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U.S. Population Policies, Development, and the Rural Poor of Africa

  • Edward Green (a1)

A 1980 World Bank study paints a bleak picture of the current economic situation in sub-Saharan Africa, where most countries are at the bottom of the development pyramid. They have low incomes per capita, and their rates of economic growth have fallen behind Asian countries of comparable low income. Moreover, population growth in Africa is accelerating while trends in other developing regions suggest a slowing down.

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1 Gulhati, Ravi, ‘Eastern and Southern Africa: past trends and future prospects’, World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 413, Washington, D.C., 08 1980.

2 U.S. Agency for International Development, Evaluating Family Planning Programs (Washington, D.C., 1979).

1 Cf. Meek, Ronald (ed.), Marx and Engels on the Population Bomb (Berkeley, 1971). Also Cereseto, S., ‘On the Causes and Solution to the Problem of World Hunger and Starvation: evidence from China, India, and Other Places’, in The Insurgent Sociologist (Eugene, Ore.), 7, 3, Summer 1977, pp. 3557;Stevenson, P., ‘Overpopulation and Underdevelopment: myths and realities’, in Social Praxis (Paris), 5, 1–2, 1978, pp. 87111; and Brackett, James, ‘The Evolution of Marxist Theories of Population: Marxism recognises the population problem’, in Demography (Washington, D.C.), 5, 1, 1968, pp. 158–73.

2 For a worthwhile discussion and critique of this proposal, see Hauser, Philip, ‘Population Criteria in Foreign Aid Programs’, Population Reference Bureau, Washington, D.C., 1973, selection 42.

1 Two of the better expositions of this argument are found in Lappé, Frances Moore and Collins, Joseph, Food First: beyond the myth of scarcity (Boston, 1977), and George, Susan, How the Other Half Dies: the real reasons for world hunger (Montclair, N.J., 1977).

2 Steve Weissman, ‘Forward’, in Meek (ed.), op. cit. pp. ix-xxii.

1 Weissman, Steve, ‘Why the Population Bomb is a Rockefeller Baby’, in Ramparts (Berkeley), 8, 1970, pp. 42–7.

2 Ravenholt, R. T. in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, quoted by Ehrenreich et al., ‘The Charge: gynocide’, in Mother Jones (San Francisco), 11 1979, p. 31.

3 ‘Business Involvement is Urged in Slowing Population Growth’, in Popline (Washington, D.C.), 3, 10, October 1981, p. 1.

4 Cf. Barclay, W. et al. , ‘Population Control in the Third World’, in Pohiman, Edward (ed.), Population: a clash of prophets (New York, 1973), pp. 464–83, and Weissman, ‘Why the Population Bomb is a Rockefeller Baby’.

1 For a summary of the argument over the existence of an élite or ruling class, see Green, Edward, ‘Knowledge, Power, and Policy Analysis’, in Soundings (Nashville), LXIII, 2, 1980, pp. 178–98.

2 Ahmed, Osman, ‘Population and Economic Development in Africa: a critical look at the current literature’, in Clinton, Richard (ed.), Population and Politics (Lexington, Mass., 1973), pp. 153–62.

3 Clinton, op. cit. p. 60.

4 Gulhati, op. cit.

1 For a refutation of this monolithic view, see Durham, W. H., Scarcity and Survival in Central America: ecological origins of the soccer war (Palo Alto, 1979).

2 Weissman, ‘Forward’, p. xix.

1 Ehrenreich et al., loc. cit. pp. 28–31.

1 For recent reviews of this debate, see Faruqee, Rashid, ‘Sources of Fertility Decline: factor analysis of inter-country data’, World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 318, Washington, D.C., 02 1979;Sinding, Steven, ‘Study of Family Planning Program Effectiveness’, A.I.D. Program Evaluation Discussion Paper No., Washington, D.C., 04 1979; and Miro, Carmen and Potter, Joseph, Population Policy: research priorities in the developing world (London, 1980), pp. 104–15.

2 Davis, Kingsley, ‘Population Policy: will current programs succeed?’, in Reining, Pricilla and Tinker, Irene (eds.), Population: dynamics, ethics and policy (Washington, D.C., 1975), pp. 2736.

3 U.N.F.P.A., Inventory of Population Projects in Developing Countries Around the World, 1978/79 (New York, 1980).

4 Davis, loc. cit. p. 71, recognises a population problem but believes that F.P. programmes offer no solution.

1 As Steven Beaver points out, demographic transition ‘theory’ is used as a paradigm and an empirical generalisation, as well as socio-demographic theory; Demographic Transition Theory Reinterpreted (Lexington, Mass., 1975).

2 See Sinding, op. cit. p. 3.

1 Mauldin, Parker W. and Berelson, Bernard, ‘Conditions of Fertility Decline in Developing Countries’, in Studies in Family Planning (New York), 9, 5, 1978.

2 Faruqee, op. cit.

3 Ibid. pp. 32–3.

1 notes, J. Simon, ‘From a forecasting viewpoint, education rather than income is the best single predictor of fertility decline, and even alone it is perhaps almost as good a predictor as a multivariate forecasting device’; ‘The Effects of Income on Fertility’, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1974. He also asserts that it is impossible to isolate the separate effects of income rise on fertility rates by statistical analysis.

2 Faruqee, op. cit. p. 36.

3 Ratcliffe, John, ‘Social Justice and the Demographic Transition: lessons from India's Kerala state’, in International Journal of Health Services (Farmingdale, N.Y.), 8, 1, pp. 123–44. Beaver, op. cit. agrees that F.P. plays a facilitating rôle but does not cause lowered fertility.

1 See, for example, the conference paper by W. P. McGreevey and B. von Elm in Evaluating Family Planning Programs.

2 Kanagaratnam, Kandiah, ‘Population Policy and Family Planning Programs: trends in policy and administration’, World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 411, Washington, D.C., 08 1980, p. 20. See also Faruqee, op. cit. and Timothy King (ed.) Population Policies and Economic Development (Baltimore, 1974).

3 Ahmed, loc. cit. p. 156.

4 Cf. Corsa, Leslie and Oakley, Deborah, Population Planning (Ann Arbor, 1979), p. 65.

5 Bilsborrow, R., ‘Age Distribution and Savings Rates in Less Developed Countries’, in Economic Development and Cultural Change (Chicago), 28, 1, 10 1979, pp. 2345.

1 Caldwell, John C., ‘The Economic Rationality of High Fertility: an investigation illustrated with Nigerian survey data’, in Population Studies (London), 31, 1, 03 1977, pp. 529.

2 Ahmed, op. cit. p. 156.

3 Corsa and Oakley, op. cit. pp. 56–7.

4 E. Chancy, ‘Women and Population: some key policy, research, and action issues’, in Clinton (ed), op. cit. pp. 233–46.

1 Mölnos, Angela, Resources for Population Planning in East Africa, Vol. II (Nairobi, 1971), p. 377, and King (ed), op. cit. p. 1.

2 The lay reader might be referred to Brown, Lester et al. , Twenty- Two Dimensions of the Population Problem (Washington, D.C., 1975).

3 Richard Clinton, ‘Population, Politics and Political Science’, in Clinton (ed), op. cit. pp. 51–71.

1 See, for example, Mölnos, op. cit. Vol. I.

2 Cf. Waife, Ronald, ‘Traditional Methods of Birth Control in Zaire’, Pathfinder Fund, Boston, 12 1978; Barbara Furst, ‘Culture and Fertility’, in Evaluating Family Planning Programs; and Greeley, Edward, ‘Man and Fertility Regulation in Southern Meru: a case study from rural Kenya’, Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., 1977.

3 Cf. Shorter, Aylward, East African Societies (London, 1974) and Greeley, op. cit. p. 51.

4 It is not known for certain whether this is caused by greater spacing of pregnancies, the fact that there were more infertile women in polygynous compared to monogamous unions, or some other reason.

5 Beaver, op. cit. p. 44.

1 Ibid. For a critique of the notion of ‘insurance births’, and of ‘rational’ birth planning among the rural poor, see ibid. pp. 8 and 46.

2 Greeley, op. cit. p. 21.

1 Mölnos, op. cit. Vol. III.

1 Rogers, Everett, Communication Strategies for Family Planning (New York, 1973), pp. 1213.

1 Ibid. pp. 9–13. See also, Stamper, B. M., Population and Planning in Developing Nations (New York, 1977), for a review of African population policies and the specific concerns they express.

2 Corsa and Oakley, op. cit. p. 183. See also, Kanagaratnam, op. cit.

3 King (ed.), op. cit. p. 134.

1 Summarised in Sinding, op. cit. pp. 15–18.

2 Cf. Guihati, op. cit. p. 2.

3 ‘McNamara Calls U.S. “Disgraceful”’, in San Francisco Chronicle, 1 October 1980, p. 9.

1 Miro and Potter, op. cit. p. 110, note that ‘given the poor predictive power of existing fertility theory’, there are insufficient scientific grounds to argue that the development focus described above will guarantee lowered fertility. They partly answer the question this raises by conceding that such a strategy is ‘already desirable on other grounds’, and that the alternative approach of re-directing development with the hope of lowering fertility – i.e. restructuring basic elements of a country's social organisation – is far less feasible.

1 Cf. Editorial, ‘New Responsibility for Corporations’, in Poplirte, 3, 10, 10 1981, p. 2.

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The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
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