Saturday, April 02, 2011

Dick Smith living up to his name

(re Dick Smith's opinion that Australians should be limited, Chinese style, to two children)

Dick smith has got a point. If we want to limit population to any amount at all, we may want to have a target no of children per family. However, putting an individual limit and fines analogously to what the Chinese (RMP) do, risks overshooting considerably and also sets a fuse for a deadly demographic time bomb, as well as relying heavily on abortion as a means of enforcement of these policies. What is required is a target for an average(say 2) children per family, and a way to trade fertility allocations with those that do not want any children, analogously to water trading. Personally, I would find it easy to trawl my FB friends to find enough who would be willing to sell theirs to me. At any rate, our average in Aus is already at about 2, so further limiting people's reproductive rights would dangerously undershoot, eventually, when it is too late to rectify. 

However, as good as this (fertility cap and trade) sounds, it is not quite ambitious enough. There is still the dual issues of many children being unwanted to the point of being aborted, while many that want to adopt a child are thwarted by a lack of children to adopt and a heap of red tape - which leads to most adoptions being "soft immigration" ie. from other countries.

I am not suggesting the prepurchase of babies from females pregnant with unwanted babies by couples desperate to adopt, mediated and encouraged by the government. That would be the barbaric purchase of children akin to the economics of slavery and other barbaric uses of people trade and smuggling.

What I am suggesting will be viewed as a legitimate alternative to abortion - At a family planning clinic, pregnant teenagers (or other age groups) would be given the option of the fetus being carried to be made a ward of the state while in utero. The medical costs, as well as the loss of employment opportunities, stress and a range of other emotional and actual "costs" current and future, would be reimbursed financially by the state (including the fertility right trade).

At birth a pre-arranged adoption would take place. Rather than a prospective Adopter being limbo (and the baby being in limbo in foster care), there have been at least 6 months to arrange the details and documentation for the adoption to take place.

For the prospective adopter it will be a legitimate alternative to overseas adoption. Of course they would have to reimburse the Government for costs associated with the transfer of care, but this would likely be less than the costs associated with overseas adoption.

A couple of questions remain. Would a prospective birth parent rather get a whole heap of money for letting their baby live, albeit with someone else than making it die and it costing her? Would a prospective adopter prefer to live in the same country as the birth parents rather than on the other side of the world?

I don't know - I guess only people in that position could answer surveys to get a feel for whether this whole idea is bunkim or not.


Anonymous said...

Most ideas should stand or fall on their merits in the great marketplace of ideas: occasionally, however, people will express ideas to which the proper response is "shoot the man who thought of that like a rabid dog". Dick Smith's suggestion is one of the latter.
I think the abolition of the sex drive by mass biochemical manipulation of the population is a much more democratic and realistic way to approach the problem than the ghastly totalitarian concept of 'limiting fertility rights'.

Marco said...

I am not sure that "abolition of the sex drive" and "democratic" in the same phrase, makes any sense to me. Not even the worst sex criminals (eg pedophiles) have the removal of the sex drive as an option as part of their punishment or treatment - at least in democracies. And there is clear evidence that recidivity would be completely stopped in those cases. My conclusion - the overwhelming majority think it takes away a human right, regardless of the crimes committed. In contrast, a large minority agree with Dick Smith that the Chinese model works and should be considered. An even larger minority thinks that population growth is human society's biggest future threat. Certainly a bigger threat than authoritarianism.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess you're right. People are a bunch of crackheads. *I* still remember what it was like before I was pathetically addicted to endogenous opiates and I could think and behave like a rational being.

I think each person should be allowed the same number of votes as they will have projected descendants in a thousand years, so that 'large minority' will have the weighting it deserves when it comes to making decisions about the future. Either that, or said minority should be given the Soylent Green option to 'walk the walk' and show they are serious in their concern about overpopulation. Pathetic. That's what it is. Pathetic.

Marco said...

Hmmm.. Yes. I have thought about it a lot since you first mentioned it several years ago. I do find it logical, and the handful of precedents (which I must say, are castration which is both sterilisation and the removal of the sex drive, which doesn't help the theoretical analysis of it) applied contrary to trends for recidivist pedophiles, counts as a complete cure.
It annoyingly fais on several counts, none of which is scientific:
1) People don't believe it is enough of a punishment - They prefer jail where they are presumably sexually assaulted themselves as a worthy punishment.
2) People don't trust that that is the end of it and a cure. They still could not imagine the individual back in society even if they are cured of their drive.
3) The resultant behaviour is hard to read by suspicious individuals who realise that they have lost their sex drive, but wonder what *does* motivate them hence, and wonder if that could be equally bad.

I like the idea floating around that at least children should be allowed to vote (or their parents to have the value of the younger childrens' votes)

Anonymous said...

I would love to see voting reform to enfranchise children - I have been thinking about it a long time. In my model your vote would go to your Mum when your existence was verified, and she would exercise it on your behalf until she thought you were grown up until you were mature enough to use it yourself, instead of there being some arbitrary cut-off age. There might be an option to petition the courts if you had reached some reasonable age, like 40, and had led a blameless and upstanding life, to make your Mum give you your vote.