Fatal Misconception discusses the long and often inglorious history of birth control and population control including eugenics and the dismal forced sterilization and forced abortion programs in India and China. It’s written by a historian and keeps to a learned approach of the topic, which suggests that population control is less dependent on availability of contraception or coercive government program that the simple desire or not for couples to have large families. In other words, if popular wisdom is that two children is a good number most families will have two children. (The author nicely points out that he’s the eighth child in his family.) And women’s education seem to be closely related to that ideal family size, with more education correlating to smaller families.
I read this book immediately after Swize’s Test (see last post) and I could not help but see the parallel between obligatory birth control and mandatory AIDS tests. Perhaps the best approach to AIDS is to make health care available, to be sure, but to conduct a vigorous education campaign about it.