There’s been talk recently about how Europe (with its negative fertility rates) needs to do more to assist immigrants from countries where women have been having 7 children apiece and are suddenly running out of room. (These countries haven’t had enough food for decades.)

Perhaps I’m missing something, but why should Swedish citizens have their taxes raised to build more housing for non-swedes who chose to come to Sweden? Why should Brits have to send people down to fish boatloads of migrants out of the Mediterranean when their boats collapse? Shouldn’t the people who sent the boats be responsible for the people in them? If I have children, aren’t I responsible for my children? Why does all of this suddenly become Europe’s responsibility?

Ethiopia had 38 million people in 1983, at the beginning of the famine. By the end of the famine, in ’85, they had 41 million people. Today, they have 94 million people. No, they have not simultaneously doubled their ability to feed their people.

Where will those people go? Where will the food come from?

You cannot double the population of Ethiopia without expecting disaster. Yet this is what the Ethiopian people have chosen to do. Who will pay for it? The French?

The usual excuse here for self-destructive behavior is “colonialism.” Ethiopia was never colonized.

Next door, in can-totally-afford-it Somalia, women are having an average of 6 and a half children each. In Nigeria, 7 and a half. The DRC, one of the most dysfunctional, impoverished countries in the world, the kind of place where cannibalism still happens and you can’t even buy Coca Cola,* comes in at a modest 6 children per woman.

*You can buy Coca Cola almost anywhere on the planet except the DRC, because the roads there are just so bad that even capitalism cannot triumph.

Europe is, of course, already massively over-populated. Negative fertility rates are perfectly sensible until Europe, India, China, Japan, and the US populations drop to sustainable levels (unless you really like the idea of living in a post-apocalytic global wasteland.)

The planet cannot handle exponential growth. Even accepting all of the excess people from the places that cannot handle their own current growth levels will not solve the problem in either location. More food will not suddenly appear in Europe anymore than it will suddenly appear in Africa; we will not destroy the planet any slower by shipping people around–this will just speed it up.

We don’t need to stop having children. But we must be sane; countries cannot go having more than 3 per woman. The first step to preventing worldwide famine is birth control. Countries that have not been acting in good faith to not produce more children than they can feed have no basis to ask for international aid or to send out massive numbers of migrants and expect anyone to accept them.

Europe did not create Africa’s overpopulation problem and Europe cannot solve it. At best, Europe might solve Europe’s problems, but I haven’t a ton of hope for that.


3rd world in the 1st world

Update: After many years of unfulfilled promises from the local municipality, the family finally has running water.

A large chunk of my family lives in a part of the country where the wells have run dry due to drought. They survive by filling up a big tank of water when they go into the city and driving it back home. It has been this way for years.

The nearest city has been promising a water pipe out to them for over 7 years. The family gladly and eagerly declares their willingness to pay for running water. Their willingness to help dig the trenches and lay the pipe necessary to get the water. And after seven years, much of the pipe has been laid, but they still can’t get the right people and authorizations out to turn on the water.

Once upon a time, we sent a man to the moon. Now we can’t lay some damn pipes.

People in Detroit have running water, but chose not to pay for it–that, of course, is cause for international concern. “The city of Detroit must restore access to water for its citizens who remain unable to pay their bills, two United Nations experts urged today, adding that a failure to do so would be a violation of the most basic human rights of those residents.”

The family could have running water with a better, deeper well (maybe not the best water, but hey, they could flush their toilets on a regular basis.) But digging wells is difficult and expensive.

There are multiple charities that dig wells in Africa and other parts of the 3rd world. I have contacted some of them, but they do not have the paperwork and authorizations necessary to dig wells in the US.

We are paperworking ourselves to death.

Another branch of the family, located in a wetter part of the country, belongs to a church that sends aid projects to Ethiopia, digging wells and planting trees (which apparently the Ethiopians keep chopping down). But they do not dig wells for their own kinfolk here in the US.