FLORIDA, September 19, 2012 — The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction.
The first thing that anyone is likely to bring up is the economy. More often than not, politics will follow in a summary fashion. For a great deal, religion is never far behind. As this last topic is intertwined with morality, and therefore translates into political and economic matters, it is frequently regarded as the crux of any given micro- or macro-level social concern.
This is one way of looking at things, to be sure, but does it allow for a snapshot encompassing the social landscape’s entirety? I would say not. What does, then?
It is surprising that one key aspect of human development is often overlooked or denied outright. It is the simple fact that nations with larger populations tend to be more impoverished, with negatively correlating rates of healthcare access and educational opportunities.
Unfortunately, despite being a solidly first world superpower, the United States is no exception to this rule. It stands as the third most populous country on Earth, coming in only behind China and India. During the twentieth century, it did not double, or even triple, but quadrupled in size. Should this trend continue throughout the twenty-first century, America will be home to more than one billion people by its end.
The results of this demographic explosion are readily apparent: low wage and high unemployment rates, public school systems with almost comic student to teacher ratios, and government assistance programs so heavily utilized that severe cuts are often needed to sustain them.
Considering all three of these points is essential should the damage waged by overpopulation be fully considered. First, high population tallies and subpar salaries are intrinsically linked. This is evidenced by low income countries being home to the highest birthrates, despite economic prospects in said areas being next to nil. Needless to say, such a harsh reality gives way to soaring unemployment statistics.
These standards apply to the United States without pause; in its poorer regions, conditions that might be described as “third world” can be found all too easily. Specifically on the American front, overpopulation has resulted in there being a crucial job deficit and applicant surplus. In the past, this has mainly impacted blue collar workers, though the ongoing recession has brought traditionally secure white collar individuals into the fray.
In public education, eight percent of schools exceed their respective capacities by more than twenty-five percent because of population increases. One third conduct classes in portable classrooms, and one fifth are actually forced to turn congregation halls such as gymnasiums into makeshift learning environments. Even worse is that various school districts are now considering building structures on ecologically hazardous grounds.
Public assistance is an eminently sore subject. It is exploited almost as an art form by partisans on the political left and right alike. However, looking at the subject in an objective manner, it becomes obvious that there are certain distinguishable trends, and they pertain to generational poverty.
According to an interactive map published by The New York Times detailing the recipients of government benefits from 1969 to 2009, certain counties steadily increased in their rates of said benefits. Unsurprisingly, many of these were never in great financial shape to begin with. As time wore on, though, they became increasingly destitute. One can blame this on the gross outsourcing of employment opportunities, but by and large population rates rose in spite of this.
Essentially, new generations have been born which find living off various public sector subsidies to be a career in itself. As this subset continues to grow, no doubt spurred by a local culture that does not value personal achievement, the problems it lends to society can do nothing but perpetuate.
With all of these crises, and far too many more to mention here, pushing ahead at full speed, some might ask what can be done to curb overpopulation. Over the last several decades, government agencies have invested in reproductive health services, including educational programs. Interestingly enough, a strong education is exactly what drives down birthrates; specifically among those who would otherwise be in poverty.
Of course, not everyone wants so much as a high school diploma; therefore, this cannot be mandated or expected of all. In any case, promoting messages of personal responsibility and informing youths about the staggering cost of parenthood, currently averaging out at $226,920 from cradle to graduation, should serve as highly effective reality checks.
In order to survive, every country needs to have a certain amount of its populace reproduce. However, the indescribably important act of bringing another person into this world should be done on a reasonable basis, not as the result of purely emotional drives. In my opinion, motherhood or fatherhood deserves to be thought of as a career in its own right, not merely a complement to an existing lifestyle.
Should more people view the idea of having children this way, and place the greatest focus on personal productivity, then America’s overpopulation crisis will go a long way toward being solved. There are other things that should be done, such as drastically revising immigration rules and reconsidering foreign trade policies, but placing mind over matter is an excellent start.
If these pivotal steps were to be taken, then America might stand the chance for a spectacular socioeconomic rebound. The essential question is whether or not we will admit that overpopulation is a problem in the first place.
Much of this article was first published as The American Anti-Renaissance: Overpopulation and a Declining National Dream on Blogcritics.org
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