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ethical issues associated with overpopulation

Discuss some of the ethical issues associated with overpopulation. Is it ethical to have more than two children? Is it ethical to consume so much in the way of material possessions? Is it ethical to try and influence a couple's decision about family size?

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The ethical implications of reproduction are very complicated. Certainly, when resources are scarce, it seems that people should limit their numbers so that no one starves. At the same time, a single family's contribution to global population is wrong. If someone feels compelled to have a child, or more children than everyone else, issues of personal freedom must be weighed against the common good. In democratic societies, personal freedom has won in this arena. The government does not dictate the size of families. The history of forced population control indicates that this has been a good decision. When it is instituted, human rights are violated and social balance is disrupted. In almost every instance of forced population control, the ratio of boys to girls has risen. This is because the program has the most impact on poor rural people, who have traditional values and believe that sons are necessary to their family's success. Thus the brunt of the policy falls on infant girls, who are either killed or mistreated because of the family's desire to save their "quota" for a son.

However, it is clear that a smaller population will demand less resources. While the earth can support many people (the problem now is one of distribution of wealth) current projections on human population growth are frightening. Many argue that the exponential growth currently underway will lead to mass starvation if not curtailed soon. So, one could certainly see a theoretical world where people would face a moral imperative to reduce their numbers. Attempting to influence a couple's decision to have children is certainly not wrong if those children will face ...

Solution Summary

Pros and cons of population control