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Demographic Politics And Population Growth - 2

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What is NSSM 200 "Population Control" by Kissinger?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In December of 1974, shortly after the first major international population conference was held under UN auspices at Bucharest, Romania, several of the major U.S. government agencies involved in foreign affairs submitted a detailed report on population control in developing countries. Contributions came from the Central Intelligence Agency, The Departments of States, Defense, and Agriculture, and the Agency for International Development. Their contributions were combined into one major report with the title, "Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests." The final study, which is more than 200 pages in length, covered many topics from the viewpoint of each of the participating agencies. The following questions and answers cover just the most basic aspects of this crucial historical document.

What does the term "NSSM 200" mean? "NSSM" stands for "National Security Study Memorandum," and the number 200 identifies the order in which it was produced. The original request for a review of overseas population policies is also called NSSM 200, and was written April 27, 1974 by Henry Kissinger. The actual study, which covered 229 pages of text, represents one stage of the NSSM 200 correspondence series, and was submitted on December 10, 1974. It became the official guide to foreign policy November 26, 1975, when a National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM 314) was signed that endorsed the findings of the study.

Who actually was responsible for the study? NSSM 200 was compiled by the National Security Council, which is the highest level of command in the U.S. government. The NSC is headed by the President of the United States and his designated Security Advisor, and its purpose is to coordinate the overseas operations of all executive branches the U.S. government.

Is NSSM 200 still in force? Technically, the answer is yes. It remains the official strategy paper on population until it is replaced by another of equal importance. However, the implementation of the guidelines may differ from one administration to another. Jimmy Carter, for example, showed considerably less interest in curbing population growth than did his predecessors Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. And the Reagan administration took a somewhat different approach (i.e., the Mexico City Policy that banned direct U.S. financing for abortions). The facts that funds for population control increased rapidly and dramatically during the Reagan and Bush years does not necessarily indicate a newer NSC directive was issued.

Why was NSSM only discovered in 1990? NSSM 200 was originally classified as a secret document, meaning that neither the public in the United States nor the people of the developing world who were the subject of the study were allowed to know of its existence. A schedule for declassification appearing on the cover authorized its release in mid-1989. However, the document was not actually made public until almost a year later, when it was given to the U.S. National Archives in response to a request from a journalist working for the Information Project For Africa.

Why was the study kept confidential so long? It is difficult to promote birth control on a giant scope unless the recipients can be persuaded that it is intended for their benefit. NSSM 200, on the other hand, acknowledged that the purpose of population control was to serve the U.S. strategic, economic, and military interest at the expense of the developing countries. Such a revelation, particularly if it were to leak out prematurely, would seriously jeopardize program goals. In fact, the declassification date on the memorandum would not necessarily be mandatory, and NSC could still have kept it from public view. But by 1990, at least two very important changes had taken place. For one thing, many of the study's recommendations for pushing population reduction policies on aid-receiving countries had been accomplished. Second, the U.S. had elected George Bush, a former Director of Central Intelligence, to the White House in 1988, which may have signalled to classification review personnel that the American public had grown more tolerant of covert activities overseas.

<b>Whose population did the security advisers want controlled? The recommendations for reducing fertility applied only to the developing world -- and to all of it. However, NSSM 200 also states that 13 countries of "special U.S. political and strategic interest" would be primary targets. They are: India, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia (page 15 of the introduction).</b>

What were the study's main concerns about population? NSSM 200 states that population growth in the developing world threatens U.S. security in four basic ways: First, certain large nations stand to gain significant political power and influence as a result of their growing populations. Second, the United States and its western allies have a vital interest in strategic materials which have to be imported from less-developed countries. Third, societies with high birthrates have large numbers of young people, who are more likely than older people to challenge global power structures. And last, population growth in relatively-disadvantaged countries jeopardizes U.S. investments.

Which countries would benefit politically from population growth? The memorandum cites Brazil as one example. Brazil "clearly dominates the continent demographically," the report says, noting that Brazilians could outnumber U.S. residents by the end of the century. Thus it foresees a "growing power status for Brazil in Latin America and on the world scene over the next 25 years" if population programs were not successful at curbing fertility (page 22). Nigeria was also given as an example of a nation that can benefit from population increase. "Already the most populous country on the continent, with an estimated 55 million people in 1970, Nigeria's population by the end of this century is projected to number 135 million," says the formerly-classified report. "This suggests a growing political and strategic role for Nigeria, at least in Africa south of the Sahara" (page 21).

How does population control help the west acquire minerals? The study explains, first of all, "The location of known reserves of higher-grade ores of most minerals favors increasing dependence of all industrialized regions on imports from less developed countries. The real problems of mineral supplies lie, not in basic physical sufficiency, but in the politico-economic issues of access, terms for exploration and exploitation, and division of the benefits among producers, consumers, and host country governments" (page 37). It then advises, "...the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States" (page 43).

What have youthful populations got to do with it? Young people have historically been advocates for change, and are more prone to confront imperialism. NSSM 200 quotes a June 1974 State Department cable from Bangladesh to make this point: "Bangladesh is now a fairly solid supporter of third world positions, advocating better distribution of the world's wealth and extensive trade concessions to poor nations. As its problems grow and its ability to gain assistance fails to keep pace, Bangladesh's positions on international issues likely will become radicalized, inevitably in opposition to U.S. interests on major issues..." (page 80).

How are U.S. commercial investments affected by birthrates overseas? The document points out that growing nations need to provide for their growing needs. Thus, it warns, they are likely to make increased demands of foreign investors. Under such circumstances, western corporate holdings "are likely to be expropriated or subjected to arbitrary inter- vention." The report adds that this could be a consequence of "government action, labor conflicts, sabotage, or civil disturbance," and concludes: "Although population pressure is obviously not the only factor involved, these types of frus- trations are much less likely under conditions of slow or zero population growth" (pages 37-38).

Did the Americans really think they could get away it? NSSM 200 repeatedly acknowledges suspicions about U.S. motives on the part of "LDC" (less-developed country) leaders, and recommends a strategy to deal with these reactions. "It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen a commitment on the part of the LDC leaders not be seen by them as an industrialized country policy to keep their strength down or to reserve resources for use by the `rich' countries," says the study. "Development of such a perception could create a serious backlash adverse to the cause of population stability..." (page 114). The next page adds: "The US can help to minimize charges of an imperialist motivation behind its support of population activities by repeatedly asserting that such support derives from a concern with: (a) the right of the individual to determine freely and responsibly their number and spacing of children ... and (b) the fundamental social and economic development of poor countries...." (page 115).

How were NSSM 200 s population goals to be pursued? In addition to disguising hostile intent by "repeatedly asserting" that birth control is useful to development, the writers demand that the United Nations and other multi-national institutions be used as fronts to conceal the extent of the U.S. involvement. They argue that the U.S. should "[a]rrange for familiarization programs at U.N. Headquarters in New York for ministers of governments, senior policy level offi- cials and comparably influential leaders from private life" (introduction, pages 20-21). In some countries, the memo reported, "U.S. assistance is limited by the nature of political or diplomatic relations ... or by the lack of strong government interest in population reduction programs (e.g. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil)." In these cases, it would be wise to channel population assistance should through "other donors and/or from private and international organizations (many of which receive contributions from AID)" (pages 127-128).

Did NSSM 200 mention compulsory population policies? It clearly does. It recommends, for example, that the World Bank take the lead. "Involvement of the Bank in this area would open up new possibilities for collaboration," the document says (page 148). The study also advises that the U.S. government played "an important role in establishing the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to spearhead a multilateral effort in population as a complement to the bilateral actions of AID and other donor countries" (page 121). And it says that, "with a greater commitment of Bank resources and improved consultation with AID and UNFPA, a much greater dent could be made on the overall problem" (page 149). Moreover, the report asserts that "mandatory programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now" (page 118). It also finds that there is already "some established precedent for taking account of family planning performance in appraisal of assistance requirements" and concludes that "allocation of scarce PL 480 resources should take account of what steps a country is taking in population control as well as food production. In these sensitive relationships, however, it is important in style as well as substance to avoid the appearance of coercion" (page 106- 107).

What about propaganda? NSSM 200 concentrates mostly on efforts to get heads of government to adopt population policies against their own people. In this context, it says that U.S. diplomatic and embassy officials should "be alert to opportunities for expanding our assistance efforts and for demonstrating to their leaders the consequences of rapid population growth and the benefits of actions to reduce fertility" (page 128). It also notes: "There was general consternation [at the 1974 population conference in Bucharest when] the Plan was subjected to a slashing, five-pronged attack led by Algeria, with the backing of several African countries; Argentina, supported by Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and, more limitedly, some other Latin American countries; the Eastern European group (less Romania); the PRC [Peoples Republic of China] and the Holy See" (page 86-87). Thus the study emphasizes the need to convince foreign leaders to drop their objections: "The beliefs, ideologies and misconceptions displayed by many nations at Bucharest indicate more forcefully than ever the need for extensive education of the leaders of many governments, especially in Africa and some in Latin America. Approaches [for] leaders of individual countries must be designed in the light of their current beliefs and to meet their special concerns" (page 96).

How about the mass media? At the time NSSM 200 was written, U.S. policy makers gave only passing thought to wholesale propaganda operations, apparently concluding that this course of action would be too difficult and too controversial. "Beyond seeking to reach and influence national leaders, improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other popula- tion education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA and USAID," says the formerly-secret memorandum. "We should give higher priorities in our information programs world-wide for this area and consider expansion of collaborative arrangements with multilateral institutions in population education programs" (page 117). But it also makes reference to the risks involved: "First, there is widespread LDC sensitivity to satellite broadcast, expressed most vigorously in the Outer Space Committee of the UN. Many countries don't want broadcasts of neighboring countries over their own territory and fear unwanted propaganda and subversion by hostile broadcasters. NASA experience suggests that the US must treat very softly when discussing assistance in program content" (page 191).

Is NSSM 200 the only important policy document on population trends? Certainly not. The Central Intelligence Agency had a population and manpower subcommittee at least as far back as the 1950s. Over the past 40 years, hundreds of reports have been prepared by the Defense Department, the Department of State, the CIA and others about population control and U.S. national security. Many of them remain partially or entirely classified. To give just one example, a February 1984 CIA report called "Middle East-South Asia: Population Problems and Political Stability" warns that "one-fourth to one-third of the populations of all Middle Eastern and South Asian countries is in the politically-volatile 15 to 24 age group, a consequence of high population growth rates during the 1950s and 1960s." These young people, the intelligence analysts continued, "will be ready recruits for opposition causes [such as] Islamic fundamentalism, which currently offers the principal ideological haven for Muslim youth." Similarly a study done in 1988 for the Pentagon calls upon high-level security planners to ensure that "population planning" is given the status of weapons development (see "Global Demographic Trends to the Year 2010: Implications for U.S. Security" in The Washington Quarterly, Spring 1989). And a 1991 report to the U.S. Army Conference on Long- Range Planning warns that current population trends -- extremely low fertility in developed countries and rapid growth in the southern hemisphere -- raise serious concerns about "the international political order and the balance of world power." The document -- reprinted in Foreign Affairs, Summer 1991 as "Population Change and National Security" -- says that these changes "could create an international environment even more menacing to the security prospects of the Western alliance than was the Cold War for the past generation." Military and intelligence assessments such as these do not change the importance of NSSM 200, however, but merely update its message to address current concerns.
However, NSSM 200 also states that 13 countries of "special U.S. political and strategic interest" would be primary targets. They are: India, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia (page 15 of the introduction).(NO CHINA )

NSSM 200 states that population growth in the developing world threatens U.S. security in four basic ways:

First, certain large nations stand to gain significant political power and influence as a result of their growing populations. <i> (Like India)</i>

Second, the United States and its western allies have a vital interest in strategic materials which have to be imported from less-developed countries. <i> (Like India)</i>

Third, societies with high birthrates have large numbers of young people, who are more likely than older people to challenge global power structures. <i> (Like India)</i>

And last, population growth in relatively-disadvantaged countries jeopardizes U.S. investments.<i> (Like India)</i>

NSSM 200 repeatedly acknowledges suspicions about U.S. motives on the part of "LDC" (less-developed country) leaders, and recommends a strategy to deal with these reactions. "It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen a commitment on the part of the LDC leaders not be seen by them as an industrialized country policy to keep their strength down or to reserve resources for use by the `rich' countries," says the study.

The document -- reprinted in Foreign Affairs, Summer 1991 as "Population Change and National Security" -- says that these changes "could create an international environment even more menacing to the security prospects of the Western alliance than was the Cold War for the past generation."
COmpare this with the NIC report

Population growth, he argues, drove the Industrial Revolution, and there has never been economic growth under conditions of population decline. Thus, for example, he ascribes Japan’s current economic troubles to its declining fertility. And though Longman doesn’t point to Germany, it us interesting to note that this particular low-fertility country is also struggling economically to the point of revisiting the famously shorter European work week — a phenomenon obviously related to the struggle to reduce the pensions promised to an aging population and premissed on more younger workers than actually came to exist.

e moderns have gotten used to the slow, seemingly inexorable dissolution of traditional social forms, the family prominent among them. Yet the ever-decreasing size of the family may soon expose a fundamental contradiction in modernity itself. Fertility rates have been falling throughout the industrialized world for more than 30 years, with implications that are only just now coming into view. Growing population has driven the economy, sustained the welfare state, and shaped modern culture. A declining population could conceivably put the dynamic of modernization into doubt.

The question of the cultural and economic consequences of declining birthrates has been squarely placed on the table by four new books: The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It, by Phillip Longman; Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future, by Ben Wattenberg; The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know About America’s Economic Future, by Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Scott Burns; and Running On Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It, by Peter G. Peterson. Longman and Wattenberg concentrate on the across-the-board implications of demographic change. Kotlikoff and Burns, along with Peterson, limn the economic crisis that could come in the absence of swift and sweeping entitlement reform.

Taken together, these four books suggest that we are moving toward a period of substantial social change whose tantalizing ideological implications run the gamut from heightened cultural radicalism to the emergence of a new, more conservative cultural era.

New demographics

rawing on these books, let us first get a sense of the new demography. The essential facts of demographic decline discussed in all four are not in doubt. Global fertility rates have fallen by half since 1972. For a modern nation to replace its population, experts explain, the average woman needs to have 2.1 children over the course of her lifetime. Not a single industrialized nation today has a fertility rate of 2.1, and most are well below replacement level.

In Ben Franklin’s day, by contrast, America averaged eight births per woman. American birth rates today are the highest in the industrialized world — yet even those are nonetheless just below the replacement level of 2.1. Moreover, that figure is relatively high only because of America’s substantial immigrant population. Fertility rates among native born American women are now far below what they were even in the 1930s, when the Great Depression forced a sharp reduction in family size.

Population decline is by no means restricted to the industrial world. Remarkably, the sharp rise in American fertility rates at the height of the baby boom — 3.8 children per woman — was substantially above Third World fertility rates today. From East Asia to the Middle East to Mexico, countries once fabled for their high fertility rates are now falling swiftly toward or below replacement levels. In 1970, a typical woman in the developing world bore six children. Today, that figure is about 2.7. In scale and rapidity, that sort of fertility decline is historically unprecedented. By 2002, fertility rates in 20 developing countries had fallen below replacement levels. 2002 also witnessed a dramatic reversal by demographic experts at the United Nations, who for the first time said that world population was ultimately headed down, not up. These decreases in human fertility cover nearly every region of the world, crossing all cultures, religions, and forms of government.

Declining birth rates mean that societies everywhere will soon be aging to an unprecedented degree. Increasing life expectancy is also contributing to the aging of the world’s population. In 1900, American life expectancy at birth was 47 years. Today it is 76. By 2050, one out of five Americans will be over age 65, making the U.S. population as a whole markedly older than Florida’s population today. Striking as that demographic graying may be, it pales before projections for countries like Italy and Japan. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, 42 percent of all people in Italy and Japan will be aged 60 or older.

Can societies that old sustain themselves? That is the question inviting speculation. With fertility falling swiftly in the developing nations, immigration will not be able to ameliorate certain implications of a rapidly aging West. Even in the short or medium term, the aging imbalance cannot be rectified except through a level of immigration far above what Western countries would find politically acceptable. Alarmed by the problems of immigration and assimilation, even famously tolerant Holland has begun to turn away immigrants en masse — and this before the recent murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, which has subsequently forced the questions of immigration and demography to the center of the Dutch political stage.

In short, the West is beginning to experience significant demographic changes, with substantial cultural consequences. Historically, the aged have made up only a small portion of society, and the rearing of children has been the chief concern. Now children will become a small minority, and society’s central problem will be caring for the elderly. Yet even this assumes that societies consisting of elderly citizens at levels of 20, 30, even 40 or more percent can sustain themselves at all. That is not obvious.

Population decline is also set to ramify geometrically. As population falls, the pool of potential mothers in each succeeding generation shrinks. So even if, well into the process, there comes a generation of women with a higher fertility rate than their mothers’, the momentum of population decline could still be locked in. Population decline may also be cemented into place by economics. To support the ever-growing numbers of elderly, governments may raise taxes on younger workers. That would make children even less affordable than they are today, decreasing the size of future generations still further.

If worldwide fertility rates reach levels now common in the developing world (and that is where they seem headed), within a few centuries, the world’s population could shrink below the level of America’s today. Of course, it’s unlikely that mankind will simply cease to exist for failure to reproduce. But the critical point is that we cannot reverse that course unless something happens to substantially increase fertility rates. And whatever might raise fertility rates above replacement level will almost certainly require fundamental cultural change.

Why does modern social life translate into the lower birth rates that spark all those wider implications? Urbanization is one major factor. In a traditional agricultural society, children are put to work early. They also inherit family land, using its fruits to care for aging parents. In a modern urban economy, on the other hand, children represent a tremendous expense, and one increasingly unlikely to be returned to parents in the form of wealth or care. With the growth of a consumer economy, potential parents are increasingly presented with a zero-sum choice between children and more consumer goods and services for themselves.

Along with urbanization, the other important factor depressing world fertility is the movement of women into the workforce — and the technological changes that have made that movement possible. By the time many professional women have completed their educations, their prime childbearing years have passed. Thus, a woman’s educational level is the best predictor of how many children she will have. As Wattenberg shows, worldwide, the correlation between falling female illiteracy and falling female fertility is nearly exact. And as work increasingly becomes an option for women, having a child means not only heavy new expenses, but also the loss of income that a mother might otherwise have gained through work.

Technological change also stands behind the movement of women into the workforce. In a modern, knowledge-based economy, women suffer no physical disadvantage. The ability of women to work in turn depends upon the capacity of modern contraception, along with abortion, to control fertility efficiently. The sheer breadth and rapidity of world fertility decline implies that contraceptive technology has been a necessary condition of the change. Before fertility could be reliably controlled through medical technology, marriage and accompanying strictures against out-of-wedlock births were the key check on a society’s birth rate. Economic decline meant delayed marriage, and thus lower fertility. But contraceptive technology now makes it possible to efficiently control fertility within marriage. This turns motherhood into a choice. And what demographic decline truly shows is that when childbearing has become a matter of sheer choice, it has become less frequent.

The movement of population from tightly knit rural communities into cities, along with contraception, abortion, and the related entry of women into the workforce, explain many of the core cultural changes of the postmodern world. Secularism, individualism, and feminism are tied to a social system that discourages fertility. If a low-fertility world is unsustainable, then these cultural trends may be unsustainable as well. Alternatively, if these cultural trends cannot be modified or counterbalanced, human population appears on course to shrink ever more swiftly.

New economics?

et there are signs that the current balance of social forces is not sustainable and may well give way sooner rather than later. That, at any rate, is the view of Longman, Peterson, Kotlikoff and Burns. (Wattenberg is somewhat more sanguine about our ability to weather the coming challenge, although he does not directly address the more dystopic scenarios Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns float.) Broadly speaking, both the free market and the welfare state assume continual population growth. “Pay as you go” entitlements require ever-larger new generations to finance the retirement of previous generations. Longman argues that economic growth itself depends upon ever-increasing numbers of consumers and workers.

Population growth, he argues, drove the Industrial Revolution, and there has never been economic growth under conditions of population decline. Thus, for example, he ascribes Japan’s current economic troubles to its declining fertility. And though Longman doesn’t point to Germany, it us interesting to note that this particular low-fertility country is also struggling economically to the point of revisiting the famously shorter European work week — a phenomenon obviously related to the struggle to reduce the pensions promised to an aging population and premissed on more younger workers than actually came to exist.

Both Longman and Wattenberg raise the question of whether markets need population growth in order to thrive. As Wattenberg puts the point, it hardly makes sense to invest in a business whose pool of potential customers is shrinking. That much might be true, even if entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare were fully funded. But Social Security and Medicare are not fully funded. On the contrary, America’s massive unfunded entitlement programs have the potential to spark a serious social and economic crisis in the not too distant future. And the welfare state in the rest of the developed world is on even shakier economic ground.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the combined cost of Medicare and Medicaid alone will consume a larger share of the nation’s income in 2050 than the entire federal budget does today. By 2050, the combined cost of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt will rise to 47 percent of gross domestic product — more than double the level of expected federal revenues at the time. Without reform, all federal spending would eventually go to seniors. Obviously, the system will correct before we reach that point. But how?

Already, senior citizens vote at very high rates — reacting sharply to any potential cuts in benefits. As the baby boomers retire, the political weight of senior citizens will be vastly greater than it already is. Proposed pension reforms brought down French and Italian governments in the 1990s. Even China has been forced by large-scale protests and riots to back off from attempts to reduce retirement benefits.

In the absence of serious reform, we may be in for an economic “hard landing.” Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns warn of a spiraling financial crisis that could even lead to worldwide depression. Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker sees a 75 percent chance of an economic crisis of some sort within the next five years.

What might such a “meltdown” look like? Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns spin out essentially the same scenario. The danger is that investors might at some point decide that the United States will never rein in its deficit. Once investors see America’s deficits as out of control, they will assume their dollar-based securities will be eroded by inflation, higher interest rates, and a serious decline in the stock market. Should a loss of confidence cause leading investors to pull their money out of U.S. securities, it could set off a run on the dollar. That would create the very inflation, interest rate increases, and market decline that investors feared in the first place. Such has already happened in Argentina, which Kotlikoff and Burns use as a paradigm in which loss of investor confidence brought down the economy in a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. The danger is that the United States and the rest of the industrialized world may already have entered the sort of debt trap common among Third World nations. A rapidly aging Japan is even more vulnerable than America, say Kotlikoff and Burns. They add that, should investors looking at teetering modern welfare states and the long-term demographic crisis bring down any of the advanced economies, the contagion could spread to others.

Are we really headed for a worldwide economic meltdown that will leave tens of millions of aging seniors languishing in substandard nursing homes while the rest of us suffer from long years of overtaxation, rising crime, and political instability? Kotlikoff and Burns say the prospect is all too real, and Peterson implies as much.

Yet there are also critics of such disaster scenarios. They argue that growth rates in the new information-based economy will likely be somewhat higher than in the past. Higher rates of economic growth will bring in enough revenue to offset the rising costs of entitlements. Medical advances are keeping older workers healthy and productive. Raise the retirement age by a couple of years, say many, and the expanded workforce would boost government revenues enough to offset shrinkage in the number of younger workers.

Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns say these fixes won’t work. Despite increased life expectancy, older workers have generally been retiring earlier. It would be politically difficult to force them in the other direction. And according to Kotlikoff and Burns, delayed retirement produces negligible gains for the economy. When people work longer, they save less because they have fewer years of retirement to finance. The effects cancel out. Overall investment in the economy is reduced, as is the real wage base available for government taxation.

Kotlikoff and Burns also argue that the apparent productivity gains of the late nineties were illusory. Peterson argues that, even if productivity gains prove real, the benefit for the deficit will be canceled out by increases in discretionary spending.

The truth is, no one knows what future productivity will be. There’s a chance rates will turn higher on into the future, yet it seems imprudent to rely on luck with the stakes so high. And as Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns point out, so long as Social Security is indexed to wages, revenue gains from higher productivity will be canceled out by increased benefits. Even an ideal growth scenario cannot solve the entitlement crisis unless Social Security is indexed to prices rather than wages. It would seem that politically difficult reform and significant de facto benefit cuts are inevitable even on the most optimistic of reckonings. And the optimistic scenarios themselves seem strained.

What about the pessimistic scenarios? It would be foolish to predict with certainty an economic “hard landing,” much less world-wide depression. Still, the case that these are at least real possibilities seems strong. Even without a “meltdown,” long-term prospects for the economy and the welfare state in rapidly aging societies seem uncertain at best. How exactly will nations like Japan or Italy be able to function when more than 40 percent of their citizens are over 60? Hard landing or not, and the political power of the elderly notwithstanding, there seems a very real chance that America’s entitlement programs will someday be substantially scaled back. But what sort of struggle between the old and the young will emerge in the meantime, and how will a massive and relatively impoverished older generation cope with the change?

The Coming Generational Storm and Running On Empty are important books. Whether or not the reader is ultimately persuaded by these premonitions of economic peril, it’s time the United States had a serious debate over entitlement reform. Nonetheless, there is also something problematic in the way that Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns place the lion’s share of blame for our problems on our political leadership. True, both parties deserve to be chastised for running from the entitlement crisis. Yet even if Peterson, Burns, and Kotlikoff are right about that, they put too much blame on politicians for what broader cultural and demographic forces have wrought. Peterson nods to demography as the background condition for the deficit dilemma yet barely explores the link. Kotlikoff and Burns have much more to say about the demographic details yet treat our changed fertility patterns as irreversible and therefore irrelevant to policy.

That is a questionable assumption. The growing expense of child-rearing, for example, plays a key role in holding birth rates down. Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns are quick to criticize the push for lower taxes, yet rising taxes arguably helped to deepen the population decline at the root of our economic dilemma. In 1955, at the height of the baby boom, a typical one-earner family paid 17.3 percent of its income in taxes. Today, a median family with one paycheck pays 37.6 percent of its income in taxes — 39 percent if it’s a two-earner couple. So the new demography has put us into an economic trap. High taxes depress birth rates, but low taxes expand demographically driven deficits still further.

Precisely because we are at an unprecedented demographic watershed, politicians have no model for taking these factors into account. Political leaders in an earlier era could take it for granted that ever-growing populations would keep the welfare state solvent and the economy humming. It’s not surprising that neither the public nor politicians have been able to adjust to the immense, unintended, and only gradually emerging social consequences of postmodern family life. With their eyes firmly fixed on the underlying demographic changes, Wattenberg and Longman are less disposed to browbeat politicians than are Peterson, Kotlikoff, and Burns.

A new conservatism?

n the matter of the new demography and its social consequences, the work of Ben Wattenberg holds a place of special honor. In 1987, 17 years before the publication of Fewer, Wattenberg wrote The Birth Dearth. That book was the first prominent public warning of a crisis of population decline. Yet many rejected its message. In an era when a “population explosion” was taken for granted, the message of The Birth Dearth flew squarely in the face of received wisdom. Subsequent events, however, have proved Wattenberg right.

Despite that vindication, Wattenberg’s own views have changed somewhat. Whereas The Birth Dearth advocated aggressive pro-natalist policies, today Wattenberg seems to have all but given up hope that fertility rates can be substantially increased. On the one hand, he thinks it unlikely that worldwide population can maintain a course of shrinkage without end. On the other hand, he sees no viable scenario by which this presumably unsustainable trend might be reversed.

In The Empty Cradle, Philip Longman takes a different view. Longman believes that runaway population decline may be halted, yet he understands that this can be accomplished only by way of fundamental cultural change. The emerging demographic crisis will call a wide range of postmodern ideologies into question. Longman writes as a secular liberal looking for ways to stabilize the population short of the traditionalist, religious renewal he fears the new demography will bring in its wake.

Given the roots of population decline in the core characteristics of postmodern life, Longman understands that the endless downward spiral cannot be reversed without a major social transformation. As he puts it, “If human population does not wither away in the future, it will be because of a mutation in human culture.” Longman draws parallels to the Victorian era and other periods when fears of population decline, cultural decadence, and fraying social safety nets intensified family solidarity and stigmatized abortion and birth control. Longman also notes that movements of the 1960s, such as feminism, environmentalism, and the sexual revolution, were buttressed by fears of a population explosion. Once it becomes evident that our real problem is the failure to reproduce, these movements and attitudes could weaken.

Longman’s greatest fear is a revival of fundamentalism, which he defines broadly as any movement that relies on ancient myth and legend, whether religious or not, “to oppose modern, liberal, and commercial values.” Religious traditionalists tend to have large families (relatively speaking). Secular modernists do not. Longman’s fear is that, over time, Western secular liberals will shrink as a portion of world population while, at home and abroad, traditionalists will flourish. To counter this, and to solve the larger demographic-economic crisis, Longman offers some very thoughtful proposals for encouraging Americans to have more children. Substantial tax relief for parents is the foundation of his plan.

Longman has thought this problem through very deeply. Yet, in some respects, his concerns seem odd and exaggerated. He lumps American evangelicals together with Nazis, racists, and Islamicists in the same supposed opposition to all things modern. This is more interesting as a specimen of liberal prejudice than as a balanced assessment of the relationship between Christianity and modernity. Moreover, the mere fact that religious conservatives have more children than secular liberals is no guarantee that those children will remain untouched by secular culture.

Still, Longman rightly sees that population decline cannot be reversed in the absence of major cultural change, and the prospects of a significant religious revival must not be dismissed. In a future shadowed by vastly disproportionate numbers of poor elderly citizens, and younger workers struggling with impossible tax burdens, the fundamental tenets of postmodern life might be called into question. Some will surely argue from a religious perspective that mankind, having discarded God’s injunctions to be fruitful and multiply, is suffering the consequences.

Yet we needn’t resort to disaster scenarios to see that our current demographic dilemma portends fundamental cultural change. Let us say that in the wake of the coming economic and demographic stresses, a serious secular, pronatalist program of the type proposed by Longman were to take hold and succeed. The result might not be “fundamentalism,” yet it would almost certainly involve greater cultural conservatism. Married parents tend to be more conservative, politically and culturally. Predictions of future dominance for the Democratic Party are based on the increasing demographic prominence of single women. Delayed marriage lowers fertility rates and moves the culture leftward. Reverse that trend by stimulating married parenthood, and the country grows more conservative — whether in a religious mode or not.

But can the cultural engines of postmodernity really be thrown into reverse? After all, people don’t decide to have children because they think it will help society. They act on their personal desires and interests. Will women stop wanting to be professionals? Is it conceivable that birth control might become significantly less available than it is today? It certainly seems unlikely that any free Western society would substantially restrict contraception, no matter how badly its population was dwindling.

Yet it is important to keep in mind that decisions about whether and when to have children may someday take place in a markedly different social environment. As mentioned, children are valued in traditional societies because of the care they provide in old age. In the developed world, by contrast, old age is substantially provisioned by personal savings and the welfare state. But what will happen if the economy and the welfare state shrink significantly? Quite possibly, people will once again begin to look to family for security in old age — and childbearing might commensurately appear more personally necessary.

If a massive cohort of elderly citizens find themselves in a chronic state of crisis, the lesson for the young will be clear. Wattenberg notes that pro-natalist policies have failed wherever they’ve been tried. Yet in conditions of serious economic stress and demographic imbalance, sweeping pro-natalist plans like those offered by Longman may in fact become workable. That would usher in a series of deeper cultural changes, most of them pointing society in a more conservative direction.

Then again, we may finesse the challenge of a rapidly aging society by some combination of increased productivity, entitlement reform, and delayed retirement. In that case, fertility will continue to fall, and world population will shrink at compounding speed. The end result could be crisis or change further down the road, or simply substantial and ongoing reductions in world population, with geostrategic consequences difficult to predict. One way or the other, it would seem that our social order is in motion.

New eugenics?

he emerging population implosion, then, may be taken in part as a challenge to Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis. As Fukuyama himself came to recognize in his 2002 book, Our Posthuman Future, the greatest challenge to the “end of history” idea is the prospect that biotechnology might work a fundamental change in human nature and society. In the form of modern contraception, it may already have done so. And contraception could be only the beginning.

Like others who warn of the dangers of biotechnology, Fukuyama is most concerned about the prospect that genetic engineering could undermine the principles of liberty and equality. If children are genetically engineered for greater health, strength, or intellectual capacity, erstwhile liberal society could be plunged into a brave new world of genetically-based class hierarchy.

That is a grave concern, yet there may still be others. The disruptive effects of biotechnology will play out in a depopulating world — perhaps a world shadowed by economic and cultural crisis. So the immediate challenge of biotechnology to human history is the prospect that the family might be replaced by a bioengineered breeding system. Artificial wombs, not the production of supermen, may soon be the foremost social challenge posed by advancing science. Certainly, there is a danger that genetic engineering may someday lead to class distinctions. But the pressure on the bioengineers of the future will be to generate population. If and when the prospect of building “better” human beings becomes real, it will play out in the context of a world under radical population pressure. That population crunch will likely shape the new genetics at every turn.

With talk of artificial wombs and the end of the family, we are a long way from the idea of a conservative religious revival. The truth is, the possibility of a population crisis simultaneously raises the prospect of conservative revival and eugenic nightmare. In his landmark book on Western family decline, Disturbing the Nest, sociologist David Popenoe traces out contrasting ideal-typical scenarios by which the Western family might be either strengthened or further eroded. Looking at these scenarios, it’s evident that a population crisis could trigger either one.

What could reverse the decline of the Western nuclear family? Anything that might counter the affluence, secularism, and individualism that led to family decline in the first place, says Popenoe. Economic decline could force people to depend on families instead of the state. A religious revival could restore traditional mores. And a revised calculation of rational interest in light of social chaos could call the benefits of extreme individualism into question. We’ve already seen that a demographic-economic crisis could invoke all three of these mechanisms.

But what about the reverse scenario, in which the nuclear family would entirely disappear? According to Popenoe, the end of the nuclear family would come through a further development of our growing tendency to separate pair-bonding from sex and procreation. Especially in Europe, marriage is morphing into parental cohabitation. And in societies where parents commonly cohabit, the practice of “living alone together” is emerging. There unmarried parents remain “together” yet live in separate households, only one of them with a child. And of course, intentional single motherhood by older unmarried women — Murphy Brown-style — is another dramatic repudiation of the nuclear family. The next logical step in all this would be for single mothers to turn their children over to some other individual or group for rearing. That would spell the definitive end of the nuclear family.

A prolonged economic crisis accompanied by widespread concern over depopulation would undoubtedly place feminism under pressure. Yet it’s unlikely that postmodern attitudes toward women, work and family could be swept aside — or even significantly modified — without a major cultural struggle. A eugenic regime would be the logical way to safeguard feminist goals in a depopulating world, and there is ample precedent for an alliance between eugenics and feminism.

After all, birth control pioneers like Margaret Sanger in the United States and Marie Stopes in England blended feminism and eugenics at the outset of the twentieth century. As birth control came into wide use, fertility sharply declined — particularly among the upper classes, which had access to the technology. Alarmed by the relative decline of the elites, Teddy Roosevelt urged upper-class women to have more children. Even progressives began to question their commitment to women’s rights. Margaret Sanger’s response was to promote a eugenic regime of forced sterilization and birth control among the unfit. Instead of urging “the intelligent” to have more children, Sanger advocated the suppression of births among “the insane and the blemished.”

The women’s movement of the 1960s forged still more links between feminism and eugenics. Shulamith Firestone’s 1970 classic, The Dialectic of Sex, argued that women would truly be free only when released from the burden of reproduction. Today, as scientists work to engineer embryos in the laboratory, while others devise technology to save premature babies at ever earlier stages of development, the possibility that a viable artificial womb will someday be created has emerged. While feminists are divided on the issue, many look forward to the prospect.

Thus, if faced with an ultimate choice between feminist hopes of workplace equality with men and society’s simultaneous need for more children, it is not hard to imagine that some on the cultural left would opt for technological outsourcing — surrogacy in various forms — as a way out. To some extent, this phenomenon has already begun: Consider the small but growing numbers of older, usually career women who choose and pay younger women to carry babies for them. As with Sanger and Firestone, eugenics may be seen by some as the “logical” alternative to pressure to restore the traditional family.

Christine Rosen, who has usefully thought through the prospects and implications of “ectogenesis,” suggests that objections to the human exploitation inherent in surrogacy could actually propel a shift toward artificial wombs. Of course, that would only complete the commodification of childbirth itself — weakening if not eliminating the parent-child bond. And if artificial wombs one day become “safer” than human gestation, insurers might begin to insist on our not giving birth the old-fashioned way.

Such dark possibilities demand serious intellectual attention. Neither principled objections to tampering with human nature nor instinctive horror at the thought of it suffice to meet the challenge of the new eugenics. Philosophy and instinct must be welded to a compelling social vision. The course and consequences of world population decline offer just such a vision. In the end, philosophical principles and reflexive horror are guardians of the social order, yet without a lively vision of the social order they are protecting, these guardians cannot properly do their work.

New choices

ven in the celebrated image of the conservative who stands athwart history yelling “Stop!” there is a subtle admission of modernization’s inevitability. Tocqueville saw history’s trend toward ever greater individualism as an irresistible force. The most we could do, he thought, was to balance individualism with modern forms of religious, family, and civic association. Today, even Tocqueville’s cherished counterweights to radical individualism are disappearing — particularly in the sphere of the family.

It is indeed tempting to believe that the fundamental social changes initiated in the 1960s have by now become irreversible. Widespread contraception, abortion, women in the workforce, marital decline, growing secularism and individualism — all seem here to stay. Looked at from a longer view, however, the results are not really in. We haven’t yet seen the passing of even the great demographic wave of the “baby boom.” The latter half of the twentieth century may someday be seen not as ushering in the end of history, but as a transition out of modernity and into a new, prolonged, and culturally novel era of population shrinkage.

The most interesting and unanticipated prospect of all would be a conservatism. Of our authors, only Longman has explored the potential ideological consequences of the new demography. In effect, Longman wrote his book to forestall a religiously-based conservatism precipitated by demographic and economic decline. Yet even Longman may underestimate the potential for conservative resurgence.

It wouldn’t take a full-scale economic meltdown, or even a relative disparity in births between fundamentalists and secularists, to change modernity’s course. Chronic low-level economic stress in a rapidly aging world may be enough. There is good reason to worry about the fate of elderly boomers with fragile families, limited savings, and relatively few children to care for them. A younger generation of workers will soon feel the burden of paying for the care of this massive older generation. The nursing shortage, already acute, will undoubtedly worsen, possibly foreshadowing shortages in many other categories of workers. Real estate values could be threatened by population decline. And all these demographically tinged issues, and more, will likely become the media’s daily fare.

In such an atmosphere, a new set of social values could emerge along with a fundamentally new calculation of personal interest. Modernity itself may come in for criticism even as a new appreciation for the benefits of marriage and parenting might emerge. A successful pronatalist policy (if achieved by means of the conventional family rather than through surrogacy or artificial wombs) would only reinforce the conservative trend. In that case we will surely find that it is cultural radicals standing athwart history’s new trend yelling “Stop!”

Humankind faces three fundamental choices in the years ahead: at least a partial restoration of traditional social values, a radical new eugenics, or endless and compounding population decline. For a long time, this choice may not be an either/or. Divisions will likely emerge both within and between societies on how to proceed. Some regions may grow more traditional, others may experiment with radical new social forms, while still others may continue to shrink. And a great deal will depend upon an economic future that no one can predict with certainty. In any case, the social innovations of the modern world are still being tested, and the outcome is unresolved.
URL for above article..

Demographics and the Culture War
EPW 1-29-2005

Ashish Bose
Beyond Hindu-Muslim Growth Rates

SMP stands for significant muslim population districts
Nucleus of future minipakistans,
By 2080, when full population stabilisation occurs, all these will secede

Table 4

State Total Districts Total Muslims SMP Districts SMP Total SMP Muslims SMP Muslim %

UP 70; 30,740,158 ; 10 ; 27,486,006 ; 10,708,980 ; 39.0
WB 18 ; 20,240,543; 5 ; 21,520,942 ; 9,881,982 ; 45.9
Bihar 37 ; 13,722,048 ; 4 ; 8,391,636 ; 3,716,811 ; 44.3
Assam 23 ; 8,240,611 ; 10 ; 12,602,389 ; 6,430,924 ; 51.0
Kerala 14 ; 7,863,842 ; 3 ; 7,708,680 ; 3,976,389 ; 51.6
Andhra 23 ; 6,986,856 ; 1 ; 3,829,753 ; 1,576,583 ; 41.2
JK 14 ; 6,793,240 ; 10 ; 7,144,103 ; 6,451,907 ; 90.3
Jharkhand 18 ; 3,731,308 ; 2 ; 1,629,434 ; 517,129 ; 31.7
Haryana 19 ; 1,222,916 ; 1 ; 1,660,289 ; 617,918 ; 37.2
Uttaranchal 13 ; 1,012,141 ; 1 ; 1,447,187 ; 478,274 ; 33.0
Pondichery 4 ; 59,358 ; 1 ; 36,828 ; 11,411 ; 31.0
Laksdwep 1 ; 57,903 ; 1 ; 60,660 ; 57,903 ; 95.5
Total 254 ; 100,670,924 ; 49 ; 93,517,907 ; 44,426,211 ; 47.5
EPW 1-29-2005

Role of Religion in Fertility Decline - Part 1


****After a lot of mathematical calculations they prove that muslim excess fertility has nothing to do with education or poverty, rather it is due to deliberate over-breeding

The Case of Indian Muslims
The fertility of Muslims, which was about 10 per cent higher than that of Hindus before
independence, is now 25 to 30 per cent higher than the Hindu rate, and the difference
according to religion is larger than the difference between the forward and depressed Hindu
castes and tribes.

This paper subjects the micro data from the National Family Health
Surveys to a multivariate analysis to assess the contribution of socio-economic factors to the
fertility differential by religion. It also explores the possible reasons for the large,
residual effect of religion on fertility, and causes for the religious disparities in socio-economic
conditions. The paper concludes with an assessment of the implications of the current
demographic trends for the future population sizes of the two religious groups.

***Kingsley Davis, a noted sociologist and a renowned demographer,
was one of the first to comment upon the Hindu-Muslim
fertility difference. In his monumental work on the population
of India and Pakistan, he noted that child-woman ratios of
Muslims in undivided India were about 12-14 per cent higher
than among Hindus [Davis 1951].2 As few in India used contraception
then, the Hindu-Muslim fertility difference of the time
must have arisen from differences in supply-side factors (i e, biosocial
constraints on fertility) such as marriage and remarriage,
abstinence for religious reasons and breastfeeding. Among them,
differences in widow remarriage and duration of sexual abstinence
after birth could have been particularly important.

***There is widespread belief, especially among the ‘Hindu Right’,
that the practice of polygyny is the main reason for the higher
fertility of Muslims. But since only women give birth to children,
polygyny can influence fertility of a population only by raising
the proportion of married women.3 But the available data show
that Muslim women on an average did not marry at a significantly
earlier age than Hindu women, and those remaining never married
were extremely few in both the communities. Nevertheless, the
data for pre-partition India did show that the proportion of
currently married women was higher among Muslims than Hindus
by about 4 per cent [Davis 1951]. This excess was largely due
to the higher frequency of widow remarriages among Muslims.
Thus the extent of polygyny among Muslims was only such that
it balanced the excess supply of married women that resulted
from widow remarriage. Consequently, the fertility enhancing
effects of the two factors were not mutually exclusive. Together
they accounted for about one-third of the excess child-woman
ratios of Muslims.

***fertility of Muslims
is even higher than those of the bottom-most groups in the Hindu
caste hierarchy, namely, the scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled
tribes (ST). For example, the estimates of TFR from NFHS-2
show that in comparison with the average fertility of Hindus,
the fertility of SCs is 13 per cent higher, that of STs is 10 per
cent higher, and of other backward castes (OBC) is only 2 per
cent higher. But as already been noted, Muslim fertility is 29
per cent higher than the average Hindu fertility. Similar differentials
are indicated by the data from NFHS-1, and that on
completed family size (Table 1). Therefore, there is little ground
for rationalising the higher fertility of Muslims by pointing out
the presence of equally high levels of fertility among some Hindu

****But among the younger cohorts there
has been a steady rise in the religious fertility difference. In the
most recent cohorts reaching the end of their reproductive span,
the difference is about one birth per woman, or an excess of about
25 per cent among Muslim women. The rise in Hindu-Muslim
fertility difference has been particularly sharp in urban areas
where the recent cohorts show a difference of 1.2 children, or
an excess of more than 30 per cent in Muslim fertility over that
of the Hindus.
It is also sometimes contended that higher fertility of Muslims
could be because they are concentrated in areas where fertility
is generally high, such as in northern India [e g, Jeffery and Jeffery
2000, 2002]. But a careful examination of the available data
shows that in every major state, fertility is higher among Muslims
than Hindus, and the gap between the two has been widening
with time. Data from both census and surveys substantiate this
conclusion. The data released recently from the 2001 Census
show that child-woman ratio (CWR, defined as the ratio of
children less than seven years to females aged seven years and
over) is higher among Muslims than Hindus in all the states except
Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh (Table 3). Even the two
anomalous cases can be explained by the fact that more than 60
per cent of Muslims in the two states live in urban areas compared
to less than 25 per cent of the Hindus. It may also be noted that
the child-woman ratio of Muslims is higher by 24 per cent than
that of Hindus at the all-India level, whereas in Kerala and West
Bengal it is higher by 43 and 59 per cent, respectively.

***It is occasionally asserted that fertility of Muslims in a state
such as Kerala is lower than fertility of Hindus in a state like
Uttar Pradesh, and hence it cannot be claimed that Muslims have
higher fertility than Hindus. But such an argument is absurd
because factors other than religion also have an influence on
fertility. Data from the NFHS also show that fertility of illiterate
women in Kerala is lower than fertility of women who have
completed high school in Uttar Pradesh. Could this evidence be
used to refute the effect of female education on fertility?

****It is the emergence of the religious difference in contraceptive
practice since the 1970s that is chiefly responsible for the widened
gulf between Hindu-Muslim fertility. The data on contraceptive
use among Muslims and Hindus from five national surveys are
shown in Table 5. The first survey conduced by the Operations
Research Group in 1970 showed a difference of 5 per cent in
the current use of contraception among married women between
Hindus and Muslims at the national level (14 and 9 per cent,
respectively). The second survey conducted in 1980 disclosed
that this difference increased to 12 per cent. Subsequent surveys,
including the NFHS, have showed that this difference has remained
more or less the same. The contribution of the difference
in contraceptive practice to the difference in fertility between
Hindus and Muslims can be assessed as the ratio of women not
using contraception in the two communities.8 The computations
made on this basis show that the difference in contraceptive use
alone would have caused fertility of Muslims to be higher than
that of Hindus by 6 per cent in 1970, 23 per cent in 1980, and
28 per cent in 1998-99 (Table 5).

***It is often argued that much of the difference in fertility between
Hindus and Muslims is because of higher levels of poverty and
illiteracy among Muslims. But few have examined carefully the
available data on the socio-economic characteristics of the
population and the extent to which religion itself could have
contributed to the emergence of such differences. For explaining
the differentials in fertility, the Hindu-Muslim differences in
(i) rural-urban distribution of the population, (ii) literacy and
educational levels, (iii) income and poverty and (iv) female
autonomy and son preference are of particular interest. We shall
examine the religious differentials in each of these in some detail.

***population and the extent to which religion itself could have
contributed to the emergence of such differences. For explaining
the differentials in fertility, the Hindu-Muslim differences in
(i) rural-urban distribution of the population, (ii) literacy and
educational levels, (iii) income and poverty and (iv) female
autonomy and son preference are of particular interest. We shall
examine the religious differentials in each of these in some detail.

***According to this source, the difference
between Hindus and Muslims is 3 percentage points in female
literacy (53 and 50 per cent) and 8 percentage points in male
literacy (76 and 68 per cent

****A probable reason is that concerns about the
secularising influence of modern education is prompting the
followers of more organised religion like Islam to keep away
their children from public schools. But some Muslim scholars
and western observers contend that discrimination in recruitment
to public offices is the main source for the lack of interest of
Muslims in acquiring higher education [e g, Hasan 1997; Jeffery
and Jeffery 2000; Harris-White 2003]. Statistics have been compiled
to show that Muslims form only about 3 per cent of those
employed in the Indian administrative service, police, railways
and nationalised banks. The figures quoted do not suggest a high
level of discrimination given that they form only about 5 per
cent of those graduated from college, and that there could be
differences in the quality of education they acquire.

***As the figure shows, although there is an inverse
relationship between fertility and literacy in both the communities,
for the same level of female literacy CWRs of Muslims
are generally higher than those of Hindus.

****According to these regressions, for the CWRs of Muslims and
Hindus to be equal, the level of female literacy among the former
has to be higher by about 15 percentage points. Although the
fitted lines suggest that with the increase in female literacy
Muslim fertility falls more rapidly than Hindu fertility, the fertility
differential does not completely disappear even when literacy
attains 100 per cent (Figure 5). As a matter fact, the fitted lines
suggest that the percentage difference in fertility between the two
communities increases with female literacy. For example, when
female literacy is 20 per cent, the predicted CWR for Muslims
is higher than that of Hindus by 15 per cent, whereas when it
is 80 per cent, the predicted CWR of Muslims is higher than
that of Hindus by 21 per cent. Thus the bivariate analysis of the
macro data from the census suggests that fertility of Muslims
is higher than that of Hindus, irrespective of their literacy levels.

***As the
table shows, in rural areas, there is hardly any difference in the
poverty ratios of Muslims and Hindus. As per the data from the
43rd round, 41 per cent of Hindus and 40 per cent of Muslims
were living under poverty.

***A recent study of several Asian
countries that included India found that “greater pronatalist
behaviour/attitude cannot be accounted for by any general tendency
of Muslim women to have less autonomy than non-Muslim
women” [Morgan et al 2002:533].

***tables. The estimated
effects of education, exposure to mass media, caste/tribe and
duration of marriage are significant and show expected signs in
almost all regressions. The dummy variable representing the
survey round (NFHS-2) shows strong effects in all the regressions,
indicating that changes in socio-economic variables included
in the regressions cannot explain all the changes that
occurred in the fertility measures during the inter-survey period.
We have discussed implications of these results at length elsewhere
[Bhat and Zavier 2004]. Here we shall focus only on the
measured effects of religion.
Even after controlling for all the known socio-economic
factors, the dummy variable representing Muslims is strongly
significant in all the regressions, both for rural and urban areas.
Its effect is negative on contraceptive use, and positive in all
other regressions. It is to be noted that because we have controlled
for scheduled caste/tribes in the regressions, the dummy variable
for Muslims captures the difference between Muslims and Hindus
belonging to castes other than SC and ST (caste Hindus, hereafter).
But as the coefficients of dummy variables for SC and
ST show, the differences between caste Hindus and SC/ST are
smaller than the difference between caste Hindus and Muslims.
This is true for all regressions except that of ideal family size
regression for urban areas.

***Does the Muslim effect disappear at higher levels of education?
The education-Muslim interaction effects are not statistically
significant in most regressions. In some regressions they are
even in the same direction as the main effect of being Muslim
(e g, in ideal family size regressions), indicating that the differ-
ence between Muslims and Hindus, rather than reducing gets
widened at higher levels of education. Only the cohort fertility
regression for urban areas shows diminishing effects at higher
educational levels. But even in this case, the higher fertility of
Muslims does not completely disappear at higher educational

***Finally, we assess the residual contribution of religion. Since
the dummy variable for Muslims provides comparison only with
caste Hindus, to make comparison with an average Hindu we
should combine the effects of religion and caste. There also is
the question of where to classify the interaction effect of education
and religion. There could be arguments both for and against
its inclusion under the religious effect. If included with religion,
86-103 per cent of the observed Hindu-Muslim difference in
fertility indicators in rural areas, and 55-77 per cent of the
difference in urban areas, would be due to religion.17 If the
interaction effect were omitted, 75-100 per cent of the total
difference in rural areas, and 56-99 per cent of the total difference
in urban areas, would be due to religion. If the contribution of
duration of marriage were to be included (since it measures the
effect of differences in past fertility), the contribution attributed
to religion would be even larger. To conclude, even if it is assumed
that religious differences in socio-economic factors were produced
exogenously, they cannot explain no more than one-fourth
of the Hindu-Muslim differences in fertility measures in rural
areas, and half of the differences in urban areas. If religion were
the cause for some of the differences in socio-economic factors,
then the independent contribution of theses factors to the religious
fertility differential would be even smaller.
EPW 1-29-2005

Role of Religion in Fertility Decline - Part 2


***This has the implication that a
locality which has a Muslim population of 35 per cent or more
in 2001 would become a Muslim majority area by the time
population size gets stabilised. Thus the fear that Muslims would
outnumber Hindus in India as a whole is totally unwarranted.
But some new Muslim majority localities will certainly emerge,
which could have a bearing on local politics.

As a result of the lag in fertility decline among Indian Muslims,
the Hindu-Muslim fertility difference had increased from about
10 per cent at the time of independence to 25-30 per cent in the
1990s. We estimate that, as a consequence, before population
stabilisation is attained the percentage of Muslims in India would
nearly double from what it was in 1951 (10 per cent). Our analysis
also shows that socio-economic factors can explain no more than
one-fourth of the current difference in Hindu-Muslim fertility
in rural areas and half of the differences in urban areas.

****What would explain the remaining part of the fertility differential?
In our view, the role of religion in the development of
an attitude towards fertility control as an act interfering with
God’s designs in matters of procreation should not be underestimated.
As Durkheim had pointed out, central to all religious
beliefs is their classification of things or conducts as sacred or
profane. It has been argued that from the theological perspective,
both Hinduism and Christianity (especially Catholicism) are as
pronatalist as Islam [Iyer 2002]. But religious doctrines are often
reinterpreted to make them relevant to the socio-political realities
of the day. Several modern scholars have argued that Islam is
not opposed to family planning [Mahmood 1977; Khan 1979;
Obermeyer 1992; Omran 1992]. The need for such clarification
probably arose because the orthodox interpretation of Islamic
texts was to the contrary. For our purpose what is crucial is not
which interpretation is theologically correct, but which holds
greater sway among the faithful. The best method to test this
is to ask the people themselves. Morgan et al (2002:117) claim
that Muslims do not consistently state that the use of contraception
is against their religion. But they overlook the possibility
that such inconsistent reporting could be because the clergy do
not speak with one voice in different countries, or over time.
The dramatic fall in fertility in Iran after Muslim clerics took
a favourable stand on family planning is a case in point [Hoodfar
and Assadpour 2002]. On the other hand, the NFHS data suggest
that it is the orthodox view that commands respect in India.

****Thus the effect of religion on fertility cannot be dismissed
as inconsequential, or a myth. What perhaps separates the Hindus
and Christians from Muslims is that their religious leaders give
low priority for conformity with fertility/contraceptive norms,
as demographic and technological circumstances have changed
since the times the scriptures were written.

The Islamic clerics
appear to be more dogmatic on this issue, particularly in countries
were their followers are in minority.23 However, as the experience
of Iran and a few other Islamic countries show, a more pragmatic
view is sometimes taken when their population is in majority

The last paragraph needs to be kept in mind
In muslim minority countries, mullahs oppose family planning since breeding is the main means to sieze power
Once power is siezed and muslims are in majority, mullahs support family planning
Since breeding no longer has any political impact

Hindus need to learn from this
No pain no gain
A society unwilling to do the easy task of breeding cannot do the hard task of fighting
EPW 1-29-2005

Tables from Role of Religion in Fertility Decline - Part 3


The following tables show that India is being islamised thanks to the over-educated careeristic hindu woman who fails to do her reproductive duty of at least 3 kids

Having 4 kids per woman will definitely roll back islam

India has a maximum population capacity of about 1.7 billion and by pre-emptively raising hindu fertility, you can prevent muslims from filling up India with muslims

In places like kerala , hindus are below even 2.1 fertility

Remember Cyprus went into civil war with muslims at 18%

Decade Hindu Fertility Muslim Fertility
1991-2001 3.6 4.6
2001-2011 2.9 3.7
2011-2021 2.3 3.0
2021-2031 2.1 2.5
2031-2041 2.1 2.1
2041-2051 2.1 2.1
2051-2061 2.1 2.1
2061-2071 2.1 2.1
2071-2081 2.1 2.1
2081-2091 2.1 2.1
2091-2101 2.1 2.1

Year Hindu Millions Muslim Millions Muslim %
2001 830 140 13.5
2011 960 170 14.4
2021 1060 210 15.4
2031 1140 240 16.1
2041 1210 260 16.7
2051 1260 280 17.3
2061 1270 300 17.8
2071 1270 310 18.2
2081 1270 310 18.6
2091 1270 320 18.8
2101 1270 320 18.8

Do you have the growth rates for FC Hindus also?
The current EPW has some articles that deal with intercaste fertility differences
I would make a guess
Per NFHS-2 in 1999
Muslim fertility = 3.6
Hindu fertility = 2.8
SC /ST fertility = 3.0
OBC = 2.6
FC = 2.2

Assuming no major conversions to xtianity
by 2080
India will have 19% muslims, including BD illegals
and probable islamic secessionism in north east and west bengal
6% xtians

Remaining 75% Indian religionists
2% sikhs
2% buddhists and Jains
71% hindus
out of which
ST = 7%
SC = 14%
OBC = 42%
FC = 8%

The muslim demographic advance comes mainly at the expense of foolish
FC women who are below replacement fertility of 3

Have 5 or be islamised
Can anyone explain why the forward caste hindus on all forums consider
my counter-breeding proposal as barbaric ?
There is not a single hindu scripture in favour of family planning
I remember that this family planning fad started among westernised , macaulised, semi-xtianised hindus in the 1960s

Breeding is just a natural process like going to the bathroom

Would these hindu women rather have 5 now or 5 later inside an islamic harem

I consider over-educated hindu women as fodder for islamic harems

Consider, in bangladesh and in kashmir valley, hindu women go to college
and end up in islamic harems

The difference between Kashmiri pandits and Gujurati muslim women in camps is stark
In Gujurat, Modi was correct, muslims were using these camps as reproduction centers and in kashmiri pandit camps the girls go to camp schools etc instead of reproducing like muslims
<!--QuoteBegin-G.Subramaniam+Feb 7 2005, 09:11 PM-->QUOTE(G.Subramaniam @ Feb 7 2005, 09:11 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Can anyone explain why the forward caste hindus on all forums consider my counter-breeding proposal as barbaric ?

There is not a single hindu scripture in favour of family planning I remember that this family planning fad started among westernised, macaulised, semi-xtianised hindus in the 1960s <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Sheer ignorance, or shortsightedness could be one of the reasons. Lack of understanding the enemy, and "a lack of understanding that what is burning at a distance will knock our doorsteps tomorrow" could be another reason. Macaulayism is definitely a major factor, but over and above that, I think not understanding our shastras and not really <b>caring to understand or defend Dharma</b> is the foundation of all factors.

Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshithah. It is only when we protect Dharma, can we expect Dharma to protect us. If we disregard Dharma, and equate Sanathana Dharma with mleccha dharma on the same-same policy, Dharma will not protect us in time of need.

You are absolutely right in saying that no Shastra tells us to limit the number of Children. Infact Chandogya (Chapter 6.4) encourages one to have children.

I think most "forward" hindus worry about how they are going to raise five kids, and how they are going to give them all a decent college education etc. This is a valid fear, as long as one is not man enough to earn more to feed the kids.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Can anyone explain why the forward caste hindus on all forums consider
my counter-breeding proposal as barbaric ?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
No, it is not barbaric.
Recent young deaths in my extended family of only son/daughter or only child have forced to change views towards so called "family planning", now I think future generation will not stick for one or two child policy at least in my extended family. Sometimes tragedy makes people think what a blunder they did and now they regret which is too late.

An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a
sheep. – Arab proverb


I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.
-Talleyrand, Charles Maurice De
1754-1838 French Statesman
The first misconception that people have is that very small muslim armies defeated very large hindu armies

Ghori and Ghazni for example had the resources of central asia behind them and
fielded large armies of 2 lakhs

In addition they had technical superiority in the form of mounted archers

Today the external muslim armies are primitive

The main threat comes from low level muslim rioting
and in this the key determinant is muslim concentration level

No society, including western europe has yet found a solution to low level muslim rioting

The only solution is hence symptomatic
The only reason we had partition was because muslims breeded from 15% in 1800 to 25% by 1950
and hindu society could not tackle muslim rioters

Islamic breeding even defeated stalin, who found that muslims breeded much faster than he could eradicate them

Basically if you dont want to lose your home, dont let muslims reach critical mass in your area and the only way is to prevent a demographic vacuum
Chuck family planning to save Hindus' majority status: RSS
Lokpal Sethi/ Jaipur
Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) chief KC Sudarshan has advised the Hindus of the country to plan for more children to prevent the community from becoming a minority in the future. Addressing a huge gathering at the Hindu Conference in Barmer, close to the international border with Pakistan, on Sunday, he said this was necessary because the Hindu population in the country is declining and if the present trend continues, it would be reduced to a minority in another 50 years.

The RSS Chief said Hindus should do away with the family planning slogan of "Hum do, Hamare do" (policy of only two children) and said a family must have at least three children to maintain the "population balance" and majority character of the community.

The Hindu conference was organised by the RSS at the Adrash stadium where the turnout was impressive. Earlier, about ten thousand RSS volunteers held a Path Sanchalan (march past), which after passing through the main streets and bazaars of this small town culminated at the venue of the conference. Mr Sudershan said Hindus constituted 89.2 per cent of the total population in 1881. They were reduced to 78.03 per cent by 1991 whereas the population of Muslims and Christians in the country during this period has increased 6 and 4 per cent respectively. He pointed out that more Hindus are coming forward to adopt the family planning policy as compared to the other two communities.

Commenting on the arrest of Kanchikamkoti Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, he said it was done mainly for political considerations. He stressed how several cases were pending against Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid, and his son, but none dares to arrest them for the fear of alienating the Muslim community.
College education vs 5 kids

This is what I hear from hindus all the time

These people dont understand that college education is simply icing on the cake
First issue is survival

College education did not save kashmiri pandits or bhadralok east bengal hindus
from islamic demographics
I know one young "modern" educated Hindu girl in my neighborhood who has four kids. She is not having any trouble bringing them up.

I don't see any problems bringing up 4 or 5 kids at all.

If we give up watching stupid bollywood/hollywood movies and wasting time going to discos, bars, night clubs etc... we can easily find time to raise children.
The muslim demographic problem in India is not a widespread phenomenon

In most states, hindus have done a fair job of counter breeding

The 3 main states where under commie / xtian influence hindus cut back on breeding too much is
1. Assam, now 30% muslim, will reach 40% muslim
2. Kerala, now 25% muslim, will reach 35% muslim
3. West Bengal, now 25% muslim, will reach 35% muslim
Recently released census statistics has erupted another euphoria in the Muslim community


Muslim growth rate: myth and reality

Recently released census statistics has erupted another euphoria in the Muslim community. Ironically this growth of Muslim population, as per the 2001 census’ outcome whisked the foul cry of Venkaiah Naidu, BJP president intricately, galvanized the fact that BJP is still trying to fruition its ideology even after the seething defeat in the general elections. The scintillating demographic outcome, as per the Hindutva think tanks, has exposed the fear of clandestine intimidations and hallucinations that might goose their modus operandi led by RSS, BJP and their coterie. It has reinforced stereotypes about the Muslim community.

The major highlights of the census report are that the growth rate of the Hindu population has fallen drastically in the decade 1991-2001 compared to 1981-1991, while the Muslims have had rapid growth in a situation where several experimental genocides have been practiced to paralyze Muslims by dodging them in form of riots and killings. The reverse outcome is a gloom for the fanatics and their handiwork to dominate Indian demography.

The Muslims, on the other hands, need not feel cheer for the unexpected growth that they are increasing in number and if the pace continues the dream to have Islamic rule in India would materialize. The other ugly side remains awoke because both Hindus and Muslims have stippled significant falls in population growth rate. The impression about a rising population growth of Muslims is imperfect and a false assumption instead of statistically accurate eminence.

The fact remains unstated that the 1991 census did not include Jammu & Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state, while the 2001 census does include Jammu & Kashmir, hence Mr. Naidu should understand arithmetics before leaping and weeping for the false cause. The actual data, after inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir adjusts that growth rate of Muslims slashes down from 36% to 29.3% and Hindus are only marginally affected. Even if Jammu & Kashmir is excluded now, the figure of Muslim population growth in the year 2001 from 1991-2001 was 29.3% even lesser than the near 33% growth figure of 1981-1991. The statistics of the same census reveal that the Hindu growth rate, which is 19.9%, is rapid and manageable calculation. The corresponding figure for the Hindu growth rate between 1981-1991 was 22.8%.

A thorough study of the census details of last two decades and the aftermath of it with proper calculation suggests a completely different picture portrayed by the recent census. Muslim population growth has slowed down by 3.5 percentage points which is faster than the Hindu population growth which lost merely 2.9 percentage points at the same juncture. One of the shocking revelations (that Mr. Naidu dose not want to understand) is that the child sex ratio has worsened since 1991. One of the major reasons attributed to the alarming decline is female foeticide and the rising popularity of sex determination tests despite these being barred by the law.

Instead of keeping oneself happy for the growth in quantity, Muslims need to understand the grass root problems and other anarchies. The 36% population growth rate (including Jammu & Kashmir) is enough to assume growth where lower involvement in economic activities, which is mere 31.3% and low literacy rate of 59.1%--much below the average national literacy rate of 64.8% is a matter of concern and reminds us that we are still doomed to a repressed growth.

Asif Anwar Alig

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