1. Jim Jepps said:

    One of the frustrating parts of the “debate” is the lack of policy suggestions and evidence to back up those suggestions. I’ve asked of (let’s call them for want of a better term) population people a number of times – “what policies are you proposing and what would the impact of those policies?”

    Despite asking very politely (naturally) what’s striking is how rarely is a response even attempted. It does leave me with the impression that “these people” are either raising a problem to which there is no solution or that the solution that they would like to see is unsayable because presumably it is entirely unethical.

    There are certainly advocates of, say, better family planning, education and female empowerment across the world – all eminently supportable policies – but there’s a great reluctance to say how much impact this would have on population size/growth. I think this is because there’s no evidence that it would have an impact at all, certainly not on a significant scale.

    There are a few, less supportable, policies like cutting child benefit that have zero evidence behind them to indicate this would impact on population size and speaks far more about the misanthropic desire to punish than any real attempt to find solutions.

    Personally speaking I find it difficult to summon up the energy to take the “debate” seriously without actual policy proposals. At least Attenborough made a proposal – as horrid as it was – and so there was actually something to debate.

    28th September 2013
  2. Really great blog. I think “Declaring that population is simply irrelevant makes you look like you have buried your head in the sand to protect an ideological position, unmoved by facts.” really hits the nail on the head.

    As for the solutions I think they’re more promising then you make out, calling for increased environmental education, female literacy, empowerment and enfranchisement and more access to health care, family planning and contraception.

    There was an interesting podcast the other day which explored some of these ideas –

    But unfortunately that discussion largely left out discussion of western consumerism and global inequality. I think you got the balance much better.

    You might also be interested in this briefing note on global population

    30th September 2013

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