World population growth
By Mihai Andreoiu
The world population has grown tremendously over the past one thousand years. In 1999, the world population passed the six billion mark. Latest official current world population estimate, for mid-year 2009, is estimated at 6,790,062,216.
- Poverty has always been a strong enabler for families especially in rural areas to have extra cheap labor force. As the economic unit was the family and life gravitated around work and survival of the family in adverse conditions more children simply meant more production resources and insurance against premature death as poverty also prevented access to medicine or doctors. In current times poverty still prevents in many countries access to birth control or family planning means.
- Religion has always been and still is in many countries a significant enabler of population growth. “Children are God’s gift”, no more and no less. The Catholic Church, for instance, considers a mortal sin any deliberate act of contraception.
- Medical progress. As medicine developed as science and population gained access to continuosly improving medication and doctors mankind started winning the battle against nature which meant a longer life expectancy. With the same level of birth but increased life expectancy population can only grow.
- Education. As population became more educated the awareness that the resources of our planet are finite spreads so people realize that current population growth rates are not sustainable.
- Prosperity. Children are no longer mainly seen as resources only. Some parents consider that they can only give proper attention and affection to a smaller family rather than a larger family as leisure time increases. Wealthier families have on average less kids than poor families.
- Authoritarian regimes i.e. China where families by law can only have one child.
- Wars or genocides i.e. Rwanda.
- Old paradigm: Spread and multiply.
- New paradigm: Earth resources are finite, therefore population cannot grow forever (unless we discover other resources within reach).