Working people in developing countries should be enabled to improve the economic, health, security, social, and environmental conditions within their countries. This will require the United States to greatly increase its humanitarian assistance to the poorest countries of the world. The focus of such assistance should be to build the capacity of those countries to live in harmony with the natural resources available to them. Such development is in the interest of the United States, both to enhance global economic welfare and to end the population pressures that lead to poverty, loss of forests, loss of biodiversity, poor health, civil conflict, and other conditions that ultimately cause massive numbers of refugees and economically deprived people to abandon their homelands and risk their lives to try to enter the United States and other developed countries both legally and illegally.
In order to effectively address the poverty of working people in developing countries and to enhance prospects for sustainable development, U.S. foreign aid should be focused on those investments known to lead most directly to population stabilization and economic welfare. The United States should raise the 0.1 percent of GDP currently contributed to foreign humanitarian assistance to a level above that of aid provided by European countries, and the United States should lead the developed world in bringing about rapid improvement of the human condition worldwide.
The first priority should be provision of comprehensive, voluntary family planning and reproductive information and services along with support for elevation of the status of women and girls, education of daughters, protection of children from exploitation, and related social and health goals. The accumulated evidence of the last half century is that delaying childbearing until adulthood and spacing of children is the single most effective step to improving maternal and child health that a poor country can take. Having every child wanted and loved is a requirement for healthy development of children. Families should always be created by choice and not coercion.
Bringing population size into balance with natural resources is critical to improved economic conditions and environmental and food security globally. This is a key element in preventing further damage to the planet’s ecosystem and the current threats to a stable climate conducive to all forms of life on earth.
Taking such steps will reduce the potential for civil and international conflicts that can result when demand for resources outstrips supply.
A number of countries, especially in Asia, have demonstrated that the reduction of high fertility rates is a precursor to society-wide economic development. Such development narrows the gap between rich and poor, leading to egalitarian societies. Indeed, economic progress and economic welfare should always be measured not by such indicators as GDP, but rather GDP per capita. Economic policies of the United States should emphasize genuine well-being, not increasing consumption beyond the level needed for a decent and healthy life.
The United States must work to reduce both its population growth and excessive consumption of energy and resources in order to protect the most vulnerable in the global society from the potential effects of climate change and environmental destruction. The U.S. should take a lead role in demonstrating the positive benefits of sustainable population size and lifestyles.