Since I don't believe in government-sponsored population control -- but I believe in household decision on family or population control, it's their life -- I thought I should perk them up even a little. I posted my paper, Population Control 4: "Excess People" and Government (posted October 28, 2011) and waited if any of its nearly 3,000 members will react. Then I followed it up with this one below, the expected reactions indeed came.
I am posting this without the permission of the other protagonists, so I removed their photo and family name. I keep their messages, well not all, as some of their postings were really long.
This thread I expect, will continue for the next few days, so I will update this blog entry from time to time to post new exchanges. I'm happy so far that we all focused on the issue, no name-calling or ad hominem attacks despite clear differences of opinion on the subject.
I also expect that the Freethinkers guys will also post their own stories and their longer comments about their debate with me in their website. It should be perfectly ok, no problem with me. I only want more exchanges on the subject. Such debates also help me re-check my arguments and data if they remain valid or not.
- Nonoy Oplas No counter-arguments, hmmm. Here's a more recent paper arguing why the RH bill and population control is wrong policy, again, from a purely economic standpoint,http://funwithgovernment.b
logspot.com/2011/11/popula tion-control-5-sex-educati on-7.html.
Jessica [Soon, students will be good in menstruation science but idiots in basic algebra and word problems.]
This doesn't follow. At all.
[. 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? ]
Uhm, yeeeaaah. This one is not even wrong. Technically, government money *is* a resource of private citizens, to be used for the public good. And a drastic reduction of unwanted(note: unwanted. Use of contraceptives=optional. Where's the coercion?) conception will lead to less abortion and less complications for women.
Apart from that, this is like arguing that we shouldn't spend government money on flood aid because not all of us live in low-lying areas. Right.
Michael I'm interested in hearing Mr. Nonoy's model for less government, as that seems to underpin his opposition to any RH legislation. Correct me if I'm wrong, please do. But I'm firmly of the opinion that RH covers an essential health measure that, thanks (!) to conservatism and Catholicism both, has long been neglected. I'd like to know what Nonoy thinks about government spending on public health in general, and how it affects his views on RH. Cheers.
Hi Michael, my position on healthcare is that health is first and foremost, a personal and parental/guardian responsibility, and less as govt responsibility. I've written a number of articles about PhilHealth, drug price control, IPR and medicines, etc. You may check this one for instance, http://funwithgovernment.b
logspot.com/2011/10/philhe alth-watch-8-alternatives- to.html.
Hi Jessica, govt indeed expands options in many sectors. People can decide whether to bring their kids to public or private schools, or go to public or private clinics and hospitals, ride subsidized MRT or non-subsidized buses, buy subsidized NFA rice or non-subsidized rice, etc. That's expanding options and choices for the people. The only people who have zero option are the net taxpayers, and this is where coercion comes in. Whether they don't believe in pub educ or not (they bring their kids to private schools from pre-school to university), they have zero choice, they have to pay various taxes, partly to subsidize public educ.
Somethings we'd like to share (we do not speak on behalf of PhilHealth)1. PhilHe...See More
Jessica True that. But it is simplistic to assume that because people don't directly benefit from welfare like public education then they do not benefit from them at all. A society with a great gap between social classes makes for a horrible society to live in- people are less likely to be altruistic and there is a lot more crime. Whether or not people "believe" in public education is of no consequence as long as the results show that a more educated public contributes to national progress and eases poverty.
This is unfortunately not a matter of opinion: it is objectively beneficial to *everyone* in a country to invest in public education and public hospitals. Thinking otherwise is not selfish- it's downright ignorant.
People can over-drink, over-smoke, over-eat, over-sit, etc., when they become sickly, they can run to govt and demand that "health is a right" and eases inequality, yeah, cool.
Back to population control. People are assets, not liabilities. The real liabilities -- killers, murderers, robbers, rapists, extortionists, bulllies, land grabbers, plunderers, etc. -- govt should control their population, give them hell, not ordinary folks, like poor people engaged in micro entrepreneurship, but govt slaps with endless business bureaucracies.
Jose [ The real liabilities -- killers, murderers, robbers, rapists, extortionists, bulllies, land grabbers, plunderers, etc. -- govt should control their population]
I seem to be missing something here. As I understand it, govt is NOT controlling the (Filipino) population through RH Bill. It is allowing them access to these measures which otherwise, especially poor people cannot afford. This isn't a mandatory one child policy, please do not compare the two - the only thing being mandatory is access to health care services - information, family planning, contraceptive devices, and so on, which can if used, control the population IF they choose to make use of these services. They can choose not to use it if they don't want to, in the same sense that they can choose not to avail of public education if they do not want to.
[govt should control their population, give them hell, not ordinary folks, like poor people engaged in micro entrepreneurship, but govt slaps with endless business bureaucracies.]
What you seem to be talking is beyond the scope of the RH Bill.
"we have a situation where a big army of people peddle the idea that poor people cannot really be self-reliant, that they have to be assisted by the government and the multilaterals from cradle to grave whenever possible... And since more and more poor people have become “burdens”, their population need to be culled and curtailed. And that is how population control policies, explicit or implicit, have become vogue" http://funwithgovernment.b
logspot.com/2011/09/popula tion-control-3-people-are- assets.html
In "Population Control 4" above that I posted, I wrote there,
"Proponents of the bill also say that the measure is expanding choices and options for the poor, cool. It's like expanding the CCT and ask people if they want to work to get salary or not work and still get money from CCT, that's expanding options. Or asking people if they want private education or subsidized education, private housing or subsidized housing, riding the bus or riding subsidized MRT, taxed conventional power or subsidized renewable energy -- these are all expanding options for the people.
The only people who have zero option are the taxpayers who will ultimately shoulder all those endless subsidies, whether they support those programs or not. Basta bayad lang ng bayad."
Jose [ 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.]
Can we get the definition straight here, what do you mean by assets? People who are able to work, right?
[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.]
Yes, I'm getting more and more interested to hear your model of government, as Michael Aquino points out.
Jessica Nope. We have a situation where people who are relatively well-off think they got there by being self-reliant, when it is patently more a matter of environment and circumstance. Unless you'd like to posit that you worked hard to earn your parents, your environment, and the time period in which you were born? Or that you had somehow willed your way out of being born a starving, idiot child in Africa?
Nonoy Oplas Jose, yes, people who have productive work or are willing to do productive work (not stealing, kidnapping, hired killers, gambling lords, etc.) are assets. I know of poor or lower middle class folks who have 5 or more children and still are able to provide their family modest living. It's a matter of hard work, living within one's means, humility. Little or no need for govt subsidies on many services.
Jose Then from your economic standpoint, children are horribly risky investments - 18-20 years as liabilities, and we're not guaranteed they won't turn into criminals during and after this time. I think you need to rework your definition of asset if you want to argue for potential economic returns or profit.
[I know of poor or lower middle class folks who have 5 or more children and still are able to provide their family modest living.]
Their children should be working too, otherwise they're just liabilities.
[It's a matter of hard work, living within one's means, humility. Little or no need for govt subsidies on many services.]
Yes, how many of these children are forced to help the family with work to be able to make ends meet? On the other hand, how many are able to use the subsidized services you seem to be against? Naturally, it's not a very clear dichotomy, and I don't want to make it out like one (either studying or working), but there's a reason why people can fill out "Student" as their occupation in forms, and with increasing pressures of standardized education, it may be harder and harder for children to keep up with increasing standards while still be able to work and not become liabilities.
"children are horribly risky investments - 18-20 years as liabilities, and we're not guaranteed they won't turn into criminals during and after this time" Weird conclusion, but I never wrote anything to that effect.
Given limited resources, govt should focus spending tax money on running after criminals, give them hell for violating private property rights, reward hard working people with non-intervention in business and little or small taxes. Govt financed already stretched with P300 B budget deficit per year on average, it should not misallocate that money on non-productive spending like popn control.
- Jose [people who have productive work or are willing to do productive work (not stealing, kidnapping, hired killers, gambling lords, etc.) are assets.] This is your definition of asset, right?
Children by default are not doing work. Thus, aren't they economic liabilities?
Nonoy Oplas My 5+ and 1+ yr old daughters are also "working". They just smile to me everyday, obey me, hug and kiss me from time to time, that's their "work", they are assets, they inspire me and my wife, we work hard, provide for their needs and future. Even babies are assets.
- Jose How would you measure inspiration from your economic standpoint?
If children cease to provide inspiration, runs away from home, or steals or commits crime, what then?
Again, if you're going to argue for economics, I think you should take into account potential assets and potential returns in terms of monetary wealth, not inspirational units.
Measurement of happiness, inspiration, anger, irritation, nit-picking, etc is highly subjective, different value for each individual, and such value can be monetary or non-monetary. Each child is "priceless" to his/her parents/guardians at some point in time, parents would not attach any monetary value to such "priceless"ness.
Back to RH bill and population control. Many supporters tend to look at babies and people as liabilities, hence forcing all taxpayers, whether they support popn control or not, to contribute to the fund for popn and birth control. Perhaps they derive happiness from such coercion?
Jessica [each child is "priceless" to his/her parents/guardians at some point in time, parents would not attach any monetary value to such "priceless"ness.]
This is a very strong claim to make, and I daresay blatantly incorrect.
[ol. Many supporters tend to look at babies and people as liabilities]
That's because they ARE, please don't bend definitions to suit your purposes.
Omar Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to understand Nonoy's definition of "asset" as anyone who is working, willing to work, and is not a criminal, and everyone else as a liability.
On the other hand, [My 5+ and 1+ yr old daughters are also"working". They just smile to me everyday, obey me, hug and kiss me from time to time, that's their "work", they are assets, they inspire me and my wife, we work hard, provide for their needs and future. Even babies are assets.] What if some of the criminals actually contribute the same thing to other productive people? I'm sorry if this sounds a bit snarky, but I find it a little bit inconsistent.
As for your suggestion on taxes [give (criminals) hell for violating private property rights, reward hard working people with non-intervention in business and little or small taxes], and with the dichotomy between people who work and people who don't work/commit crimes, then who are you going to tax? (Do forgive me if I'm being irrational, but I'd like to point some probably obvious things out) You can't tax those who can't/don't work, but you're going to lower taxes on everybody who does. One supposed purpose of taxes (if the system is working) is to rebalance your social inequities with services that anyone could benefit from, direct or not.
Given such definition of taxes, I don't see where the RH bill would be going wrong with it. It would provide people the availability of contraceptives, as opposed to forcibly making people use them. It's not some strict one/two-child policy. It could help prevent unwanted pregnancies. For couples without the capability to sustain x+ children, it gives them leave to make love without having to worry about the livelihood of their progeny. I've seen people, met some, with 5 or more children, with both of the parents working for less than minimum wage. When asked how they ended up with that many children, some just answer "I don't know", literally not knowing the connection between sex and pregnancy.These are hardworking people, and have committed no crime. They love their children, but as their children need to be supported beyond the means of this family, are they not considered liabilities? Even if they are not, would they not, as children who cannot even afford to go to public schools (or at the very least cannot finish school to a level where they can be considered as working assets) be considered as liabilities or future liabilities given the skills that they would (not) have as future "working adults"?
On another note, are children below the legal age of consent actually considered, by law, as liabilities (or dependents)? I mean, I believe there's a taxation cut for people supporting the living expenses and whatnot of minors.
22 hours ago ·
I wrote here,
"Many poor people want to stand on their own, to be self-reliant, to seek little or no government subsidies is there. These micro entrepreneurs simply want freedom from government harassment, freedom from high business permit...See More
Jose Well babies are liabilities, but not all people are - I just wanted to point this out before I go.
"Babies are liabilities", fine if you think that way. Then coerce every taxpayer to finance your program to limit babies. No one is stopping people from donating their own money and resources for birth/population control programs and educational activities. Go ahead, it's cool, but using State coercion and taxation to implement one's advocacies, that's the way of mini-dictatorship.
I also advocate building stone terraces on small waterways to control soil erosion. But I never ever advocated that govt and tax money be used to implement my advocacy.
- Vincent I would like to see an actual research or article from an actual academic organization or even an economist. Blogs are not serious sources of information.
BAck to RH bill and using state coercion in funding it. Can't volunteerism, especially by their main supporters, be not sufficient to finance and implement population control? I heard of some guys who think they got a super-bright idea, to make each child become internet literate by giving them free laptop each. As usual, they want govt and tax money to finance their bright idea. Even the most idiotic ideas and proposals can be financed by tax money via coercion.
Jessica Here's one:
.org.uk/archive/archive_ho me.cfm?volumeID=22&edition ID=174&ArticleID=1493
Which says that having children has an insignificant impact on happiness. Coupled with the fact that children obviously have a...See More
State coercion is a big if not central point in the RH bill and population control. The state will coerce all taxpayers, even those who don't believe in population control, to finance and implement it. Some dog lovers can advocate that their favorite breed/s should be propagated nationwide using tax money and the DA agencies. Other cycling afficionados can advocate that each able bodied Filipino be given bicycles for free or at heavily subsidized price by the state to reduce demand for vehicles. All idiots can jump in and lobby that their favorite advocacies be financed and implemented by all taxpayers via the STate.
Jessica [ The state will coerce all taxpayers, even those who don't believe in population control, to finance and implement it. ]
By this reasoning, you are also arguing against all forms of welfare, like caring for orphans, am I right?
How is Ayn Rand doing these days?
Nonoy Oplas People are unthinking and heartless they cannot help their less privileged brothers and sisters on their own voluntarily, via charity, via NGOs, via corporate foundations, etc. The STate should force and coerce all forms of charities. cool.
Jessica Okay, it's late, and I give up. There's a non sequitur, a slippery slope fallacy, and a gross misunderstanding of economics right in that reply up there. Not to mention an appeal to emotions. And apparently, you didn't even bother reading my previous statements, or you wouldn't be trying that "charity" shtick.
Good night sir.
Jose I just got back from class. :D
Nonoy Oplas, maybe it would help if you condense your thesis into a single, provable/disprovable argument, and try to support that argument with secondary sources. Primary sources are also great - overall, a...See More
Jose Your blog article,http://funwithgovernment.b
logspot.com/2011/10/philhe alth-watch-8-alternatives- to.html
seems a lot more organized, perhaps this is because you have laid out three important points here at the start of the text, and appro...See More
Michael I'm suspicious about the overuse of the word "coercive". It's a loaded word, more the kind of word you'd associate with slavery and fascism, which I guess is Nonoy's intent.
But I find it absurd; one might call the public funding of police bodies, the funding of a judicial system, or the funding of public libraries "coercion" if you don't agree with your tax funds being used for any of these purposes. You might as well be consistent and describe ALL public institutions as "built on coercion".
Personally speaking, I don't like that my taxes go to funding military actions in Basilan, Catholic masses in certain LGUs, and projects that line the pockets of corrupt congressmen. These are examples of government inefficiency, but the answer to this is to make government more efficient, not give up on government altogether.
Nonoy Oplas Thanks for the comments above guys. My additional points.
1. To Jose on 5 thesis you enumerated. My arguments are simple: we need less government, less taxes, less coercion; we need to exercise more personal responsibility in running our own lives, more volunteerism, more competition, more private property rights and promulgation of the rule of law. All other advocacies -- iin healthcare, education, CCT, population, climate, energy, trade, agri, etc., follow along these lines. So there should be no confusion there.
2. To Jose on Ehrlich. I said Ehrlich's predictions 40+ yrs ago are ALL wrong is based on current reality. No mass starvation where tens of millions die each year on lack of food. The main killers now are lifestyle diseases (stroke, hypertension, various forms of cancer, diabetes, etc.) because more people are fat, they over-eat, over-drink, over-smoke, over-sit, etc.
3. PhilHealth/social health insurance is different from RH/population control policy. I only posted that paper of mine on "Alternatives to PhilSick Monopoly" because Michael asked about my position on healthcare.
4. To Michael, I never argued for zero govt or full anarchy. I argue for minimal or limited government and hence, minimal or limited coercion. I already mentioned above that I want the govt to focus on running after the criminals, the social liabilities like killers, thieves, rapists, kidnappers, etc. Taxation to finance a limited govt I support. Govt role and coercion should be limited to enforcing the rule of law and private property rights. In all other functions, govt should get out or keep a minimum role.
Whether the RH bill is expensive or not, it is expensive. If it's not, what prevents the supporters from chipping their own resources like buying contraceptives in truckloads and distribute these to the poor? I support volunteerism. Since this project has to be done by govt, it means it is expensive, that is why it has to be financed by taxation. The P300 B per year budget deficit each year is not enough, we need to make it P310 B or more, and we need to borrow more to finance an ever-rising deficit.
A note on RP govt interest payment: P294B in 2010, P357 B in 2011, and P333 B in 2012. Interest payment alone, principal amortization not included yet.
Michael Interesting. Where does the DOH as a whole fit in your economic model? I interviewed the head of the epidemiology dept of the DOH a few months ago; we were discussing the Pinoy response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic w/c is actually hampered by alack of funds. Are you saying volunteerism can provide a better response? Would you totally defund,say, tracking HIV incidence in RP? After all, what's HIV got to do with property rights and rule of law?
I support govt healthcare funding to control infectious and communicable diseases, like AIDS, malaria, dengue, etc. For non-communicable diseases (NCDs), govt funding should be drastically limited. If people will over-drink, over-smoke, over-eat and over-sit and they become sickly, is it everybody else's concern? There is private health insurance, people have families, friends and relatives to help them out, there are private charities, voluntary organizations and NGOs for health.
From the 3 news clippings that I posted, Ehrlich said or quoted to have said:
1. Hundreds of millions of people will starve to death between 1970 and 1985.
2. The world's population has been increasing faster than the world's food supply since 1958.
3. It is only possible to support 5.3 billion people.
ALL wrong. Otherwise, the world's population by now should have been 5 B or less, not 7 B and continue to rise, that is why many sectors want to control more population growth.
- Jose ^Thanks for that clarification. I apologize if I seem to insist too much on these kinds of things - it's something I picked up as an English major.
Nonoy Oplas From "Population Control 3" that I posted above, here are other Ehrlich predictions:
1. By 1975, some 3.5 M people will die this year. The number starving next few decades may rise to 500 million.
2. In 1968, said that 65 M Americans will die from 1980-89, by 1999 US population would have declined to 22.6 M.
3. In 1968, said that "Millions to starve to death and it's too late to help".
4. In 1969, he advised that (US) Govt to put sterility drugs in reservoir and in food shipped to other countries to limit human multiplication.
5. In 1972, unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years (1992).
Ehrlich, a famous biologist from Stanford U, was a very well know population alarmist in the world from the late 60s to 80s. His words and predictions were covered by many media then. ALL his predictions above are wrong.
Nonoy, I have to remind myself that your plan isn't utopian, in fact I believe your perspective to be more realistic about human nature than, say, Communism. Still, I think the assumptions underpinning your economic model rely on the flawed assumption that human beings, taken as a whole, will rationally act for their own self-interest, and such self-interest will somehow "trickle down" to the benefit of everyone else.
The research of Robert H. Frank finds that people's craving for status throws all that into disarray. People will prioritize spending on stuff with CONSPICUOUS pogi-points (like cars and houses) over valuable items that only THEY know about (like life insurance). So there's your "rational self-interest" argument right out the window. (The Freakonomics blog has a nice summary of Frank's views:http://tinyurl.com/3fapvet)
Self-interest being riven with such conflicts, then, I don't trust mere rational self-interest with managing public health issues like the RH bill, unless government provides a certain incentive. In the Philippines there's a vicious twist to the scenario: a powerful group has it in its self-interest to quash any effort to promote family planning and RH. The Catholic Church. I interviewed a doctor who was doing training about RH in the barrios; he remembers being invited to the bishop's house and being subjected to a terrible hour-long lecture by the prelate, subsequently being disinvited by the local government unit because they were afraid of pissing off the Bish! What hope does any volunteer group have against THAT kind of influence?
Sa madaling sabi, I really doubt the premises of your argument - not from any idealistic sense, but from a realistic assessment of the situation on the ground. I'm sure you recognize that RH is indeed a major public health issue, but I totally disagree that this is the kind of issue we can leave to "rational self-interest".
Sure, I respect differences in perspectives on various social issues. I have argued in my previous papers on population control that before, there were education and healthcare for the poor, housing and credit for the poor, irrigation and tractors for the poor, rural roads and agrarian reform for the poor, social welfare for the poor, subsidized MRT/LRT for the poor, cash transfer for the poor, etc. There should be lots of government failure -- where govt intervention is supposed to "correct market failure" -- why those endless programs for the poor were not working. And thus we shall have condoms and pills for the poor. New govt interventions and subsidies to cover up failure in past govt interventions and subsidies.
I have little or zero sympathy for the Church position as I wanted to focus on economic and some philosophical argument. I already mentioned the heavy fiscal burden, the P340 B/year (2010-2012) on interest payment alone on those huge government debt, and why we should refrain from creating new spending unless we should cut and discontinue spending on other sectors, to learn to live within our means.
I have also argued in my paper "Population Control 5" why sex education in public educ iis counterproductive. Many Filipino public school students are weak in science, math and English, and yet there are many new mandatory subjects like environmental educ, human rights educ, and soon sex educ. which will naturally compete for timein school or expand the school hours. I'm sure many other sectors want to impose their own sectoral agenda on public educ, like mandatory AIDS/HIV educ, mandatory business/entrepreneurship educ, mandatory labor rights/OFW rights educ, and so on. Many of these issues are better done by civil society -- student organization/councils, community organizations, civic orgs, other NGOs, plus parents/guardians/relative
s as sources of info and values formation.
- Michael 2 Good to see some Libertarian perspective on this issue. :)
Hi Michael, actually there are many shades of libertarianism or free market school, some can clash with each other as if they they're mortal enemies. Nonetheless, there is one common belief among them -- belief in individual liberty, as opposed to collective or national liberty. Respect and tolerance of differences, high primacy for diversity and spontaneity.
The population issue is one issue that somehow, I noticed, has similarity of opinion among free marketers, whether they are of the libertarian-anarchist, objectivist, miniarchist (I belong to the miniarchist school, somehow). The main issue is not population control per se, but government-sponsored control. If some households or couples want no kid, or 1-2 kids, or 10 kids or more, it should be perfectly fine. The State should get its hands off. If people, rich and poor alike, will work 16 hours a day 7 days a week to feed a small or big family, the State (national and local govts) should not impose lots of business bureaucracies that criminalize entrepreneurship unless the entrepreneurs would get lots of permits, authorization and approval from them first.
if people will steal, rich or poor alike, for whatever reason (to feed a hungry family, to buy a new cellphone, etc.) then that's where the State should come in.
I know of many voluntary organizations that help the poor a lot. Gawad Kalinga alone builds thousands of houses each year for the poor. Many Rotary Clubs and other civic organizations hold hundreds of medical and dental mission each year for the poor. I have met one Rotarian from Iloilo whose rotary club gives free surgery for cleft(?) children, mga bungi/sungi for free, something like 200 children per year and that's from one club alone.
Giving away condoms, pills, other birth control materials and education to couples, etc. are not exactly a difficult job for voluntary organizations to do. What the State should do instead, is to drastically reduce or abolish income tax, it can survive on various consumption-based taxes (VAT, excise tax, travel tax, property tax,...) so that people will have larger resources for their families, to do more voluntary work for other people.
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