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Parag Bhatt[SMTP:email@example.com] wrote:
>The reason I feel so strongly about population is because I have
>very personally seen many families who have 3-5 children not sending
>their children to school but having them work at tender ages of
>10 -15. I have seen this very personally around me. In these
>cases, I know that if they had to feed only 2 Children, the
>families would have been much better off.
>The reason why this needs so much importance is not for National
>Economic reasons. But for the living conditions in these families.
>I consider that many children in India would be in such a situation.
>These are the very brief backgrounds of my thinking.
I think the motivation for a large number of children is not that
complicated- in communities where infant/child mortality is fairly
high, parents see the cost of raising a larger number of children as
a way to lower the risk of ending up with no children for
old age support. [I'm sure that Sanjeev could give you the same
argument in more technical economic terms such as of higher risk, i.e.
fewer children, translating to higher potential return, with more
children translating to risk reduction with lowered investment returns
but the fundamental argument remains the same and I think the common
man understands this very well].
It follows that reduction of child mortality by improving access to
medical care and providing old age social security will over 1 or 2
generations will result in lower birthrates and the question is, can
this process be accelerated?
Two models come to mind. The Chinese model has already been discussed
and I think we agree that it is socially unacceptable. I do recall
reading about Thailand having a very successful program of reducing
birthrates but I don't have any hard data [these were popular press
articles] as to actual drops in birthrate and what factors could be
statistically correlated with the drop. I do recall that the program
included a huge publicity campaign and distribution of contraceptives.
This is worth looking into.