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Is population control necessary?

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Recently, I saw a documentary which featured the problems of overpopulation in The Third World countries. After watching the programme, I realise that it is everybody’s essential responsibility to confront and address the problems of an expanding world population. This is necessary because we live on the same planet and share the same resources, both renewable and non-renewable.

Population control is defined as the systematic regulating of the number of people in any given country to redress the problems of overpopulation and underpopulation. The methods vary from country to country, ranging from encouraging the use of contraceptives-to legalising abortion and providing incentives for government birth control policies in overpopulated regions, whereas in places with low or zero population growth, Intra-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programmes are introduced to reverse the decline.

Generally, overpopulation in a country gives rise to social evils such as overcrowding, unhygienic living environments, poverty and unemployment. At this point, it is only necessary that some population control measures be enforced. However, in the real world the answer is never really simple or definite. One must always consider the political, social and economic consequences of population control.

China and India will make good case studies as they are the two most populated countries in the world.

In India, the human population has hit almost a billion. Although the country is rich in natural resources and its military technology is on par with Superpower nations like America or Russia, to date it is still, considered a third world country because a majority of its population lives within the poverty belt. Given this dire situation, it seems imperative that drastic population controls should be exercised. Despite government efforts to educate the Indian masses on birth controls, they have not succeeded in eliminating the population problems since India is a democratic country and cannot infringe on the people’s freedomBy contrast China, which is the largest communist nation in the world, has enforce -one-child policy with serious penalties for those who do not conform. The Chinese government has predicted that their economy cannot cope with overpopulation. However, since most traditional Chinese families prefer sons to daughters, it has led to numerous tragic instances of parents killing their girls in the hope that the next child will be a boy. Whatever it is, infanticide cannot be condoned as a means to population control.

Another point is that population control that brings desirable consequences in the beginning may backfire in the long run. For instance, during the 70s in Singapore, the government furiously campaigned for couples to stop at two. Later, this idea became deeply entrenched; that today, we are facing the problem of a greying population. Since our economy depends on its human resource for growth, this can be a serious threat. Currently, the government has reversed its policy to encourage couples who are financially stable to have more than two children.

In conclusion, I believe that population control is often necessary. However, trying to control a large percentage of the human population is a complicated process and often has unforeseeable consequences. As such, any government should proceed with caution.


Dasun, Jack, The War Against Population, New York: Ignatias Press 1998 (225 pp.).

Pritchett, Lant H., “Desired Fertility and the Impact of Population Policies,” in Population and Development Review, Vol.22 (no.3), March 1996 (pp.1-55)Rothwell, Betsy, Reproductive Rights & Wrongs: The Global Policies of Population Control, Boston: South Press 1992 (388 pp.).

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