The Great Silence: U.S. Population Policy

Click here for a downloadable, printable PDF version

Click here for a downloadable, printable PDF version

Click the image for a downloadable, printable PDF version

My attention was called recently to a Department of State position paper that said simply that “The U.S. does not endorse population ‘stabilization’ or ‘control.’ The ‘ideal’ family size should be determined by the desires of couples, not governments.” That is not just a major retrograde step; it is a particularly bad policy in the current and prospective state of the economy. The questions arise: how did the government get there? And what should be done about it?

In the 1970s, our government had a fleeting vision of the dangers of continuing growth on a finite planet. That vision was lost in the welter of competing goals and voices. Now, amid high unemployment and widespread disillusionment with government, our political leaders must veer sharply, acknowledge the validity of that discontent, and offer policies on population, immigration and trade that recognize growth as part of the problem, not the solution. If they don’t, some would-be leader will move in on them.

Lindsey Grant

Lindsey Grant is a retired Foreign Service Officer; he was a China specialist and served as Director of the Office of Asian Communist Affairs, National Security Council staff member, and Department of State policy Planning staff member. As Deputy Secretary of State for Environmental and Population Affairs, he was Department of State coordinator for the Global 2000 Report to the President, Chairman of the interagency committee on Int'l Environmental Committee and US member of the UN ECE Committee of Experts on the Environment. His books include: Too Many People, Juggernaut, The Horseman and the Bureaucrat, Elephants in Volkswagen, How Many Americans?

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