The Real Victims

Rich people’s neurosis is killing children in the third world but nobody cares because it’s profitable and convenient.

I saw a snippet of MSNBC coverage where some rich, smug fucktard announced that many of the people who traveled for Christmas will be dead by the end of January. I don’t hate him because he’s trying to make a a quick buck with this grift. But I do have deeply negative feelings towards the people who don’t switch the TV off after hearing something like this. Being brainwashed is a choice, and this choice I can’t respect.

18 thoughts on “The Real Victims”

  1. I think that it is about time everyone had a good hard conversation about the fact that most poor nations are poor because those who live there have more children than either they or the place in which they live can support. Economic shocks etc are merely precipitants, no matter where or why they arise.

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    1. Ummmm…. last time I checked, the main reason people had a ton of children was because they couldn’t be sure of any of them surviving to adulthood, and the main reason for countries to be poverty-ridden is government corruption. Has that changed this year?

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      1. Agreed. I know sometimes people have lots of kids so there are “spares” in case a few die. It used to be a big deal for a kid to survive past 5 years, because so many would get sick with things for which there was no ready treatment. Also if you live on a farm you want lots of kids so you don’t have to hire out. Hiring people can get more expensive, especially if room and board and food is required, as well.

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      2. “the main reason people had a ton of children”

        Historically, the main reason people had a lot of children was because of a lack of any effective contraception methods.

        Also, many poor countries have a very large Catholic population, and the Church has always done its part by telling them that it was a mortal sin to make any effort to prevent pregnancy during intercourse.

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        1. Contraception and abortion were very widely used until urbanization. It’s a mistake to believe that they are recent. There was a lot of abortion in medieval Spain, Catholic Church notwithstanding.

          And it didn’t change much afterwards. I’m currently reading an autobiography of a woman who got pregnant during the Franco dictatorship, went to the OB-GYN to have it confirmed, and was immediately offered abortion.

          People in poor countries have a lot of children because that’s the meaning of life for them. When Indira Gandhi tried to promote vasectomy to control population, the very poor people she was targeting took it as an enormous insult.

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          1. “People in poor countries have a lot of children because that’s the meaning of life for them.”

            Since Ukraine is practically the poorest country in Europe and has a birth rate well below replacement, I’m going to say that I don’t agree with this.

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            1. It’s probably more accurate to say rural people tend to have large families. Most poor countries are largely rural. Ukraine is unusual in having so many people live in apartments.

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        2. Pre-effective-contraception cultures widely practiced infanticide. If they had a lot of offspring (past the first week, that is), it was because they intended to have them.

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      3. “Ummmm…. last time I checked, the main reason people had a ton of children was because they couldn’t be sure of any of them surviving to adulthood, and the main reason for countries to be poverty-ridden is government corruption. Has that changed this year?”

        The idea that a person who is in poverty should have extra children to make sure that at least some of those children survive for the sake of themselves/the continuation of their line/whatever is using the same logic as a person setting up a ponzi scheme to ensure their own wellbeing. It is selfish in the extreme.

        The only difference between overpopulating an already overpopulated country and a ponzi scheme is that the former makes new members while the latter recruits them.

        As for corruption, corruption thrives in either ignorance or indifference. It cannot withstand an educated population that self corrects for it.

        Excessive breeding depletes resources or diverts them away from education, which creates ignorance, and overwhelms many individuals, which fosters indifference. So, excessive breeding creates the conditions for corruption, which them reinforces both excessive breeding and corruption.

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        1. Yeah, I’m sure that makes perfect sense to someone living without a stable currency, no shot at a pension, and facing starvation as soon as they’re too old or infirm to work. Yeah, wanting a kid whose fire you can sit by in your dotage is sooooo selfish. They’d clearly be better off adopting your enlightened attitude. In fact, we should probably all just go and kill ourselves for the good of the planet. I mean, Americans use more resources than any other people on earth– everyone would be better off without us, right? (/sarcasm)

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          1. “Yeah, wanting a kid whose fire you can sit by in your dotage is sooooo selfish. ”

            I replied to your post, in which you used the words ‘a ton of kids’. In my reply to you, I said that having extra kids was selfish, because it is. At no time did I say ‘don’t have kids at all’, since the sense of my words is that people should be reasonable.

            What seems reasonable to me is that people who live in a terrible country that is overpopulated should aim to have fewer children than the replacement rate, which means fewer than 2.1 per woman. So, logically, women should aim for one child, or at absolute most (preferably not), two.

            By way of reference, in the Phillipines, the rate of children per woman in urban areas is 2.8, and in rural areas, 3.8. In Africa, some countries have an average of more than 5.

            By the way, speaking of overpopulated Phillipines, I know people who brag that they can go to the Phillipines and murder street kids if they want to. I know of others who don’t brag, who go there to sexually abuse them instead. Everywhere on the net you can find example of elderly men who go there to buy a carer/nurse by marrying a very poor girl who is 20 or 30 years younger than they are.

            The way I see it, it is much better for people to voluntarily have only one or two children for the sake of everyone living somewhat reasonably, rather than overdoing it and guaranteeing perpetual misery.

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            1. It’s like you totally skipped the part where if you only have one kid in such a place, there’s only a middling chance they’ll survive to adulthood. Plus, in rural areas you need the farm labor. This is the reason why birthrates go down in prosperous countries: most of them survive, and they’re not financial assets anymore. Ergo, if you want to decrease birthrates, what you should work for is peace and good government. The rest will happen on its own.

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              1. “It’s like you totally skipped the part where if you only have one kid in such a place, there’s only a middling chance they’ll survive to adulthood.”

                No I didn’t. Life expectancy in Asia, and the world average, has reached the same level achieved by the USA and Europe about twenty years ago. Being born in Asia today – even in a terrible nation like the Phillipines for this sort of thing – gives you a similar chance of life as someone living in a place like Utah or London in the year 1995 or 2000. I don’t think that anyone on this page can say with a straight face that life back in the late 90s when Keanu Reeves was filming that movie ‘The Matrix’ was terrible. Here, look for yourself:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#/media/File:Life_expectancy_by_world_region,_from_1770_to_2018.svg

                The same has happened for infant mortality btw. As of today, infant mortality in the Phillipines is the same as what it was in Canada and Australia in about 1960-1965 or so.

                “Plus, in rural areas you need the farm labor.”

                Giving birth to more children than the world can handle so that you can live on a farm is selfish. There are other choices.

                “This is the reason why birthrates go down in prosperous countries: most of them survive, and they’re not financial assets anymore. Ergo, if you want to decrease birthrates, what you should work for is peace and good government. The rest will happen on its own.”

                No. They’re surviving already, as the link above shows. Study after study has shown that an increase in education results in a decrease in birth rates. Naturally, increased education also reduces ignorance, which then puts downward pressure on corruption etc.

                So, the logical and reasonable thing to do is aim at having one child only, with a maximum of two (preferably not), while putting childbirth off for the sake of getting an education.

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              2. You do realize it takes a couple of generations for the many-kids pattern to setttle into the few-kids-with-prosperity pattern, and that this happens very, very consistently, right?

                You don’t actually have to guilt people into it by being a supercilious do-gooder telling everyone else what’s good for them. It just happens. All by itself. After a small (historically speaking) lag. As for what “the world” can handle… that’s a load of hooey. It’s always about what local conditions can handle, and the best people to judge that are the people who live with those conditions, not people living comfortably and energy-intensively in first-world countries. When people like us try to tell the third world what they should be doing for the good of the world, what that rightly sounds like is “I think you should have fewer kids because it’s more important for me to use the world’s limited resources to commute to work, run my electric dryer, and enjoy air conditioning, than for you to have kids to support you in your old age.”

                The day you have reduced your resource footprint to less than the worldwide per-capita median, maybe you have room to talk about what other people should be doing to benefit “the world.” Until then I’m only interested in what you think you should do to benefit the world.

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            2. “So, logically, women should aim for one child, or at absolute most (preferably not), two.”

              Practically speaking, what do you advise women to do in these terrible countries if they’re married off as teenagers (or younger), lack access to reliable contraception, can’t turn their husbands down for sex (either they’re subjected outright to marital rape or told they’ll go to hell or be divorced/abandoned if they don’t sexually submit to their husbands and have many children), whose husbands refuse to use condoms, etc. Even when women truly want only one or two kids, they aren’t having kids through parthogenesis, so simply aiming at a certain # of kids – how does one accomplish these aims practically? (I mean, I know women from certain cultures who escaped arranged marriages and have either avoided marriage entirely or married men of a more modern outlook, and they currently have fewer kids.)

              Also, if a message of “have only one child” is promoted in certain cultures, it will almost certainly mean a male child will be greatly preferred. We’re already seeing this in various parts of the world.

              Examining the beliefs of a culture, looking at social class and religious background, is critical. It’s not only about practicalities, like farm labor or support in old age, though I agree with another commenter here that among people who are more prosperous, birth rates on average do go down.

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              1. @ hkatz:

                “Practically speaking, what do you advise women to do in these terrible countries if…”

                I wouldn’t advise them to do anything, because a person like that is in a practically hopeless situation.

                That kind of thing is beyond the power of an individual to control which means that responsibility falls on the state, or on entities fit to interface with the state (ie large NGO’s who are tasked to meet goals of eliminating things like forced/underage marriage/marital rape), as well as on religious institutions etc.

                “Also, if a message of “have only one child” is promoted in certain cultures, it will almost certainly mean a male child will be greatly preferred. We’re already seeing this in various parts of the world.”

                Again, that kind of thing can only be dealt with at the state level, through things like incentives and proper corrective measures etc. Eg education, plus parents of female babies to receive some kind of benefit, plus severe punishments for infanticide.

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  2. I don’t buy monocausal explanations of almost any social phenomenon. People are weird and complex at the individual level and that just gets weirder and more complex at the societal level.

    There are lots of reasons that people in poor societies have lots of children from the point of view of the more affluent.
    These range from the more biological (mating drive) to more social (wanting care in old age) and lots of steps in-between.

    What’s odd isn’t that poor societies have many children but that affluent societies so successfully override so many presumably hard-wired human responses so that children represent a disruption of life and not its essence and continuation. That’s biological alienation…

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    1. True. I wonder if a simplified answer might lie in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, the last need that is not universally met in a society looms large. For example, in poor societies (think rural Africa), the concerns of safety and mere survival are unsolved and dictate most of an individual’s actions. The reproductive biological imperative falls under the 1st row in the hierarchy of needs. In contrast, in an affluent western society, those are considered a given, and Westerners are focused on self-actualization (5th and final row in the pyramid), which is, indeed, quite far removed from the biological imperative, but the modern marriage/atomic family are aligned and shaped in service of this particular need. When a society reaches “second-world” status, the concept of extended family is still strong but education and professional aspirations rise in importance (3rd and 4th row in Maslow’s pyramid), we start seeing decreased fecundity.

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