(Headline by Catholic Herald)
23 December 2011
SIR – Mrs Ann Farmer writes “the Malthusian response to poverty was to blame the victim and lecture them for having too many children”. (Letter, November 25) This is true for the nineteenth century, but we must remember that that is almost all they could do in those days about overpopulation. Nowadays, we know what to do and our lecturing, or preferably our advising, is aimed at very rich people – the governments of developing countries, their international advisers, and others – who, for various reasons, fail to provide the poor with effective family planning. This failure is a prolonged tragedy for Africa. David Coleman, the Professor of Demography at Oxford University makes the point in The Times of 3 October 2005, “Reducing population growth will not of itself solve Africa’s problems, but without it they will become insoluble”.