The population evils of capitalism

[In preparation for a conference, I’m reading a lot about population, ethics, and economics. Extrapolating from my readings, I offer the following arguments.]

1. Capitalism is about greed. It encourages women to be greedy too. So women will pursue careers and forego family. Hence capitalism causes population decreases.

2. Capitalism is about consumerism, so people consume more food and medical care and are healthier. So pregnant women have more successful pregnancies. Hence capitalism causes population increases.

3. Capitalism is about technological control. So it generates new technologies of pregnancy prevention — cheap condoms, the Pill, and so on. Hence, capitalism causes population decreases.

4. Capitalism is about profit. So capitalists will overtly and covertly encourage policies that generate more customers to profit from. Hence, capitalism causes population increases.

5. Capitalism is about the control of resources. But conflicts over the control of resources cause war, and war kills a lot of people. Hence, capitalism causes population decreases.

6. Capitalism is about unquestioned faith in economic growth. And economic growth increases wealth, which enables the support of more people. So capitalism causes population increases.

7. Capitalism is about competition. But competition causes a downward spiral of dog-eat-dog viciousness and anti-social behavior. Yet sex and family are, by definition, social. Hence capitalism causes population decreases.

8. Capitalism is about selfishness. Selfish people want to live as long as they can, even if they are no longer producing for the good of society. And capitalist private wealth and medical technologies allow the extension of human life beyond its natural limits. Hence capitalism causes population increases.

9. Capitalism is about competition. Psychologically, competition instills a keeping-up-with-the Joneses mentality. But keeping up with the Joneses is expensive, leaving fewer resources available for child-rearing. So capitalism causes population decreases.

10. Capitalism is about free choices of individuals. So capitalism teaches people to ignore the social benefit and focus on themselves. So the number of children will vary depending on fads and fancies, not upon rational social planning. Hence capitalism causes sub-optimal population sizes.

Related:

“Dr. Franz Hamburger and the Nazi collectivizing of reproduction.”
“Collectivizing sex — Alexandra Kollontai’s communist version.”

2 thoughts on “The population evils of capitalism

  • December 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm
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    Stephen understanding of Capitalism reflects an academic perspective rather than one based on the actual experience of working for ‘for profit’ enterprises and pursuing a career within the highly competitive private sector.

    With his statements about Capitalism, I would expect that he holds a set of anti-business views that are likely very Marxist in their perspective.

    I would love to speak with Stephen directly and share my perspective as someone who has had a long and successful career of over 40 years and hold a different view of Capitalism which he may consider as ‘food for thought’.

    Gene Balfour,
    Chairman, Ontario Libertarian Party.
    Retired business man.

  • December 12, 2017 at 9:05 am
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    Mr. Balfour seems to be missing the point.

    Prof. Hicks has highlighted a number of inconsistent and contradictory conclusions that exist in popular analysis of capitalism. E.g., capitalism is alleged to cause both too large populations, and too small populations.

    Hicks might be suggesting that capitalism is a whipping boy or strawman for whatever agenda someone is pushing at the moment. This is similar to Leszek Kolakowski’s concept of the endless cornucopia (or whatever he called it): for whatever position one wishes to take, one can find an endless series of facts and citations to support that position.

    Populations are shrinking (and that’s bad) … let’s blame capitalism!

    Populations are growing (and that’s bad) … let’s blame capitalism!

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