- - Sunday, November 3, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I thank Joseph Cotto for raising the issue of overpopulation, but his question seems weird (“Overpopulation: Should America have a one-child policy?” Web, Oct. 29). The government of the United States currently has a record immigration policy that is designed to cancel out the effects of the moderate American fertility rate. This policy has increased the population of the United States by 80 million more than the American people, left to themselves, would have achieved. And the number is rising rapidly.

It was the consensus of both classical and Keynesian economics that excessively rapid population growth makes prosperity impossible, and that population growth should be set by individuals being careful not to have more children than they can afford to raise. The problem is not people, but governments, when the latter force population growth higher in order to lower wages for the many and boost profits for the few. We don’t need to artificially limit the number of children people can have; we need to stop governments from either propagandizing for larger families or using immigration to cancel out the decisions of the local people themselves.

The Mexican government had a massive propaganda campaign to promote high fertility rates. The resulting low wages created a record number of billionaires, but crushed the average Mexican into poverty — and now the Mexican government is desperate to dump their surplus population somewhere else. When Mao Zedong took power in China, he also pushed to maximize population growth. The resulting famine nearly destroyed the country, and they had to resort to coercive family planning to avoid disaster.

When governments take harsh measures to limit population growth, it is usually because they previously had taken measures to maximize it. Let’s avoid this binge-and-purge and just let the population be set by the people themselves: no more mass immigration and no more propaganda aimed at shaping behavior into what the elites demand at this moment.

TIMOTHY GAWNE

Birmingham, Ala.

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