Sunday, November 2, 2008

C'mon, think!

As the online debates about the RH bill (HB 5043) mushroom all over, I notice that people look at the anti-RH side as a mob of lemmings who merely blindly follow what Church leaders are saying. But truth is, all of the people against RH whom I know are actually those who are reading between the lines of what this bill is about. The Church has her reasons for opposing the bill, but if you think outside the box--try not to consider the Church stance--you'll see there's much about the bill that isn't quite right.

I blame the "lemming" idea partly on the media because it's so easy to take a bishop's stance and paint a clown face on it that we forget ordinary people can sincerely feel the same way about this issue.

The disadvantages of contraceptives aside, the biggest problem with the bill is its goal of "controlling population" when overpopulation is not even a real issue. Here's a snippet of an article by Emmanuel Amador from the publication Love Life ["Does Population Growth really exacerbate poverty?" Vol. 1 No.1] that might help one understand why population control is not the way to go:

Although it is true that, in general, a bigger population can consume more resources than a smaller one, people do more than merely consume. They also produce, just as manufacturing does.

In addition, high population density allows for mass markets, greater interaction, more efficient distribution of services, and economies of scale. Growing populations can also mean growing markets and increased innovation. It's no wonder that persons are generally acknowledged as a nation's most valuable resource.

If population density and population growth contribute to productivity in such important ways, why then should these be singled out as something to be minimized while other productive "contributing factors" [to poverty] aren't?

More importantly, why should the government spend millions on trying to minimize a productive "contributing factor" when there are other greater contributing factors that are not productive at all? Numerous surveys, for example, have shown that the economic situation in the Philippines (and in many other countries) is adversely affected by massive government graft and corruption, draining anywhere from 30% to 70% of tax revenues and government funds, depending on which survey you look at. Shouldn't efforts be focused on eliminating this proven "contributing factor" instead?

Population control is a poor solution to the problem of poverty simply because by cutting down on people we're crippling industry and economics--after all our best resource is people. If you limit the births now, in 50 years our population will be "top heavy" or aging. There will be more old people to support through pensions than there are people to work and pay the taxes that answer for these pensions.


WillyJ said...

Good you pointed this out. Notice how the pro-RH side refuses to acknowledge the "demographic winter" that you aptly highlight here. Dinedma na lang.

petrufied said...

thanks for dropping by, willyj! Yeah, I do wonder why no one takes notice of what happened in other countries that implemented laws like this RH bill. The Stop-at-Two program in Singapore is just one of many examples.

What's frustrating is it's easy to say that there's so many more of us that's why we need to "trim down." Now, we're doing just fine in terms of population growth, but 50 years down the road, if we implement this law, I can't see why we won't be scrambling to try to undo this. And maybe by then it would be very hard to get people to raise bigger families because the mind has been conditioned that small=happy, when it's not necessarily so. :/

Anonymous said...

Just want to post a new development: A position paper against HB 5043 ("Catholic Alumni United for Life") has been released. It's purpose is to speak out against HB 5043 and counter the confusion and falsehoods generated by the earlier position paper released by the 14 Ateneo professors in support of HB 5043.

The paper can be found at: