lunes, 23 de mayo de 2016

MercatorNet: India’s declining fertility

MercatorNet: India’s declining fertility

India’s declining fertility

Population panic turns to concern about fertility problems.
Shannon Roberts | May 23 2016 | comment 1 
It was a visit to a crowded Indian street that first led Paul Erhlich to devise his now disproven theories about the mass starvation of humans due to overpopulation.  Many still assume India to be an increasingly over-populated country with a high fertility rate.  However, that is simply not the case.  The Times of India recently reported that the fertility rate in Indian cities is now lower than that of the United States, Australia and France, stating:
Data from the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) on the total fertility rate (TFR) shows that since 2006 the TFR in urban areas has touched 2 children per woman and from 2010 has fallen below that level. That means there aren't enough children born in Indian cities to replace the existing population of their parents.
The rural fertility rate of 2.5 is higher, but it too has declined steeply. The household size of urban areas and slums are also now similar (averaging about 4.7 people), with slum areas achieving a far more equal child sex ratio (probably due to less access to ultrasound technology).
The Times of India also reported this month on a growing infertility problem, reflecting on whether India’s family culture is being threatened by low birth rates:
In our country, where parenthood is considered the true indicator of a happy married life, infertility is becoming a grave concern for many. It is a growing concern and research suggests that it has gone up by 20-30 per cent in the past five years.
Family culture in India follows a patriarchal structure wherein generations of a family often live under the same roof.  Traditionally, the older generation takes care of the younger, and then the younger generations repay the favour in turn.  For many Indians, sacrificing individualism for the collective interest is a strongly held value. 
Already an ageing population and lower fertility rates is causing concern about the dignity and happiness of the elderly in India.  Low fertility rates and the weakening of family structures could threaten the support systems and family values so many Indians both hold dear and depend on.
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In our lead story today, Margaret Somervillle discusses the ethics of head transplants. Or whole body transplants, which sounds a bit more acceptable. This is, no kidding, a serious proposal by an Italian transplant surgeon. One person has already volunteered to be the head. All that is needed is a body and a country where an ethics committee will give its blessing to the project. 

This brought back fond memories of late-night creature features. In the 50s and 60s they really knew how to make B-grade horror films. Lots of blood and gore, a few mad scientists, a barely plausible pretext for a plot, and a flickering black & white TV. Nothing can be more satisfying than that.
Given the Italian surgeon's proposal, The Brain that Wouldn't Die now looks prophetic. Does anyone remember The Fly, about a scientist who also loses his head, albeit in a more creative way? Or, my favourite, The Blob, Steve McQueen's first feature? If this is prophetic, we're in trouble. From a meteorite oozes a gooey slime which dissolves and absorbs everything living it touches, eventually absorbing most inhabitants in a small American town. Steve & Co dispose of it by dumping it in the Arctic. We're safe, says Steve, "as long as the Arctic stays cold." With global warming, who knows how long that will be? 

Michael Cook



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An Italian surgeon wants to perform head transplants.

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It's not Chariots of Fire, but still an enjoyable family movie.

India’s declining fertility

Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 23 May 2016
Population panic turns to concern about fertility problems.

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