In Summary
  • A video clip was widely circulated in Kenya a few weeks back in which a prominent Kenyan entrepreneur urges Kenyan families to take procreation seriously, arguing that Kenyans ought to reject the ''fake'' call for family planning.
  • The speaker might not have intended harm, but to champion a race of child births just four months after many babies were found dead at the largest maternity hospital in Kenya is imprudent.
  • No prudent mothers will yield to this pressure to bear children under circumstances where the safety of mother and baby is left to a ping pong game between the county government and the medical practitioners guild.
  • Fancy theories such as a ''birth Olympics'' do not make a difference, except to condemn many more families to pain and suffering.

A video clip was widely circulated in Kenya a few weeks back. In the two-minute version that I watched, a prominent Kenyan entrepreneur urges Kenyan families to take procreation seriously, arguing that Kenyans ought to reject the ''fake'' call for family planning.

Among the more poignant statements is that ''China is great because of numbers. They have a population of more than one billion people''. Taken at face value, here was an undeniably successful businessman holding court on economic and social policy that would herald Kenya's prosperity.

The gist of the statements is that family planning, or birth control, is self-defeating because economic and political power is attained by global and continental population rank. By his demeanour and emphasis, the speaker was not being flippant and neither was he trying to simply entertain his audience.

This speaker’s primary argument was based on two propositions, the first one being that a large population creates opportunities for investments because every citizen would be a consumer and a producer. By this fact, Kenya could, through higher fertility, be creating bigger markets which in turn could result in national economic strength.

That speaker is not alone in making this straight line thinking that markets are the result of the collective demand by individuals. Therefore, the summation of these individual demands drives economic development at country level.

ECONOMIC DOMINATION

A second assumption was that every nationalist has an interest in economic domination of the world and that it is therefore the responsibility of the state to encourage high birth rates. Thus the failure to keep birth rates high would be to condemn Kenya to lower economic development in comparison to other countries with higher fertility and populations.

Research does not find direct links between economic and political development and population size per se. What exists is clearer evidence stating that overall economic development determines population because income levels and other welfare indices such as health affect fertility, family sizes and population growth rates. For the speaker whose clip is the subject of discussion here, it does not seem that ramping up marriage and child bearing is a sure tool for the economic and political gains as confidently asserted.

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