The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

4.1.5 Ethics and evidence for population policies

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Figure 7

Whether a government can or should interfere with fertility rates raises profoundly troubling ethical and political issues.

You have looked briefly at these issues already in Week 2 when you read about, for example, state support for families.

Whether population policies actually increase fertility or decrease fertility will become an easier question to answer with the increasing data collection and analysis of the past couple of decades.

It seems that, according to the evidence we have at present, it is easier to reduce fertility levels than to increase them, and pro-natalist policies only marginally improve fertility rates (Gauthier, 2013). However, that doesn’t mean nation states won’t continue to worry about this issue and these anxieties are reflected by the media.

Read one or two of the articles from the list below that interest you.

Germany – ‘Baby Blues: German Efforts to Improve Birthrate a Failure’, Der Spiegel, 2012 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Japan – ‘Can Japan Boost Its Low Birthrate?’, Nippon, 2014.

US – ‘The Declining Birthrate Doesn’t Spell Disaster’, Time magazine, 2013. (Just read the free section of the article – you don’t need to pay for the whole article.)

China – ‘China Loosens Its One-Child Policy’, Time magazine, 2013.

India – ‘India’s dark history of sterilisation’, BBC, 2014.

In the next section, you will read more about over population and under population.


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