Transformation and internationalization Internationally the first thing, which gave a boost to the population control movement was the (many times forced) withdrawal of previous European colonial powers from the Third World and very interestingly the decline of concern over population issues in Europe on the basis of neo-Malthusian quality concerns. This shift was related to the restructuring of global hierarchies among the top countries.
European powers lost most of their colonies between the 1940s and the 1960s and at the same time they were preoccupied with their own social and economic problems. This led to a decline of interest in international demographic concerns at least till the mid 1960s and 1970s. This gave a greater room for maneuver for the formulation of an American international aid policy and experts working for them.
Also in Europe as a result of Nazi extremist neo-Malthusian policies there was a rather widespread denunciation of direct intervention into demographic processes. This resulted in marginalization of eugenic quality ideals at least on the level of declared policies. At the same time European countries faced a lack of labor forces and the low demographic growth pushed some of them into policies of "inviting" guest workers from North Africa and Turkey as a replacement of previous European immigrants. This re-established a link between population policy and immigration policy. The new immigration policy in the beginning (till the early 70s) was not accompanied any kind of a neo-Malthusian selection policy as the incomers were seen as temporary male guests, who would go home after spending some time in Europe. This changed after the early 1970s when more and more a selective (quality oriented) immigration policy was set up to stop unwelcome Third World nationals who came in the form of family reunification or as refugees and were attracted by opportunities of exploitative jobs (Sassen 1999).
Eastern Europe per se with their pro-natalist and pro labor force increase policies were out of international demographic concerns till the 1970s. Thus, for a while Europe was somewhat out of actively pursuing an international population control reform movement. This, as many other things were left for the Americans and ideas and institutions came back to Europe from America only during the 1970s.
The globalization and the international institutionalization of neo-Malthusianism and population control depended on two conditions. First there was a need for a clear theory of population development not only in the sense of diagnosing "overpopulation" in certain regions of the world, but also showing a way out of this "problem". This theoretical background was the demographic transition theory and most importantly its change in the late 1940s. The second condition was related to the above theoretical developments. The need for an overall population theory was embedded into the creation of international organizations for managing food, health, security, energy and financial issues. Population issues were seen as part of the agenda of these organizations to assure international stability and to counterbalance the rise of communism. (Withworth, 1994 86-87) These efforts were related to formulating new international policies of the United States with regard to the decolonising world. Population control seemed to be such a method, which fitted well into the cold war policy of dominating the world without actually, administratively colonizing the previous colonies. This was the key of the rise of population control movement in the 1950s and probably this is the key of its decline from the 1980s.
The demographic transition theory has been much discussed not only as a very successful modernization theory in terms of influence and popularity but also as an ideological tool. The most important point is that that the modernization theory was changed from a theory of describing long-term trends and understanding population development as being dependent on social development into a theory instructing direct intervention. This change was closely related to the rise of communism in China and Vietnam (Szreter 1993, Melegh, 2006, Greenhalgh 1996). Its racist underpinning appears in the idealization of societies and social groups practicing lower fertility and in their portrayal as the most "advanced" (and the target) in individualism, urbanization and social growth as opposed to everybody else being on a lower level of social development and prescribed demographic changes (lower mortality and fertility). Also the Malthusian inclination of this theory is clear in the target scenario, but it is important to note that originally in the works of its American fathers, Thompson and Notestein the theory relied on anti-Malthusian perspectives in arguing that not the "laws" of population growth are the starting points but social change leading to demographic changes. (Melegh 2001, Sen 1994).
This anti-Malthusian basis was given up gradually during the 1940s. This change in ideas was linked to the rise of the hegemonic power of the United States during the Second World War and its aftermath. This takeover required a clear-cut answer to the policies of the previous colonial powers and the fights against them (Vietnam, China, India etc.). It was clear for most supporters of the population control ideals and to demographers that the United States was to overtake the handling of these issues. In addition among intellectuals and academics in the United States there was a rising awareness of a superpower role with all its "responsibilities". In this respect it is worthwhile quoting the political conclusion of a meeting in 1944 referred to below:
Colonial systems, formal and otherwise, in which the mother country endeavors to retain the colony primarily as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods stimulate population growth without reducing the potentialities for future population growth. The influence of the United States should be exerted against the reestablishment of such systems where they have broken down and toward their alteration where they exist. The upheavals of the war, and the strong stand already taken on freedom of access to raw materials and markets offer an opportunity in that direction. (Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton Box no. FW.1).
The creation and the revisal of the demographic transition theory was part of the development of this new understanding of the United States in international relations. Frank Notestein, the acknowledged father of the demographic transition theory developed the full version of the theory, while he worked for the US State Department (Territorial Group Council on Foreign Relations) and he presented it at the founding meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The minutes of one meeting in January 1944, with regard to the demographic development on "colonial" territories and post-war arrangements foreshadow the later separation of the societies into "advanced nations" and "dependent people" and the concomitant neo-Malthusian interventionist ideals. This time (in a paternalistic and Eurocentric way) Notestein pointed out clearly that only social development can bring about a real reduction of fertility. :
Improvement in this situation is slow to develop, because it has so happened that the advanced nations have tended to transfer to dependent peoples that part of their culture, which reduces mortality, but they have not disseminated the complementary cultural developments, which tend to bring about a rational control of fertility. …
The dissemination of birth-control information, while of undoubted use in reducing population growth, would not meet the needs of these colonial populations. Therefore, the only lasting solution is one, which would bring about a reduction of growth potential.
Continuing, Mr. Notestein pointed out that in all probability a reduction of growth potential can only be brought about by education, urbanization, and a gradual increase in the standard of living (Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton Box no. FW.1). This social developmental ideal remains one facet of this non-colonial approach, but the racist (differentiating) structures almost determined that the idea of social development bringing about demographic changes and that there is no need to intervene directly into demographic processes (most notably fertility) was soon to be forgotten. This push toward direct intervention was anti-communism as the problem was that some of these dependent people dared, or tried, to choose a path differing not only from the colonial past, but also a "tolerable" capitalist development.
The reworking of global hierarchies after the Second World War crucially determined the fate of the population control movement and it changed the above amalgam of control ideas and techniques substantially. Rising communism was a powerful opponent of the neo-Malthusian policies in the sense that countries opting for this political system did not follow anti-natalist ideals and they even represented this on international levels. Marxism always portrayed Malthusian and neo-Malthusian??? Ideals, as something, which (wrongly) transformed social inequalities into differences of demographic behavior. Thus Malthusians and neo-Malthusians focused on changing demographic behavior instead of changing social relationships and the ways resources were used socially. Communist states reacted to neo-Malthusian policies for instance in the Population Commission of the United Nations by arguing that social reorganization is the way ahead in any tension between population and economic development. The Yugoslavian and Ukrainian delegate went like this in 1947
I would consider it barbaric for the Commission to contemplate a limitation of marriages or of legitimate births, and this for any country whatsoever, at any period whatsoever. With an adequate social organization it is possible to face any increase in population (Name is not given, cited by Petersen 1988, 93). Cruelly, you [Western demographers] intend to adjust the population to the economy, while we Communists want to adjust the economy to the population (Name is not given cited by Petersen, 1988, 93).
This opposition was in some sense in line with the above analyzed prewar pro-natalist reactions in and outside Europe to the neo-Malthusian understanding of population development and this Marxist criticism foreshadowed the later "anti-imperialist" opposition to population control ideals not only in Eastern Europe but also in Latin America. The population issue, which never became a key point in the emerging ideological warfare of the cold war, was part of a complex interplay between global inequalities and the state-socialist attempt to achieve a quick (and also extremely Eurocentric) "modernizationist" overtake in the battle with "Western" capitalism.
This straightforward reaction of Communist countries and the fear of a massive turn against colonialism and capitalism led to a considerable panic among those harboring neo-Malthusian ideals of controlling population in order to handle poverty and the consequences of the break down of previous agrarian systems certain American foundations with a strong international(ist) outlook. The rise of communism in China led to a dramatic shift in ideas on global population development. Among people working on international demographic processes in the United States there was a rising consensus that in the "East" the "West" could not wait for social development taking care of a decline of fertility and that "overpopulation" in the Third World would push countries toward Communism. This shift to interventionist direct birth control was then understood as part of the cold war conflicts. (Szreter, 1993; Greenhalgh, 1996; Melegh 2006).
But it would be misleading to reduce the changes to being rooted in cold war conflicts and to being a terrain of international fight only. The "new" international population control movement was successful because it maintained a seemingly non-colonial, non-racist liberal policy opposing communists and nationalists all around the world without questioning the Malthusian principles. In addition to the above aspects it also proved to be rather easy to create an atmosphere of a panic regarding overpopulation ("population bomb") presented as an issue of "hard" facts and not political concerns. In other words population control became a part of international political efforts to maintain and to create "stability" and also it allowed a terrain for certain elites of the "Third World" to get integrated into international development politics.
The rise of an international population control movement and reactions to it in the frame of global hierarchies
The population control movement rose from the 1950s. At the beginning, the movement was constructed on the level of private associations and private funding (Population Association of America from 1931, Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1942; Population Council 1952, International Planned Parenthood Federation from 1952, on the level of finances among others Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, Milbank Memorial Fund, Hugh Moore Fund). During the 1960s it then moved into the arena of international political aspirations of governmental and intergovernmental actors. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund (originally Trust Fund for Population) was established in 1967 and soon became a major fund for international population policy. The US president, Lyndon B Johnson became a strong supporter of population control, and advocated population control in areas of rapid population growth as part of US foreign policy. There were international statements on population (and the need to control population growth) including one from 1966 which was signed by 30 heads of states and prime ministers including Josip Broz Tito, Indira Gandhi, Harold Wilson, Reza Pahlavi, Urho Kekkonen, King Hussein, Ferdinand Marcos, Lyndon B. Johnson (http://www.popcouncil.org/mediacenter/popstatement.html) . Even in financing international family planning there was a rather dramatic shift toward governmental funding in which the US Agency for International Development (USAID) played a very important role. Furthermore by that time global population control was deeply embedded into the business of pharmaceutical companies being interested in securing demand via supporting the projects on spreading "birth control information"(Hodgson-Watkins, 1997, personal interview at Ford Foundation). This was the golden age of family planning and population control till it got into some local and international controversies during the 1970s and 1980s. The first big blow came in the massive attack by East European socialist states in alliance with some Third World countries launched an attack on the lack of the development side in the campaign for population control at the World Population conference in Bucharest, Romania in 1973 in a country managing one of the harshest anti-abortion campaigns in the late 20th century. This attack and the controversies around population control (massive sterilization campaigns, negative consequences of certain contraceptive pills and the lack of proper authorization of these contraceptive methods) then led to the reformulation of the original concerns due to Feminist and ultra-conservative (anti-abortion) critiques (Bandarage 1998, Hodgson-Watkins 1997, Demény 1988, Withworth 1994). This led to a revision of population policies on the level of human and reproductive rights in order to save and maintain international projects and of course related jobs.
Looking at the globalization of the population control movement it is not surprising that the first country, which was actively targeted by the emerging International Planned Parenthood Federation, was India. The Federation itself was partially launched in Bombay and it became the first test case. For more than two decades it was one of the major target countries of such aid policies. India was an extremely poor country, which faced massive problems after the colonial period. Its economy shrank due to colonization, it had major border problems also due the acts of the previous British colonial power and at the same time there was a political elite which was inclined to accept the idea of interventionist population control. It is also important to note that -- as Caldwell pointed out analyzing the history of demographic ideas -- in all countries, which were colonized by the British, the acceptance of an actively promoted birth control was much bigger in the political elites then in other countries.
As mentioned above in India Gandhi rejected the idea of population control on moral grounds, while Nehru was in favor of it. But beside Prime Minister Nehru there were some other elite groups (census commissionaires, other statisticians, planning officials), which accepted, in the context of a phenomenal population growth, the idea of reducing the number of newborns in order to tackle massive social problems. In the case of India the incorporation of massive birth control and sterilization as a state policy was that firm that it was part of social and economic planning especially from the 1950s till the so called emergency period of 1975-77 which led to the fall of the Indira Gandhi government and to the reformulation of population policies in India during the 1980s very much in line with official UN policies protecting the human and reproductive rights of women after the sterilization controversies of the 1970s. (Population in India, 1997; S. Chandrasekhar, 1943, 1953; Mitra 1977; Panandiker-Umashankar 1994).
A similar agreement of the national policy with the international population planning agenda was missing in the case of China being the other most frequented example of overpopulation and rapid demographic growth. As mentioned above the communist revolution in China was the one, which led a certain sense of panic with regard to overpopulation. In the period of the rise of the international family planning movement China was a country sealed off both in the sense of rejecting any kind of a neo-Malthusian ideal, but also as a country completely out of the reach of Western development agencies and funds (H Yuan Tien 1981). Nonetheless China's radical change with regard to population policies at the end of the 1970s is certainly a part of the population control reform movement both in terms of inspiration and also, later on, as a "success" story from the point of view of international family planning. The key point in China's radical shift into a neo-Malthusian direction was "Western" science and the belief in the possibility of a radical intervention into social processes. In the case of China then (just like in the case of many national movements), "science" was the Trojan horse in transplanting neo-Malthusian ideals (Greenhalgh 2003).
The first sign of a shift came quickly after the death of Mao who had rejected any kind of concern with regard to overpopulation. Basically there was no demographic research under the Mao period (H Yuan Tien 1981). After his death, family planning was seen in the beginning as a new terrain in which the socialist state could intervene as a "normal" procedure of planning labor force and consumer demands. But soon a panic over overpopulation could be ensured by a small group of scientists interested in and lobbying for a quick "modernization" of the Chinese society and economy and the practical implementation of some hasty "scientific" models of overpopulation and uniquely this was achieved by some scientists previously not working on social issues at all. According to Susan Greenhalgh (2003: 170) the key person in this regard was Song Jian and some of his colleagues who implemented some population projections based on the works of "Western" experts concerned about sustaining capacity of ecological systems. This is how Song Jian reported on this newly rising interest:
After more than ten years' isolation from the outside world, during a visit to Europe in 1978, I happened to learn about the application of systems analysis theory by European scientists to the study of population problems with a great success. For instance, in a "Blueprint for Survival" published in 1972, British scientists contended that Britain's population of 56 million had greatly exceeded the sustaining capacity of ecosystem of the Kingdom. They argued Britain's population should be gradually reduced to 30 million, namely, a reduction by nearly 50 percent.... I was extremely excited about these documents and determined to try the method of demography. (Song 1986: 2-3)
After these model calculations (under the support of the Deng Xiao Ping leadership) very soon a drastic interventionist policy was framed which pushed aside not only findings of demographic analyses pointing to a slowing down population growth, but also any other concern connected to such hasty intervention. And thus the infamous "one child policy" was implemented which later combined anti-natalist measures (severe penalties fro having more than one child) with not only gender biases but also "eugenic" and quality concerns. The "biggest" achievement of the international neo-Malthusian reform program was exactly in that country which with its turn away from Western influences in the late 1940s was the "cause" of the panic on overpopulation and which had consciously rejected such ideals till the late 1970s when the population control reform movement got into some kind of decline.
This story also shows that late state socialism and neo-Malthusian policies could go together, despite initial ideological opposition. Also some East European socialist states, regardless of their demographic decline and low fertility, did incorporate some neo-Malthusian concerns. As a basic rule pro-natalism was the dominant policy under state socialism, which in its extreme could lead to harsh anti-abortion campaigns like in Romania after 1967 till the collapse of the Ceausescu regime (Kligman, 1998). Also these/some of these countries voiced the anti-Malthusian approach together with some Third World countries during the UN population conference in 1973 rather successfully, which opposition was the first major blow to the American led population control policies internationally (Hodgson-Watkins, 1997). Even more most of the East European communist politburos till the very end rejected ideas of an overt selective population policy on grounds that they were not compatible with socialist ideals of equality (Teitelbaum, 1988) But this did not mean that East European states were exempt of ideas of quality control and some other neo-Malthusian concerns. A prime example can be Hungary with its long history of pro-natalism, which from the 1960s (under some auspices of "Western" expertise accepted as "real" professional control) increasingly incorporated issues of reproductive health and concerns over the "overpopulation" of the Romani population (Melegh 2006). This could lead to denying social support to parents (of course mainly women), who were irresponsible parents from a "subjective" (this was the official euphemism) point of view. (Haney, 2002)
Once again. like in the case of China, the "success" of international family planning came after its decline and reformulation even in areas where it could not gain a stronghold before. This success can be understood not only as a change in the economic structure (moves toward capitalism), but also as a result of refolding back East European states into a global hierarchy of the capitalist world economy, which they wanted to change originally when they got into power, or at least in which hierarchical system they wanted to take over the leading positions. Local neo-Malthusian racism toward the lower classes and Romani people was a clear consequence of this "reintegration" into global inequalities.
Latin America with its agrarian background can in many ways be related to East European developments especially before the Second World War. But there are some important differences after the war. Latin America with the exception of some short-lived experiences and one country, namely Cuba, remained in the hierarchical world capitalist system. The formal similarities of economic policies between Latin American and state socialist East European economies (state intervention) does hide some very important differences in the social integration of the economy (social welfare on the level of companies) and in term of ownership of assets and related redistribution policies. Actually Latin America was a real terrain of huge ideological debates over population and development, which was seen as an either/or issue from a neo-Malthusian point of view.
Form the 1960s Latin America also qualified as a target area for the population control movement. But as compared to India and China, and regardless of some history of eugenics as discussed above it has never become a very receptive area, mainly because of a rather strong opposition to neo-Malthusian ideals from different corners, namely the Catholic Church, nationalists and radical left wing groups. Their concerns varied a lot but they were rather united in being extremely suspicious of American interests in the region and they saw population control projects as new means for securing US domination. These projects could gain some advances only as they could be justified by a concern on the health conditions of mothers and newborn babies.
Resistance to global hierarchy thus played an important role in formulating an opposition to a neo-Malthusian principles represented first and foremost by the US government and the private foundations/associations mentioned above (International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation). Latin American actors have always understood themselves as being in fight with different colonial and semi-colonial powers which could lead nationalist and racist reactions to this fight over global hierarchies as described above with regard to prewar developments. Field research carried out in Brasil in the 1960s in order to gain better knowledge about the sources of opposition to population control documented, among other things, varieties of this racist connection:
Dr. Fabio Fonseca, president of the Belo Horizonte Regional Council of Medicine, stated that Brazil needs a population twice its present size in order to settle the vast empty spaces of the country. He warned that "the yellow race, which is becoming more and more numerous, needs space to live and will not hesitate to seek uninhabited places like the immense Brazilian regions if this settlement is not promoted." (Based on interviews: Stycos, 1967, p. 68)
But the most original Latin American contribution to the debate over global population control was the radical left wing critique. It was related to the work of Economic Commission for Latin America, which played a crucial role in developing a critique of modernization theory As modernization theory was closely linked to the ideals of global population control, it is not surprising that the analysis of US-Latin America economic relationships could be easily projected to the terrains of global population control. The Economic Commission for Latin America was the key actor in working out Dependency Theory very much relying on an anti-imperialist critique of global economic relationships. This stated that there was a chain of dependencies keeping Latin American economies on an "underdeveloped level" and that this dependency was the reason for most of the "backward" characteristics of Latin American societies including its massive agrarian populations (Cardoso-Helwege 1992; Timmons-Hite, 2000). Thus the way out of this "underdevelopment" was to change the social and economic structures crystallized by the "dependency". This critique of unequal global relations could be applied to criticizing the international population control agenda, and related policies, for Latin America. Latin American actors developed the following arguments against population control efforts seen as a US led campaign (Hall 1973):
Wealth of the continent is not yet utilized
There is a low population density
The aim is to reduce social pressure in this way and through massive social changes
The US wants to reduce foreign aid with this.
The concern in the US for population control (wanted fertility) is lower.
The US wants to reduce demand for resources.
One proponent of population control summarized this critical perspective, which was shared by many nationalists, as he had found it in his field research, as follows:
Three Colombian university professors expressed the idea this way: Birth control is dangerous because it can become a distraction, or a justification for the bourgeoisie to reject change . . . It might prevent the agrarian reform from ever taking place. With our system of production we can support about ten million. Since we have seventeen million we are overpopulated, but if our pattern of production were altered we could support fifty million or more. The reason why they want birth control is that they don't want a technical revolution. Birth control is a palliative measure which cannot lead to anything. Birth control is being proposed as a panacea, which is utopian, false, and treacherous.Neo-malthusianism is manipulated by the big laboratories . . . and pharmaceutical houses. . . . The reactionary attitude is not that of the Catholic church but of the family planners . . .for commercial reasons, out of North American geopolitical interests (so there will not be a prevalence of underdeveloped populations, or Asiatics, or U.S. Communists), and out of fear of structural reforms. . . . Brazil, lacking in mechanical resources, depends for her economic progress on her working force. It should not be with birth control financed by the National Development Bank and the Alliance for Progress or foreign enterprises that our country will succeed in developing herself, but through drastic modification of the social and economic
structures. (Stycos, 1967, 69-70) Nonetheless the US campaign for creating a network of supporters for population control was successful creating effective networks during different governments in Chile as it was reported by one of the researchers supported by the Rockefeller Foundation:
Another insight from my research was the formation and existence of an intellectual network between scholars and medical professionals; members of U.S. foundations; U.S. government agencies such as AID or the Inter-American Development Bank; and transnational institutions, such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The principal members of this community were officers of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the Population Council; doctors and professors from the Universities of Chile and the Catholic University; and academics from FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales). These records clearly show the connections that flourished between intellectuals, think tanks, and funding sources and their role as gatekeepers in the creation and maintenance of an intellectual community. (Power, 2003)
Altogether in the rise and the "success" of the population control movement the crucial moment was in the 1940s, when the United States started incorporating the idea as part of a post-colonial, anti-communist answer to the issue of directing change and development in what was to be termed the “third world” soon. This policy was successful not really in the sense of controlling population development as the major successes came in areas not really targeted or by states, which previously rejected the idea and then later they embraced it on their own "intellectual" heritage. The case of previous or substantially changed state socialist countries deserve special attention. Most probably East European states incorporated some ideas due to being folded back into the hierarchical world economy during the transition to "market economy" while in China "science" was the Trojan horse.
Loosing the grip. Concluding remarks The international population control movement got into a real crisis during the 1980s (Hodgson-Watkins, 1997, Witworth 1994). First of all since the 1980s there has been less and less panic over population numbers as global population growth became much slower. It seems now that by the mid 21st century they will stabilize around a global figure of 9 billion, so there can be no real worry over the stop in population growth. This slow down observed almost everywhere is due to a massive change in fertility patterns and related cultural changes in which the population control movement played a role. The key issue here in all likelihood was not the actual "technical" intervention, but most probably the contribution to creating worldwide legitimacy of fertility control and cultural diffusion. Surely these changes would have happened without the movement itself, as cultural diffusion has been the key factor in lowering fertility according to recent analysis. Today the main issue is not the too quick population growth, but its relationship to ecological systems and very importantly the very low demographic growth in the "West". (Coale-Watkins, 1986, Melegh-Őri 2003)
Second the population control movement got into controversies due to what the critique of feminist movements added to the older left-wing opposition in the “third world”. Feminists have shown some of the gender and human rights pitfalls of disregarding the control of women over their body and their reproductive "decisions" by pushing the issues to the abstract level of macro balances between fertility and resources, and family as an overall framework of their lives. They also formulated the need for new universal ideals based on the autonomous control over the body and reproduction by the women. Among other developments, this criticism contributed strongly to bringing about the reformulation of all the major goals of stabilizing population growth as ones related to reproductive autonomy and reproductive health by the Cairo meeting on world population in 1994. This new policy was named as integrating population and development strategies (Cliquet - Thienport, 1995). These re-formulations maintain much of the original contents but in a new frame, which cannot be any more called population control but some kind of a mix of population control, gender equality and quality of life policies. Feminist movements, which in part have been long time allies of neo-Malthusianism have been able to change the policies or at least reframe it. On the other side anti-abortion radicals have also been able to practice some control over the population control movement via the US government and the conservative shift in the 1980s, which in an indirect way pushed it toward a less interventionist approach (Withworth 1994). While massive amounts of private funds are still spent on global birth control and the business connections have remained, but population control cannot be anymore presented as a major international social reform movement and population control has become just a particular element in a new mix of development policies as promoted by internation organizations.
In the future more and more other areas of reproduction might come even more into the forefront of interest, most importantly reproductive health, the autonomy of women, genetic research and the varying health status of people around the world as a consequence of massive global inequalities. But in this latter case the last we can assume that there would be massive programs to enhance the health and life chances of people living in poverty all around the world. New reproduction-related political agenda advanced within the global inequality system in its present form might actually lead to a more intense social fight over the distribution of health related costs locally and of course globally. All the current debates over genetic research, the increase of the life span of privileged groups and the actual health care systems then remind us, that what might remain with us after loosing the issue of birth control is the other side of liberal population policy (and the Malthusian equation): the protection of privileged groups and letting unprivileged people die.
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