fertilizers have made more food available for eachperson on earth. Even more food may be on the way, for bioengineers are making breakthroughs in agriculture.Despite droughts and civil wars, the global production of meat, fish, and cereals (grains and rice) continues to increase (“Food Outlook” 2008; “Crop Prospects” 2009).People don’t starve because the earth produces too little food, but because particular places lack food. Droughts and wars are the main reasons. Just as droughts slow or stop food production, so does war. The U.S. government pays farmers to reducetheir crops. The United States’ problem is too much food; West Africa’s is too little. Starving children are going to continue to peer out at us from our televisions and magazines, their tiny, shriveled bodies and bloated stomachs nagging at our conscience and imploring us to do something. Regardless of the underlying causes of this human misery, it has a simple solution: oFood can be transferred from nations that have a surplus. The reason for famines in Africa, then, cannotbe too many people living on too little land.Population GrowthEven if starvation is the result of a maldistribution of food rather than overpopulation, thefact remains that the Least Industrialized Nations are growing thirteen times faster than the Most Industrialized Nations (Haub and Kent 2008). Why the Least industrialized Nations Have So Many Children: It will help if we apply the symbolic interactionist perspective. We must take the role of the other so that we can understand. As our culture does for us, their culture provides a perspective on life that guides their choices. Let’s consider three reasons why bearing many children plays a central role in their lives—and in the lives of millions upon millions of poor people around the world.oFirstis the status of parenthood. In the Least Industrialized Nations, motherhood is the most prized status a woman can achieve. The more children a woman bears,the more she is thought to have achieved the purpose for which she was born. Similarly, a man proves his manhood by fathering children. The more children he fathers, especially sons, the better—for through them his name lives on.oSecond,the community supports this view. Children are a sign of God’s blessing. By producing children, people reflect the values of their community, achieve status, and are assured that they are blessed by God. It is the barren woman, not the woman with a dozen children, who is to be pitied. You can see how these factors provide strong motivations for bearing many children. There is also another powerful incentive: For poor people in the Least Industrialized Nations, children are economic assets.Children begin contributing to the family income ata young age. But even more important: Children are the equivalent of our Social Security. In the Least Industrialized Nations, the government does not provide social security or medical and unemployment insurance. This motivates people to bear more
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