The Neo-Malthusian in the popular Nigerian economic narratives (II)

There are some advantages to a small population. Saving the environment tops the list (AbhjitBanerfree et al., 2012). Few people on this planet guarantee less release of carbon monoxide into the air, hence less air pollution. That a city like Santiago (Chile) is perpetually gobbled by fog cannot be separated from its problem of limited land space for a massive population with needs for non-eco -friendly automobiles. Also, few or no pregnancies will free up time for more education of the female gender, give her more time for work, and as such, increase potentiality for upward mobility. Additionally, fewer children may free up financial resources within a family.

Notwithstanding the above, problematizing the population (essentially) as an economic albatross is a misplaced argument. Population question inquires; are there too many people on earth? If yes, how do we reduce them? Who should be kicked out or stay on earth? Do we reduce life expectancy, or we stop breeding new babies? These questions show that the population question is more of an ethical item than an economic issue (Joseph Kaboski,2019). Because it is about who has the right to live. Although life has economic implications, but they are surrounding effects and not intentional consequences of being alive. To frame population question with the economic paradigm is merely reducing the framework of life ethics to that of social ethics. In another word, “monetizing” and making human life (only) an economic problem.

Experts have noted that the most effective population control strategy is abortion. (Elizabeth Anscombe, 1972). While contraceptive is the first line of defense, abortion is the second line and the most reliable. However, regardless of how articulate our generation may have rationalized abortion, it remains the destruction of human life. How is this mode of abortion different from money ritual, when it is the same principle that reinforces both desperations; prosperity at the expense of human life. It is still incomprehensible that it is the human race that delights in the killing of its infants.

It is purely Darwinist that the economic agency of a human person is predicated on the denial or annihilation of the potential agency of another human being, the unborn. The egotistical narrative and internal contradiction of fertility control are that its missionaries want high life expectancy but only for themselves and not for others; the unborn. Why should we give “perfect” and long life to one at the expense of the life of another?

Also, fertility control has sexual implications and commentaries on it is important because of its bioethical and sexual-ethical implications.  We all know that the population does not increase by raindrops, instead because human beings copulate, and women get pregnant. Despite the sexual revolution of the modern age, the truth of sex is that it is a personalist norm between two persons who have chosen to give themselves to one another. Sex is not an item in a grocery store; it is a language of love that is beyond the limits of verbal expression. As such, it is an essential engagement with implications. To divorce sex from its openness to life repudiates the values of commitment and the unitive goals associated with it.

Whatever we mean by fertility control implies a retraction of the personalist norm of sex, and its reorientation towards value neutrality. Sex constructed in this way is no more self -giving between couples; rather, deceit, saying, “I love you with all its consequences, but I don’t love you.” Every sexual activity will not be reproductive, but to deny the act its openness to reproduction is to deny it its “conjugal” value. Summarily, sex has life implications. As such, to reduce population is to reduce sexual activities, else, the “acting persons” in a sexual activity are instrumentalized and not end in themselves.

Instrumentalization of the human person is unethical and foundational to the narrative of “forced” fertility and population control. Those knowledgeable about the history of Nazism and the 2nd World war would recognize the subtle Nazism in such narrative – food availability and population control. Population control was an event in the concentration camp during the Nazi era- reduce the population (prisoners) according to the available resources.

Economic policies or agenda that reduce human beings to a problem to solve ignores what differentiate humans from other created beings- human dignity. Fortunately, the concept of human dignity is not an exclusive preserve of the popular religions in , rather, it is also cultural, it is African. While poverty no doubt challenges the dignity of the human person, the denial of right to live (even to the unborn) is part of the “culture of death.” While poverty can be eradicated, a life denied cannot be resurrected. As such, for a prosperous , economic creativity is the way to go!!

Olokunboro (Rev.) writes via

[email protected]

University of Notre Dame, IN, United States

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