Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Demography and Bioethics

Demography is the statistical study of human populations. It can be a very general science that can be applied to any kind of dynamic human population, that is, one that changes over time or space. Populations can change through three processes: fertility, mortality, and migration. Fertility involves the number of children that women have and is to be contrasted with fecundity Bioethics is the study of moral issues in fields of medical treatment and research, brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy. Overpopulation is too many people in one space, is a condition where an organism's numbers exceed the carrying capacity of its habitat. Once we recognize the fact that overpopulation is a problem and that increasing standards of living around the world will add to our resource-use and pollution-management challenges, it's tempting to start thinking that disease, poverty, and premature death are unfortunate but necessary. We must resist any such temptation and work toward better solutions. We should: * continue to strive to reduce suffering by combating disease and poverty around the world; * continue to improve resource efficiency and pollution control so that standards of living can rise without negative impact; and * Keep human population to numbers that are sustainable. On the population front, that means: * making sure people around the world have access to family planning services; * empowering women in developing countries economically, socially, and legally in a manner that results in them having an equal say (with their husbands) in reproductive decisions; * modifying school curricula to include information on population levels and implications for the future; * Reforming tax laws in a way that encourages couples to have no more than two children. (They would still be able to have as many kids as they want, but the tax code would no longer subsidize more than two.) People are a good thing, but population growth without limit is not. The US and all developed countries should reinvigorate their international efforts to slow population growth. The future of the world depends on it!

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