Print

Print


On Tue, 1 Feb 2000, Aaron S. Hawley wrote:

> On Mon, 31 Jan 2000, Michael Goldhaber wrote:
> > 11. END SO-CALLED MARRIAGE PENALTY in taxes, but also in welfare.
> > Recognize taking care of one’s own children as a form of work, and award
> > excellence in doing it. Let any group of people who care for each other
> > form a family or a marriage if want, with all the same benefits as
> > traditional marriages.
>
> i don't know about this.  everything else i liked.  what about the
> population problem?  (even in our country) this section made me curious
> about your stance on this.  i want education, and recreation programs for
> kids.  but i don't want tax breaks for having 17 kids.

I am extremely wary of talk about a 'population problem'. I don't know
about everyone else on this list, but I don't believe that a 'population
problem' is something that progressives should be agitating about. Talk of
such a problem always sounds to me like talk about "too many people".

And the problem is not "too many people", but a mal-distribution of
resources between people, and general impoverishment of the choices that
we all have. The idea of a 'population problem' seems to involve pointing
at people and saying "you're causing a problem", without looking into why
people act the way they do, and what exactly the problem at hand is.

An oft-quoted example is the one that, in certain circumstances, having
many children is an advantage. Maybe the classic "too many children" case
is poor peasant families, in places like Africa. My wife's step-mother is
from exactly such a poor peasant family - in a rural area of Zimbabwe. And
indeed, they are (sometimes) starving - but their starvation is a result
of the situation (and social relations) they find themselves in - and the
large size of the family is an attempt to offset their disadvantages.
After all, more children means more potential wage earners to go to the
cities (or, more often, over the border (illegally) into South Africa) and
earn money, which can be sent back to the village.

In this situation, 17 children would be considered (by the village in
general, if not the mother) a blessing (particularly since the prevalence
of a genetic defect which causes near-blindness in the family has stripped
down the village workforce).

Finally, let me end of by suggesting that when we talk about politics, or
Science For the People, we should not be looking to helping people, but
rather towards a higher goal: "In place of the old bourgeois society, with
its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which
the free development of each is the condition for the free development of
all." For in capitalism (as anyone who has worked within the
straightjacket of the 'scientific research' industry knows), not one of us
is free.

Peter
--
Peter van Heusden : [log in to unmask] : PGP key available
Criticism has torn up the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man
shall wear the unadorned, bleak chain but so that he will shake off the
chain and pluck the living flower. - Karl Marx
           NOTE: I do not speak for the HGMP or the MRC.