Put off Procreation for Profit

Nikki Honda, Sports Editor

Is it possible to limit our earth’s population growth by paying women not to have children?

AP Environmental Science classes have been learning about one of the world’s biggest issues: population growth. The world is currently growing exponentially, meaning every year the rate of growth becomes increasingly more rapid. At some point, we will reach our carrying capacity and will not be able to support the amount of people living on earth.

In order to reduce the likeliness of reaching our carrying capacity, scientists have looked into a variety of solutions. Students read an article called “A Nonbearing Account” by Professor Noel Perrin that appeared in Newsweek. The article discusses what would happen if women were given a bank account and were paid for not having children. The article says, “Every girl, when she reached puberty, would notify her local population center. At that moment, a financial clock would start ticking.”

Perrin proposes the idea that at puberty, each girl would be given $500 for not having a child, paid by the government into her bank account. In the 2nd year they would receive $600, then $700, and so forth until she reached menopause. If the girl decided she wanted to have a child, there would be nothing to stop her except her government check would drop to $0 for that year, and then would begin again at $500 if she decided not to have a child the following year. There would be no discrimination based on race, profession, or social class, and they would be able to spend their money however they pleased.

Perrin has come up with an interesting view on the world’s population growth issue. Many of the women giving birth to multiple children come from developing countries and believe they need more children to care of them as they age. However, if they limited themselves to fewer children, they could receive a check that would help support them financially. This would give women an incentive to have less children. If they go their lifetime without having a child, they could earn up to $100,000.

People may argue that this plan is not practical, wondering how these sums of money would impact government finances. However, according to the article, the cost would level off after about 40 years and once it did, the total amount it would cost to pay each girl would be less than what we pay now for welfare. In addition, most of the money would be used immediately at stores and businesses that the women spend their money at.

This idea would also give more power to women in a male dominant world. On average, men are currently given higher salaries compared to women. In this plan, women would be receiving monthly checks, which could increase opportunities for women by giving them greater economic power, especially in 3rd world countries.

There are other details that need to be worked out, such as how to verify when a women goes through puberty and menopause.  It is still a clever proposal that could be successful. According to the article, the alternative is a continually increasing global population until “there is no more tropical rainforest, no more oxygen-carbon dioxide balance, no more space, and our world collapses in disaster.”

Perrin’s idea is well thought out and does an excellent job of acknowledging the cost and impact it would have on individuals.  It is realistic, and I believe women would feel inclined to have fewer children if they were paid.