
(planet wide anyway) is difficult to believe considering the actual statistics and figures. Not that i mind. I am the first to agree with Nonoy that people are assets. So what's wrong with 12 billion people on the planet by 2050 (or sooner). The more people the more assets we have. What's wrong with 200 million Filipinos. Let us go forth and multiply. Let's toss out the small family idea. That's a liberal left concept. During many of our parents' time, having nine siblings in each family was just normal. So what's wrong? Nothing really, except that the pressure on the environment, the pressure for resources, facilities, food, health and sanitation might be brutal if not fatal to many.

I actually worry about the "safety mechanism" that Mother Nature comes up with from time to time.....the black death or the bubonic plague, polio, World Wars, the Spanish flu after World War I, epidemics and pandemics, HIV, ebola, avian flu. Ah, mother nature is the great leveler but am certainly not looking forward to levelings of such kind.

Here are the statistics for the Philippines' population:

1938 - 16 million
1948 - 18 million
1960 - 26 million
2011 - 94 million

I like people, i like making friends, i like talking about life and events, having coffee with colleagues or even just acquaintances, but 200 million Pinoys. Yikes. Have you folks ever been stuck at bumper to bumper traffic lately? I had more than hours of that last night. It took a colleague of mine two hours to get from San Juan to Pasay last night.

And we are only talking of 13 million Pinoys in Metro Manila today. If we keep up this happy business-as-usual attitude, we will have 26 million wonderful Pinoy "assets" in Metro Manila perhaps by the year 2050 or if we are lucky maybe even earlier. That will mean double the number of buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles (including your favorite Pizza, hamburger delivery boys), bicycles and OMG container vans. How lucky can we get? Very lucky indeed.

4. From Gary again:

Mr Jack, extrapolating the future from past trends can be a chancy thing. It was the same thing the Malthusians did, when they (understandably) didn't factor in the positive effects of technology on food supplies. When you look ahead to 2050, and you talk about how many buses motorcycles etc. we'll be crowded with, you likewise can't know what other inventions or new arrangements could come up within the next 40 years--including de-urbanization--to make future reality so different from ours. Heck, 40 years ago, how many of the things we take for granted today were not only non-existent, but even unimaginable?

As for the tapering off of population growth rates, nope, the material I came across wasn't talking about the mortality side of it, but about the fertility side of it. This tapering off of fertility rates is apparently starting to happen across the board no matter what income levels are present. It's a strange and recent phenomenon that they're just beginning to study. Is anyone out there brave enough to say that he understands Mother Nature enough to predict what she can or cannot do under various scenarios? After all those times even in within our own memories that she's been surprising us? I don't think so.

One viewpoint thinks that the range of future possibilities can't exceed what we can know or predict today, and so becomes depressed by the boundedness. The other viewpoint accepts that boundedness but also believes--whether from faith, or from hope, or from respect for our own limitations proven so often in the past--that all sorts of possibilities lie outside those boundaries, and so is always optimistic. The former viewpoint is arrogance, the latter is humility.

5. And more from Jack:

Japan is the third largest economy (used to be the second largest economy until recently) in the world. But how comfortable is it there? Aside from iced coffee and the shinkansen (their bullet train), they have also invented the capsule hotels where businessmen who need to stay overnight in the city stay in exactly that - modern day coffin-like metallic "capsules". It is really just a little bigger than a filing cabinet's drawer and you get fitted in. Well, blankets and a small pillow are provided.

Even with the shinkansen, the workforce in cities like Tokyo and Osaka can only find lodging or homes a good hour and a half away which is probably equivalent to living as far as Camarines Norte or maybe even Albay, if one were working in Manila. The last time i had the opportunity to visit Tokyo ( a little over a decade ago) they had uniformed personal whose task it was to push you in the back (or even lower than your back) just to stuff you inside the subway. Hotel rooms are almost shoe-boxed sized. in regular hotel rooms in Tokyo there is this one bed, and a little aisle for you to walk sideways to get to your bathroom. Space has become a premium.

We in Manila aren't far from this. have you folks seen the sizes of condos being offered by developers. Some studios are 20 -24 square meters in size. A one-bedroom can be all of 30 -36 square meters...

As I posted in Part 4 above, Dr. Paul Ehrlich -- darling of global media from the late 60s to 80s who wanted to listen to more "population bomb" stories -- was predicting lots of scary scenario. And he continued up to 1990 and beyond. More than 40 years have passed, ALL his predictions and alarmism were proven to be wrong. So if we extrapolate what will happen 40 years from now, it would be safe to say that all the scary scenarios painted by the modern day alarmists will be proven wrong. Why?

People are assets. If there's a problem, there's a solution. If there's not enough land for houses, no worries, just build 40 or 60 storeys residential condos. If there's not enough road, build more interchanges, skyways, tunnels. If there's not enough food, have more biotech, more molecular biology in food production. If there's not enough water, build more dams. In many countries around the world now, the main problem is severe flooding, too much water, not less. Which implies that there are not enough dams to hold those excess water. And if there are too much CO2 emission, no worries, plants and crops and trees love CO2, they grow faster, food production increases. CO2 is never, was never, and will never, be the main determinant of the planet's climate cycles of warming-cooling-warming-cooling. Look up at the Sun and the GCRs, they determine whether there will be more clouds or less, more rains and flood or less, more snow or less.

I replied to Jack's point #5 above, saying that the key term here is coercion.

As long as no one put a gun on those Jap businessmen to sleep in those capsules, otherwise their heads will be blown away, then they should be fine. They chose to sleep on those capsules or dress cabinet-type of rooms, so they should be fine. Definitely there are good, spacious and beautiful room hotels in Tokyo, they can go there if they want to as long as they have the resources.

The small condos in Metro Manila and elsewhere, they should be fine. There are also huge condos, two-storeys with loft and high ceiling, smart condos that automatically open the air con if they sense human heat inside the room. Or one can choose to stay in high end villages, or rent a cheap old apartment (like I do), to each his own, there's a place under the Sun for people.

Congestion is everywhere. Why do people congest in NYC when Texas and California or Nevada have lots of open spaces? Did the US army and National Guards put their guns on those people's heads that they should congest in NYC and not elsewhere? Why do people congest in Seoul or Tokyo or HK or Bangkok or Metro Manila, when there are definitely open spaces in those countries and economies? Was there coercion involved?

Fortunately, the answer is NO to all the above questions. People congest on their own because they want convenience. There is also bigger business opportunity, travel cost is lower, when people are clustered in one place, rather than scattered over thousands of square kilometers.

Who made all those high buildings and skyscrapers that allow 10 M, 15 or 20 M people, to live in a relatively small land area? Robots? Government bureaucrats? UN, WB and WHO bureaucrats? None of them. It's ordinary people, more specifically, "surplus people" from Mexico and Argentina, from Tanzania and Nigeria, from the Philippines and India, etc.

1 comment:

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