The Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs in Developing Countries

By Judith R. Seltzer | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
DEMOGRAPHIC RATIONALE

This chapter deals with three aspects of the demographic rationale for family planning programs. First is the relationship between population growth and economic development. A related issue is the current concern about future population growth and whether declining fertility rates will lead to a birth dearth in more and more nations. Second is the role of family planning programs as a public policy for addressing high fertility and population growth. Third is the critique of the demographic rationale based on concerns over human rights and particularly the conflict between societal and individual goals and rights.


POPULATION GROWTH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The “demographic rationale” for family planning programs was based on concern with the macro-level consequences of rapid population growth. Contemporary scientific interest in the relationship between population growth and economic development began in the late 1940s and 1950s, although theories on the impact of population factors date to the work of Thomas Malthus in the late 1800s. His principle of population was that populations grow geometrically, and, if unchecked, would outstrip resources (which were assumed to grow linearly) and lead to declines in the standard of living and to greater misery. The solution to the population dilemma for Malthus was individual responsibility for family size. His work is often contrasted with the views of Marx, who saw the negative consequences of population growth on human welfare as an inherent characteristic of the capitalist system and concluded that the socialist system

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The Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs in Developing Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Acronyms xxiii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs 9
  • Chapter Three - Demographic Rationale 45
  • Chapter Four - Health Rationale 73
  • Chapter Five - Other Human Rights Concerns 109
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions, Lessons Learned, and Policy Implications 133
  • Bibliography 143
  • Index 175
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