Some go so far as to speak of a "demographic bomb" ready to explode.

In the eyes of the ideologues of demographic security, to be numerous is to be poor. But the bomb of the third millenium is the poverty of the Third World, not the poor. Here, as elsewhere, one must not err in diagnosing the problem or in confusing the effect with its cause.

a) The causes of poverty cannot be resolved by sterilizing the poor -no more than sickness can be remedied by euthanizing the sick. In order to remedy the causes of poverty, it is most urgent that all children receive an education that allows them, by the time they are adults, to meet their needs, and we must help them get it.

b) It would be very difficult to find historical examples of a development that followed upon a drop in the birth rate.

c) In Brazil, from 1960 to 1990, the general rate of fertility, that is to say, the annual number of births relative to the number of women of childbearing age, went from 6.3 to 3.13, while the rate of demographic growth went from 2.89% to 1.8%. Can one say that during this period poverty decreased as much?

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