Zero Population Growth: The Goal and the Means Author(s): Kingsley Davis Source: Daedalus, Vol.

102, No. 4, The No-Growth Society (Fall, 1973), pp. 15-30 Published by: The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20024164 Accessed: 17/07/2009 13:12
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KINGSLEY

DAVIS Growth: The Goal and the Means

Zero Population

When

in 1967 "zero as a was first mentioned goal of growth" population or discussed; it was not itself defended the means policy,1 only population the of reaching it were considered. Since that time, with ZPG becoming a name for a movement, debate has ensued over the goal as well as the lively means. In what follows, I shall first consider some of the main developments to in the debate, then search for what the debate, lies behind hoping the nature of population illuminate policy. I The question at issue when current ZPG were was was whether introduced the or ineffective. To answer

were to know what needed obviously goal the policies to achieve. A search of the literature of the movement trying population revealed no clear statement of the goal. "Population control" could not be a it did not considered because goal, specify "control to what end." How control was frequently litera ever, since population justified in the policy ture by of the dangers accounts of graphic increase?dangers population seldom specific for given rates of increase but ascribed to any continued rate?I the conclusion aim was no drew that the implied exponential at all. I therefore undertook to determine whether the growth population or advocated measures in official circles were population being pursued a fellow demographer described likely to achieve ZPG. Although prominent me as endorsed" the goal of ZPG,2 the question was having "vigorously measures succeed or fail? simply, if ZPG is the goal, will the being adopted The answer was independent of whether I or anyone else actually held that debate proved, ZPG or even NPG aim, but, as subsequent (negative popula was tion growth) indeed a common concerned among people aspiration about population growth. was that measures then current did not My conclusion provide popula tion control for any collective least of all for purpose, stability. population to Limited to and hence "family planning" couple control, about all they 15

population policies one that question,

then

effective

16 could

KINGSLEY DAVIS a modern soon reach

1960 and for example, the fifty industrial countries of the world increased their 1970, a rate that would 14 percent, it in less than fifty double by population years. As a class these countries had a more rapid increase after World War ever had before that. II than the countries underdeveloped For ZPG as a it was unfortunate that the concept first arose in the goal, as the exclusive context of a critique of family approach to popula planning tion policy. The powerful interests vested in this approach reacted by attack than family planning be ing not only the idea that other means might but also the goal of ZPG itself. Spokesmen for the population necessary, of foundations, international and government bureaus? programs agencies, to the assumption all committed is due to that the population problem unwanted births that is, by the who have them) and (unwanted, people that therefore the solution is to provide massive services?felt contraceptive Accused that their leadership had been challenged. either of not pursuing a that many of their ardent supporters had assumed they were pursuing goal or else of means to their own arguments and which seemed using imply, or to of reaching to that goal, they had either incapable deny the goal means. affirm the adequacy of the Actually, they began by doing both but us examine to the later yielded with reference ground, especially goal. Let
the arguments and counterarguments.

would be to help countries accomplish approaching condition reach an industrial level of fertility, a level they would is far above ZPG. Between level, however, anyway. An industrial

ZPG To

as a Goal declare

was

that ZPG was not the goal of existing population programs three leaders of Yet soon after the ZPG concept appeared, dangerous. not this declaration but went further to the population movement only made at least in the United that the family-planning States, is not say program, for limitation at all. "The federal program [of family planning] population has been advanced," control, but to improve they said, "not for population Others were less health and reduce the impact of poverty and deprivation."3 ZPG as a goal but painted its ad did not directly hasty. They repudiate
vocates as naive, unrealistic, or authoritarian. For instance, the uncertain

was used as a basis ZPG for criticism. By interpreting timing of ZPG as them of ZPG immediately, critics could accuse advocates demanding un who were enthusiasts ignorant of the science of demography being a child On with Americans the other embargo. threatening wittingly in the indefinite ZPG only sometime them as wanting hand, by interpreting were the inevitable. future, critics could say that they merely recommending These points are worth examining. a drastic reduction in fertility. ZPG would Immediate certainly require more than deaths, births societies have had their age Since existing

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH

17

to future births than it would structure is younger favorable and more for this fact, if instant ZPG were to be attained, otherwise be. To compensate on the have to reduce her fertility, each current young woman would was described in This prospect below her own replacement. average, terms: frightening Dr. Frejka warns that to achieve zero population growth immediately, it would be necessary for each family to limit itself to one child only for the next 20 years or so, with two-child families not permissible until after the year 2000.4 The U.S. would Commission Population create a regrettable cyclical said that the sudden drop in fertility.5 fluctuation in reproduction

This [ZPG] would not be possible without considerable disruption to society. . . . In a few years, there would be only half as many children as there are now. This on the would have disruptive effects on the school system and subsequently number of persons entering the labor force. . . .The overall effect would be that
of an accordion-like continuous expansion and contraction.

a U.S. excluded, Frejka found that, with migration Actually, population fixed from 1965 would birth rates during the next twenty require age-specific woman if experienced life, years which, by each during her reproductive an average of 1.2 children per woman. However, not all women would yield in the U.S. in 1960, some bear children. Among white women aged 35 to 39 never married or never borne a child. So, in Frejka's 15.5 percent had either each woman who did have a child could bear, on the fixed population, mean that could be reached if 60 percent had one 1.4 children?a average, ZPG does child and 40 percent had two. Put in these terms, instantaneous so not sound to society," the resulting As for "disruption frightening. in school-age children would be less than that actually fluctuation experi enced in the past. During the twenty years from 1950 to 1970 the number States shot up from 34.9 United of children aged 5 to 19 in continental a 70 to 59.5 million, In Frejka's increase. million percent hypothetical in 1965, the most drastic change in children of ZPG beginning calculations to 1990, of this age would be that of the twenty-five-year period from 1965 fall by 41.5 percent. when the number would Establishment In trying to discredit immediate ZPG, the Population a straw man, because ZPGers, so literal-minded, was scarcely arguing against to see ZPG achieved within their lifetime. But would have been happy ZPG not content with them over the head for wanting hitting presumably as well, the Establishment them for the opposite buffeted instantaneously, it in the indefinite said for supposedly future. "Zero growth," wanting a desirable in a it is the only possibility "is . . . not Notestein, goal; simply finite world. One cannot object to people who favor the inevitable."6 The answer to this was given by Judith Blake:7 manner of all sorts By this reasoning, the human effort to control the time and effort expended on postponing death, maintaining of inevitabilities?the houses,

18

KINGSLEY DAVIS

all pointless. The spokesmen for ZPG do not argue that a saving money?is world population will never come about without ZPG policy, but rather stationary
that, without directed effort, zero

have greatly increased over present levels, and perhaps of high mortality instead of fertility control.

growth

will

occur

only

after

human

numbers

then by the mechanism

ZPG advocates had in mind an "actual" A related question was whether refers or a "stable" zero rate. In the term "stable population" demography result if age-specific to the population that would fertility and eventually three ?r more constant rates remained (usually long enough mortality a fixed age structure, at which time the birth and ) to produce generations rates ( called "stable" or "intrinsic" rates ) would be different from the death is an abstract concerjt used, among current ones. The "stable population" rates inde to measure the import of current other things, age-specific a that is actually of the current age structure. Thus pendently population as to replace itself," at the moment described is sometimes "failing growing be produced that would because with the age structure by the eventually decline. would current birth and death rates, the population age-specific no is misleading; the stable population This usage, however, concept has of constant to the actual future for it rests on the assumption relevance rates, a situation which never comes about in reality. It is useful age-specific a stable population of a nongrowing to calculate the attributes (called with the demographic changes required "stationary population") together to reach it in given lengths of time, and this has often been done,8 but this an actual and the is different from calculating hongrowing population and death rates required to reach it in some given length birth age-specific of which kind of ZPG In any case, the question of time from the present. to those ZPGers who were not acquainted meant was at first confusing they overcame that hurdle. with technical demography. Soon, however, they two objections there were of ZPG, Apart from cavils about the timing it came about: that it would when to a nongrowing regardless of population a high and that it would economic interfere with produce development are worth examining. of aged persons. These arguments, both old, proportion is a good holds that some population The economic growth argument a bullish investment it of scale, promotes economies thing because provides for the young; but, as the economist and openings psychology, provides the more Enke pointed out, "the more grows slowly population Stephen can be accumulated of the labor force," and "only those per member capital and scarce can count on larger real incomes valuable who own something for the United simulation models as a result of growth."9 His population rate of unity from 1975 on would show that a net reproduction States trends. a than either of two higher growth higher per capita GNP yield One has only to look at history to see that slow population growth does nor does fast growth mean not mean economic prosperity. stagnation declined 1890 and 1940 Ireland's population Between yet by 16 percent,

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH during product

19

the real that period, according to figures compiled by Colin Clark,10 rose 99 percent, whereas in Great Britain, whose manhour per by was in the improvement grew by 42 percent, population only 62 product whose rose more than Britain's, had a percent. France, population slowly rate of rise in real times that of Britain. Sweden had product nearly three such a low that its cohorts born after 1885 were not replacing fertility after that time it had what is probably the most themselves,11 yet rapid economic rise and is now the richest country in If human pro Europe. is a function are of resources and technology, and if resources ductivity limited (as they indubitably are), the way to get a higher product?once has gone beyond the point of providing population adequate specializa to advance tion?is As Enke points out, and decrease technology population. the entire world is involved in a system of and trade; there specialization is no economy of s?ale to be gained from further increase. In population to India, Sweden is not impoverished virtue of the fact that comparison by is 68 times greater India's population and its average 9 times density is now the equal of Sweden's, so, if greater. Probably Japan's technology Sweden's per capita income is more than twice that of as the United Japan, Nations data for 1970 show, one reason may be that Japan's population as density is sixteen times great. an The other objection?that ZPG means voiced aged population?was as follows in 1968: A stationary population with an expectation of life of 70 years has as many ... A people over 60 as under 15. society with such an age structure is not likely to be receptive to change, and indeed would have a strong tendency towards
nostalgia and conservatism.12

there are three questions since "life ex here. First, involved Actually, can the age distribution is an average, of vary independently pectancy" that average? The answer is yes, because it is affected by the skew in deaths that in a stationary population for example, by age. Suppose, everybody died at exactly of the population 70. The proportion under age 15 age would be 21.4 percent, and over 60, 14.3 percent. Even assuming a probable distribution of deaths by age, would the age structure of a ZPG populatiqn be highly abnormal? Table 1 shows the age structure of the U.S. population under two assumptions?that and that it is reached ZPG starts immediately, sometime between 1995 and 2000. In either case, not only is the proportion less than that found in West Berlin now and close aged 65+ considerably to that found in Sweden, is to but the distribution favorable especially of the high proportion economic in the pro because of people production the age distribution ductive of a ZPG population "dis ages. Third, would seems to be no of the society"? Again no. There the normal workings rupt the age structure and political correlation outlook. The age dis between tribution of the USSR is very similar to that of the USA; socialist Sweden

20 has an older

KINGSLEY DAVIS

Some of the wildest than Falangist age structure Spain. schemes ever known have been advocated by lobbies of the elderly political as the Nazi movement in and some of the most atavistic movements (such were manned 1 shows, the South As Table youth. Germany) by dogmatic or West is much younger than that of Sweden African white population South Africans with progressive liberalism. but we do not associate Berlin, Table 1 The Age Structure of ZPG and Actual (Females Only) Population Date U. S. ZPG (Starting in 1965)u 1990 2015 2040 2065 Transitional (ZPG U. S. Reached by 1995-2000)1* 1980 2000
Actual Populations1*

Populations in Each Age Group 20-64 65+

Percentage 0-19

20.2 23.2 30.5 23.3

64.4 57.3 59.7 61.3

15.5 19.5 19.6 15.7

30.9 23.0 35.2 26.9 17.1 40.0 57.6

75.2 63.2 53.1 57.9 57.3 52.4 40.0

12.0 13.9 11.7 15.2 25.6 7.6 2.5

U. S. White Sweden West Berlin S. Africa White Honduras

1970 1970 1969 1965 1970

one industrial country in age structure is not between The big difference industrial and nonindustrial and another, with or without ZPG, but between in Table 1 by comparing countries. This Honduras with is demonstrated is in the In Honduras 40 percent of the other countries. the only population inWest in Sweden and 57 percent to 58 percent ages compared productive in the Berlin. ZPG would ages. place the highest proportion productive What has happened, then, to ZPG as a goal? In the end the Establish in the form of the U.S. ZPG as its ment, Commission, Population professed its immediate but without the term or endorsing attainment: goal, using Recognizing
advantages

that our population
of moving now

cannot grow
the

indefinitely,
of

and appreciating
population, the

the
Com

toward

stabilization

mission
ulation.16

recommends

that the nation welcome

and plan

for a stabilized

pop

in six years, but of This was a remarkable victory for the ZPG movement course consensus. it did not mean remained Much benign goal conflict to emerge only when means were considered. hidden,

ZERO

POPULATION

GROWTH

21

The Means
If ZPG were mon

to ZPG

the supreme aim, any means would be justified. By com the death rate is excluded; consent, however, also, reducing raising as the main is down. This leaves fertility reduction immigration played avenue. the past, had population been feared above all else, (In growth never have been reduced below births.) deaths would If then, the means to reduce births? Why not simply is birth limitation, why not take measures limit each couple The response to two births, with of the Population

to discourage three? sufficient penalties is that this would be Establishment has been used to lower death "compulsion." Although plenty of compulsion the right rates, it is not to be used to lower birth rates. On the contrary, to have the number of children they want has been declared by of couples leaders to be "a fundamental human right."17 policy What the aim is game protection, the this response? When lies behind conservationists do not proclaim each hunter's right to shoot as much game as he wants. When the goal is clean air, the authorities do not assert each to to put as many pollutants into the air as he person's right pleases. Why, achieve birth limitation, the right to have is it efficient to give each woman as many children as she wants? is The answer is that the diagnosed?like wrongly attributing problem as the anemia to excess blood and prescribing remedy. The blood-letting in behind the "freedom-to-choose" assumption emphasis population policy is that the population is a function of unwanted births and there problem to limit births, the have the means fore, if women problem will population be solved. But why make such a dubious in our unstated The assumption? key lies Our mores were formed when societies could survive only background. with a birth rate thrice that required by a modern death rate. Built into the are values, social order, that motivate norms, and incentives therefore, to bear and rear children. These cultural and institutional inherit people ances form the of our thinking. Respected leaders of society are premises not about to disavow so. Ac them, nor is the general public likely to do if one wants to be a what is strategically cordingly, required, population to reduce reproduction that appears without leader, is a formula policy the mores that support it. The formula is to the social offending interpret as an individual one and the solution as a matter. problem technological Thus "fertility control" becomes not by control by the woman, society; and a the means becomes this formula, medically contraceptive. By approved embraces research on the of reproduction policy (to population physiology find better contraceptives), of contraceptive diffusion services (to get the to the women), devices and propaganda about the use of contraceptives and about the right of each woman to have as many children as she wants. The only traditional attitude affronted by this formula is the belief that

22

KINGSLEY DAVIS

as indeed he did in most God forbids birth control, for good religions, reasons. This is not directly attacked the family belief, however, by but rather flanked by an ingenious of God's will. planners, concretizing Each woman, the family planners, should be free to choose a method say with her religious beliefs." Since God did not specifically forbid or the the contraceptive these should be but IUD, pill plastic acceptable; if they are not, some other method must be. to The respectability of this approach is reinforced population policy to health and medical not only by its appeal and its link with authority science but also by its preoccupation with par (reproductive physiology) im and children. enthood and "planned "Family planning" parenthood" feature the family. Nearly booklet depicts on every family-planning plicitly on the inside the front two radiantly happy offspring, and implies that every a concern concern main is her children, woman's that alone justifies her "consonant as tends to be characterized planning on Population The Committee of and/or "unacceptable" "compulsory." in Science for example, declared the Academy, that "Many 1968) (February . . ."This are to be of his [Davis'] arguments unlikely objection approved. all proposed social changes are initially unaccept is unassailable. Virtually If ZPG is the goal, "exist able, or else they would not need to be proposed. in char for they are pronatalist values" are not a help but a hindrance, ing and measures to them will not bring ZPG. For acter, entirely conforming can to stop population that reason measures growth cannot be found which in advance to be acceptable. to win acceptance, be guaranteed They have and this can be done only if the benefits of ZPG are demonstrated and the to reproduction in the old system exposed. In that case encouragements the public will incentive of the received accept modification system, it will never tolerate throwing away the entire institutional order although are concerned. In calling for approval insofar as family and children in movement the issues. The question the family-planning confuses advance, a of whether succeed is different from the question policy, if adopted, would it would be accepted. Clarity requires that the two of whether, if proposed, than family in practice, be kept analytically demonstration that a distinct; questions or would not be effective may influence its would policy My acceptability. is that, in the absence of clear analysis, family planning was ac judgment as it conformed to social because ceptable population precisely policy sentiments and had not been challenged. so much the "voluntarism" Ironically, by the Population emphasized if consistently A regime would be unacceptable. Establishment,18 advocated, in would of complete freedom be anarchy. It would dissolve reproduction social mechanisms incest, rape, child kinship eliminate rules against ensuring parental responsibility, and desertion, and wipe out obligations based on abuse, a thus making of "family and marriage, The mockery planning." limiting Any their number. other means

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH tenet of the
freedom and

23 to women and men
. . ."19?is not

family-planning
means to determine

approach?"to
the number

extend
of

the
a

children.

for any social control, much control. less population prescription the anarchy of pure voluntarism has recently tricked the Interestingly, into its most dangerous Establishment brushes with unaccept Population ability. Pressed by critics that its stand against abortion and its preoccupa tion with married women its violated of freedom, the movement principle to an endorsement switched of legal abortion and teenage contraception. With of the Population affirmed Commission respect to abortion, a majority that women of abortion
sultation with

should be free to determine their own fertility, [and] that the matter should be left to the conscience of the individual concerned, in con
her physician. . . .20

is the the woman's husband only authority figure mentioned physician; is ignored. This one factor in the is doubtless of marriage undermining unexpected strength of the public reaction against liberalized abortion laws. With that recommended respect to unmarried teenage girls, the Commission information and services abor ( and presumably they receive contraceptive tion) without regard to parents. to expect It is paradoxical to attain social control over one thing by it with respect to all else. all previous social controls abandoning Abolishing over sexual behavior, and pregnancy without abortion, any new putting ones in their will not give the nation or the world control. place population It may reduce the birth rate through venereal and sterility, or disease or for pregnancy, through distaste through increased mortality by violence and neglect, but it will not, except by accident, lead to a socially desirable the public may be bamboozled in for a while, target. Although population the long run it is likely to conclude if is the price of that, anarchy popula tion control, the price is too high. A social goal is not attained the members of a society irre by making but by them responsible. The fact that in many ways the sponsible, making old social order does not make social order per se reproduction encouraged the enemy. The social order exercised restraint on considerable European but it did so by rather than denying If childbearing, affirming obligations. a new order control under conditions of low capable of providing population is to be forged, it will come in no other way than mortality by social regula tion of rights and obligations with respect to childbearing. II If it is true that the Establishment has espoused ZPG but Population to to include abortion, (broadened sterilization, clung family planning as the means and teenage services and sex education) for reaching it, there are two events Have demographic to questions: proved the Establishment be right? If they have not, what additional means may be necessary?

The

has

24

KINGSLEY DAVIS

Recent Population Trends and Population Policy
In the last few years in birth rates have given heart declines spectacular In the United of the movement. to the leaders States, for ex population women in 1957, then to 44 reached a ample, the births per 1000 aged 15 peak was fell until, in 1972, the rate only 60 percent of the 1957 figure. This has elation that our fertility has reached, or fallen slightly led to widespread a are now rate. 2.04 children per below, averaging replacement "Couples in March, said the Population Crisis Committee 1973, "which is family," the Committee rate." However, knew that below the 2.11 child replacement zero in the "stable not in the actual, this meant growth only population," for some 70 years, U.S. population sense, for it added: "If this rate continues is no likelihood whatever stabilize or even decline would slightly." There for 70 years, and there that a fertility rate found in one year will continue is no way to find out what it will in fact do. To know how many children " are one would have to follow to the end of their couples averaging "couples take too long. A way to get some indica reproductive period, which would to is to ask young tion in advance they intend people how many children in June, 1972. the Census Bureau This was done most have. recently by to the conclusion The expectations, the lowest on record, led the Bureau women 18 to 24 years old in 1972 might their childbearing that "complete 're with an average of about 2.1 births per woman [which] approximates "21The have level fertility.' only trouble is that since expectations placement in the future. Indeed, in the past, they may change the current changed influenced by the nihilistic cohorts of young people may have been unduly mood of the period from 1964 to 1972; the new ones coming along may be more favorable is suggested by actual fertility to the family. This possibility
trends.

in the United In the decline States after 1957, the lowest of fertility in July of 1972, when rate was reached the seasonally adjusted monthly rate (births per 1000 women aged 15 to 44) was 68.2. In general fertility the nine later months for which data are available, the rate has been slightly is what one would in all Such a change of direction expect, because higher. a strongly the birth rate since 1920 has exhibited countries industrial in the twenty-one of these countries for which character. Also, cyclical 1970 recent data are available, the trend in the crude birth rate between and 1971 was, on the average, upward. birth rate was particularly The drop in the American sharp between 1970 and 1972, when the new state abortion laws came into effect. Liberal laws permit women who become through carelessness, pregnant an or desire to get married to offend a boyfriend, opportunity unwillingness to remedy their mistake. This effect is limited, however, and of itself cannot new a downward pressure on fertility. The main effect of the keep exerting two or three years the cyclical to postpone abortion laws was probably by rise in American fertility. abortion

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH

25

at present countries Not only are industrial far from a zero rate of from numbers natural of migrants increase, but they are receiving large the countries. Thus in the United the less developed States in 1972, when at its lowest ebb, the birth rate was increased 1,628,000 by population than deaths and of whom derived from more births 1,290,000 people, As long as the less developed two-thirds of the 338,000 from net migration. to increase its at a rapid rate, the pressure on continues world population enormous. Are the developed third to receive massive immigration will be to bring ZPG in the latter countries? official policies likely countries The spectacular decline of birth rates in many less developed as evidence of successful is For example, taken frequently policy. population in eight countries (Ceylon, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Fiji, Jamaica, Taiwan, 1960 and 1970, the crude birth rate fell, on the and Trinidad), between as is usual in average, by 27 percent. However, citing such statistics, these in countries were selected because their data are reasonably reliable, general are more advanced that on the whole which means than most under they on the verge of It is precisely in such countries?those countries. developed oc in the fastest declines urban-industrial?that becoming fertility have are curred. This suggests that the declines caused by changing social being and economic conditions rather than by family-planning In fact, it policy. seems to make little difference whether the country has a major family or not, or, if it does have one, when it In Taiwan, planning program began. where there is a much publicized program, quasi-official family-planning the birth rate dropped between 1960 and 1970, but in by 29 percent there is no such program, the birth rate fell from almost Trinidad, where in Taiwan the same level by 38 percent. Furthermore, the family exactly not get started until 1964, before which time the drop planning program did in fertility was that official already rapid. It is hard to escape the conclusion of the sort being around the world have little to do with programs adopted the trend of birth rates. To be sure, most of the decline is due to the use of contraception, to and sterilization, but the public, if it wishes abortion, limit births, will find a way to get the means; if it does not wish to limit for providing services will lead it to do so. births, no official program even when If family-planning as they broadened somewhat policies, have been in the last few years, are not likely to about ZPG, then bring and more drastic measures may be additional to required. Before hastening such measures, however, we might first make an attempt to rethink imagine the problem.

The Nature of Population Policy
The hypothesis must be entertained is that the goal of population policy too weak?that if the goal were the means would be found. strong enough, If this is so, the reason may be that does not have population growth or that are serious consequences, or of those consequences, people ignorant

26 that to eliminate

KINGSLEY DAVIS

too much sacrifice of population growth would require are the most likely. hunch is that the last two explanations things. My of being solved, the From the standpoint problem has three population at strikes against it. First, it refers to a condition of the community large. or on the con It is not a disaster like drug addiction bankruptcy; personal an of personal satisfaction. that Second, it is a problem trary, it is outgrowth and therefore never reaches a sudden crisis. Unlike war, evolves slowly famine, fuel shortage, or political scandal, it does not appear at a particular moment instant action. Third, it is not a problem "out there" in and demand like crop disease or soil deficiency, the external world, to be dealt with by other of The overabundant is composed population are the is always themselves the solution problem, people. people are one and the same. difficult, because subject and object were it would have been solved If the problem easily soluble, population a century ago. in 1850 anyone could see that the revolution By productive more resources. to manage fewer people enabled Instead of technology them this fact and limiting population utilizing growth, thereby providing selves with a Utopian level of living with little effort, the Europeans used to support more it the world's most became overwhelmingly people. Europe to overrun whole settled continent and, in turn, sent out migrants densely came into contact with modern new continents. As other peoples technology, As a instead of decreasing their numbers. they too eventually multiplied is now in the preposterous situation of using an the human result, species a to maintain advanced extremely nearly four billion people at technology the world level of living while of its resources, con low average stripping its water, soil, and air, and driving most other species into ex taminating or domestication. tinction, parasitism, It is now too late to "solve" the world's population that problem. Much or wasted can never be restored. To reach without mass has been destroyed the small population with a scientific technology will compatible slaughter centuries is being discussed of negative require population growth. What now is not a solution but an amelioration. in the way even of Standing are the same however, interests, and conflicts that pre amelioration, myths, vented a solution in the first place. Man has been shrewd enough to figure out the process of evolution it. The process but not wise enough to master to whatever has two principles: animal can breed first, the world belongs faster than it dies; and second, the world never belongs very long to one if it were animal. The human race could escape being a victim of evolution to forego being its darling, but this it has not done, at least up to the willing and When technology.
present.

science

as a Recent history suggests, however, that ZPG is gaining strength goal. If so, what are the reasons? Whatever are, they are to a large extent they and undesired from the unplanned feedbacks human multiplication since billion people World War II?1.5 added to the in twenty-eight population

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH

27

in and with with growth years. This has led to disenchantment general as a in economic the because endeavor, growth goal of human particular double multiplier?more times more goods per person?is people obviously and fossil fuels faster than either multiplier stripping the world of its metals alone would the world more unpleasant and incon do, and also making as a venient to live. As normally measured, is income per capita place an index of the exchange to a point, system. Up simply activity entering it bears some relation to satisfaction, but as population and tech density of human increase, an ever larger proportion complexity nological exchange is devoted the consequences of a high level of activity simply to escaping are to view this, people activity. Sensing exchange coming population as a not because it restrains economic growth problem, activity but because it makes its effects worse. If there were they only 25 million Americans, would not have to put antismog devices on their cars. Their "level of living" would therefore be lower, because this "economic activity" (making and not be added to the economy. would installing antismog devices) is The onus of from those who want ZPG or NPG to shifting proof those who do not. Formerly, to be justified population stability had by calamities that would result from continued future citing population that view, it is taken for granted growth. Now, with a more sophisticated are not distant but here and now. Also, the calamities it was once con sidered inhuman to object to people; now the sheer frustration of dealing is readily with people the crush?to The effort to escape acknowledged. escape the city in the suburbs, to escape the suburbs in a second home in to escape vacationers the country, in the attest the desire countryside?all to escape from of people too, a nongrowing people. Formerly, population was as abnormal; of now, with wider regarded knowledge demographic it is realized that ZPG is normal and that the in the last history, growth two centuries is abnormal. The only abnormal about ZPG as now thing is that it would be achieved with low rather than with proposed high birth and death rates, which its detractors is why stress the small families, the older age structure, and the social and economic difficulties that alleged would result from those features.

How
The

to Attain ZPG

unconscious that is a assumption solving the population problem matter has a curious for the He technological consequence demographer. is with the told, "Tell us what can be done about population," constantly that if he cannot come up with a answer, he is a implication satisfactory It is of no importance failure. that the has demographer already made are brushed These aside as not suggestions. being practical. The demand is for "a solution that will work." What is is some myste being demanded rious "key" to can unlock the door limitation, which population painlessly

28 and quickly. If only enough if only the right disciplines
covered."

KINGSLEY DAVIS is put into research, the money thinking goes, are to bear, the solution will be "dis brought

The truth is that there is no mystery about population control. There no is because the technological part is simple. special "technique" required, want to control it can be done with If population, already people knowledge available. As with other social problems, the solution is easy as long as one pays no attention to what must be a nation given up. For instance, ZPG could shut off immigration and permit each couple a maxi seeking mum of two children, with possible state license for a third. Accidental the limit would be interrupted If a beyond pregnancies by abortion. or a fourth, the mother would third child were born without be license, sterilized and the child given to a sterile couple. But anyone enticed into as a or moral such a suggestion risks being ostracized making political a to society. He is accused of wanting to take free danger people's leper, over dom away from them and institute a Draconian private dictatorship lives. Obviously, freedom still takes priority over popu then, reproductive a solution of the lation control. This makes problem population impossible are freedom control and reproductive because, definition, by population are so concerned with in connection freedom people to murderers, Freedom has always been denied rapists, too many children were as great and armed thieves. If having considered a crime as murder, rape, and thievery, we would have no against humanity it would about "taking freedom the be defined Indeed, away." qualms a person around: four or more children would other way be having as the freedom of those other citizens who must regarded violating help and feeding the excess children. The reason pay for rearing, educating, freedom is still regarded as "a basic human right" regard why reproductive is of course that it accords with traditional sentiments less of circumstances are it will be recalled, institutions. These, pronatalist. as antinatalist freedom can be construed Reproductive only to the degree the built-in that it undermines of the old system, compulsions profertility as I have noted, are not felt to be compulsions however, which, ordinarily is called to them. until attention is not a Thus the "population It is not problem. technological problem" is universally of which and the solu the definition agreed upon something awaits only the discovery of an effective means. It is not tion to which or wheat rust. It is a social the sense that it in fever like yellow problem a conflict of wants. want families and children. If they involves People it would be technologically families and children, did not want easy to and established satisfy them. But they do want families and children. That being the case, are not whole hearted control. They do not want about population they to avoid it either, but they want runaway population growth painlessly. incompatible. however, Why, with reproduction?

ZERO POPULATION GROWTH 29 a solution that leaves They want if they wish. In short, they want them their freedom a miracle. to have five children

References 1. Kingsley November Davis, 10, J. Coale, "Population Policy: 1967, pp. 730-739. "Should the United Will Current Programs Succeed?" Science, 158,

2. Ansley

States

34 (October-December Index, Population to the address Association Population in the United States. demographers 3. Oscar Harkavy, Frederick S. Jaffe, and

a for Fewer Births?" Campaign ), 467. This was Coale's presidential of America, the organization of professional Start 1968

Samuel

M.

Wishik,

Public Policy: Who
4. Robin Elliott, Lynn Growth

isMisleading Whom?"
C. Landman, and

"Family

Planning

and

Science, 165, July 25, 1969, p. 367.

Richard and Theodore "U.S. Lincoln, Tsuoroka, A Review of the Literature," Family Planning: Family of the Planned Parenthood Federation of (the magazine Perspectives Planning v. The 2 is to Tomas reference "Reflections America), (October 1970), Frejka, on the a U.S. Conditions Needed to Establish Demographic Stationary Population 22 (November Growth," Studies, 1968). Population Population of the Commission Government on Population Office,

5. Population and the American Future, Report Growth and the American Future (Washington,

D.C.:

1972), p. 110.
W.

Printing

6. Frank

Notestein,

"Zero

Population

Growth,"

December
7. Judith Blake,

Population

Index,

36

(October

1970), 444.
"Reply to Notestein," ibid., p. 456.

8. See Frejka, "Reflections on the Demographic
U.S. Stationary Population Growth";

Conditions Needed
"Zero U.S. the

to Establish
Growth?

a

When,
Census

How
Bureau,

Stephen

Enke,

and Why?"
"Illustrative Effects

Population

Socio-Economic

Planning Science, 5
for Projections to Zero Growth," Current

(1971),

263; U.S.
States: The Re

Demographic

Population of Alternate Paths

United

ports, Series P-25, No. 480 (April 1972).
9. Stephen Enke, Clark, "Zero U.S. The Conditions Population Growth," p. 263. Progress, 3d ed.

Population

10. Colin

of Economic

(London:

Macmillan,

1960), Ch. 3.
11. "Cohorts of Swedish women born after 1885

have

not

Bernhardt, Trends and Variations in Swedish Fertility: A Cohort Study (Stockholm:
Statistiska 12. Coale, This 13. Frejka, Stationary 14. Calculated 15. United Centralbyran, "Should statement the was United paraphrased on the 1971), p. 159. Start in a for Fewer Births?" Campaign p. 471. and the American Future, p. 62. Conditions Needed to Establish a U.S. States

reproduced

themselves."

Eva

Population

"Reflections Population

Growth,"

Demographic p. 379. and

in International Nations, Demographic

Population Yearbook,

Urban and

Research 1971.

by

Sarah

Tsai.

1970

30
16. Population Human behalf of and the American

KINGSLEY DAVIS
Future, p. 143; see also p. 75. Secretary-General on population state of twelve that human of "the U Thant welcomed

17. On on

Day, Rights the United

December, a Nations

1966, statement

circulated countries

Rockefeller signed number

of 3rd and signed by the heads of state). It stressed heads by thirty is a basic and of children spacing must accord the is a basic in the human

opportunity U Thant's right." to determine

by John D. in 1967, (later, to decide the welcoming the number

"We added, message and spacing of children 18. This emphasis "In Future, p. 78: are to ( 1 ) maximize children other been are values mainly is seen

right right."

parents

statement in Population the American and following . . . the to of our recommendations goals regard childbearing information and knowledge about and human reproduction

its implications for the family;
raised; those pronatalist thereby the Foreign (3) legal, neutralize social,

(2)
and

improve the quality of the setting in which
insofar as it is practicable and that consistent with institutional pressures individuals enable realize of their have historically to avoid unwanted

childbearing, 19. Office Growth 20. of

enhancing

in character; and (4) their ability National Press,

to

preference." Rapid Population

Secretary, Johns Hopkins

Academy 1971), p. 93.

Sciences,

(Baltimore: and current the

Population context of tion eds. York: Howard Harper

American discussion

and Our

Reluctant and Joy and Row,

an in the of abortion Future, p. 103. For analysis see and legal decisions, "Elective Abor Blake, Judith on Public in the United Research States," Citizenry: Opinion in the United Abortion States (New Experience Osovsky, forthcoming). Fertility: June 1972," Current Population Reports, Series

21.

"Birth

Expectations

and

P-20, No. 248 (April 1973), 5-6.