Population Control

“Family planning is absolutely fundamental to any hope of tackling poverty in our world,” UK’s prime minister David Cameron said.

What’s absolutely fundamental to tackling poverty in the world is the abolition of a global economic system, namely capitalism, that is rooted in the exploitation of human labor and the rape of the natural environment, and that results in the concentration of wealth in the hands of a handful of families.

The cause of poverty is not poor people or poor people having babies. The cause is capitalism. Capitalism systematically generates poor people. Ghettos, prisons, genocides, and wars are either designed or function to warehouse and eliminate poor people. This is population control. White western policymakers and their nonwhite colonial collaborators believe – and Cameron is not the only one who openly admits this – that they can reduce the problem of poverty, which disproportionately affects nonwhites, by reducing the number of poor nonwhites through aggressive population control policy.

I am committed to the right of women controlling their reproductive capacity. Indeed, some of my progressive friends see my position on a woman’s right to an abortion as radical (I believe in no term limitations). I am so steadfast in this advocacy because I see the right of women to control their bodies as fundamental to human freedom. This includes both the choice to not have children and the choice to have children. If the government can force women to either have a child or not have a child, then the government has the power to use a human body for its own ends.

The same logic that underpins my support for women’s right to choose how their reproductive capacity shall be used is the same logic that underpins my criticism of the motive behind the aggressive population control advocated by western authorities. The motive should be made clear: it is a desire to reduce the victims of capitalism not by eliminating capitalism (or humanizing it) but by reducing the people capitalism victimizes. Peoples of the third world – as are nonwhite subpopulations in the capitalist core – are surplus labor pools that have become too large to be effectively managed, at least from a public relations perspective. Moreover, their labor will never be utilized. So they have become surplus population. With a certain proportion of the population held redundant and in reserve in order to keep downward pressure on wages, if the labor was needed, population control is not an issue.

What I want to see is women controlling their reproductive capacity in a free democratic system where this decision is made based on their interests, not based on the interests of white western elites. This can only happen under conditions of socialism. If we care about the welfare of families, this is where we will put our energies.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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