In Sen’s discussion of the current population problem, the third world is considered to be the main ground of contention. She talks a lot of the measures taken in the developing countries designed to curb the rapid growth of their population and goes on to talk about the different measures such as coercive and collaborative approaches. In comparing and contrasting the two different approaches, she points out the restrictive and possibly manipulative nature of the coercive and seems to encourage the collaborative approach. The collaborative approach, described by her, would provide individuals with “expanded choices and enhanced security, and encouraged by open dialogue and extensive public discussions” which will eventually (and naturally, it seems to assume) make birth control possible. In this sense, it seems a bit almost condescending to have the problem framed that it is almost their ignorance that is the cause of this “population problem.”
It’s also interesting to note how the grounds for this issue/current phenomenon is established as a “problem” without much justification. Throughout history, as noted by Sen, there were several other periods in which population saw significantly rapid growth. Industrial revolution was one, agricultural revolution was another. If the sudden growth in population has had a pattern in the past and we’ve apparently survived those revolutions, why is it suddenly a “problem” to deal with, especially by educating the third world? Why do we label it a “problem” and is the ground for this phenomenon to be label as such well-established?
Who determines the right number of children to have and what gives them the right to do so?