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Beware of population control measures

Overpopulation fears may be exaggerated.
© Adam Smith Center, Singapore

Due to the fear of overpopulation, governments have historically implemented radical, drastic, and extreme solutions to stop population growth. This has included forced sterilisations, and even forced abortions in developing countries.

The country of India has specifically been responsible for the forced sterilisation of millions of its citizens in the 1970s to lower India’s ever increasing population. This has also led to human rights abuses where women have been forced into sterilisation camps, garnering worldwide condemnation. Population reduction measures are not the solution.

The rise in education in the world is already naturally and gradually alleviating overpopulation. It is well known that when people are more educated, they engage in family planning, and so will have less offspring. In fact, fertility rates have fallen by 23% in China and India in the same period as access to education more than doubled in the last few decades. Consequently, this alleviates the strain on public resources and moderates the effects of overpopulation. Additionally, overpopulation is slowly resolved in Africa as economic growth is providing them with access to contraception, birth control, and better living conditions.

In sum, we need not exaggerate the problem of overpopulation. Many overpopulation fears have not materialized. More people around do not necessarily spell doom, as long as society embraces them as valuable human capital that drive progress in society.

© Adam Smith Center, Singapore
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Overpopulation: Resource Depletion and Human Innovation

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