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On Wed, 30 Sep 1998 Ash Mahesh wrote:

> Population
> ----------
> A fundamental conflict arises from population - whereas population is a 
> basis for representation in government, that premise is counter to the 
> notion that population should be controlled. Delimitation is due in two 
> years, and the seats in the Lok Sabha might be revised. States which 
> have done a good job fighting excess population growths might find 
> themselves penalized for this by losing seats in parliament! I'm not 
> saying this will happen, but this is a legitimate concern. Any policy we 
> devise must factor this in. 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no escape from this in a democracy.
If you include any principle other than individual representation, then
you endanger the concept of democracy. The MP constituency should not be
larger than 10 lakh people, i.e., we must split all the existing
constituencies into half, appx. 

> (a) Are we in agreement that population growth should be contained?

The word "contained" is highly charged. Let us say: while population size
has not been shown to be adversely related to either economic growth or
pollution, it is in the interest of all concerned to encourage policies
that help people choose lesser children for themselves.

> (b) Should there be rewards for achieving this/ punishment for not?

Dead against any intervention in people's choice. Provide them with
alternatives such as a diverse basket of contraceptives, cheaply priced,
if necessary, but that's about it. The economy will have to be worked upon
(institutions) in order to create incentives for lesser, but more educated
children. My dissertation paper, almost ready, studies institutions and
fertility in Thailand, and evidence is substantially clear:

"the rapid fertility transition observed in Thailand is explicable to a
large extent by institutional factors such as the increasing completion of
markets for capital goods and insurance, the rising expectations of future
returns from children's education, which act upon the budget constraint of
the household, enhancing the cost per child, as well as by the relatively
stable social equilibrium assuring the reliability of the implicit
inter-generational contract for old age care."

Surprisingly, education of the parents nor the provision of family
planning (one of the best in the world) did not seem to matter as much as
the opportunity of advancement of children's careers. Lesson: "It is all
in the economy." (well, most of it)

> (c) are states' interests in population control different from the 
> national interest. 

No comment. Let us not bother too much about this at this stage.

> (d) Should we devise a system of representation that factors in 
> population+productivity+tax revenues+etc., while determining 
> representation in parliament?

NO. Only one adult, one vote.  

Hopefully, these will be included by whoever is summarizing this week's
debate (Arvind: please draw out your electronic zapping gun and shoot all
those who have not volunteered to work for you! People, I am getting
tired. I wanted 7 people. And I mean it! Volunteer or else ... )


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