Letter: Parenthood taxes not the answer to population problems

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Sir: Professor Sir Roy Calne's proposals to combat the world's population problems - licensing, tax penalties, fertility limitation and age limits - are only 'quick fix' solutions for a far more complex situation ('Tax parenthood to save the world, says top surgeon', 10 August).

The professor's assertions that 'too many people are draining the 'global' state' seems to suggest that he disapproves of poverty in the world, but instead of considering a real solution such as a narrowing of the huge difference in wealth distribution globally, he would like to introduce draconian interventionism to curb numbers.

The professor can excuse his own large family because they are 'gainfully employed' and 'not a drain on the state'. Maybe only the children of wealth and privilege should have the 'right to life'.

Professor Calne is right to be fearful of 'mass migration and worldwide conflict' but he should recognise these as symptoms of the struggle between the 'haves and the have-nots'.

The one thing I do agree with in the article is the idea of 'pre- parenting counselling at school', not to curb the numbers of children but to educate potential parents in their social responsibilities. Teaching children about life should be just as important as academic subjects.

As to Professor Calne's suggestion that laboratories should be set up to resolve the social problems, 'Big Brother' science has no place in these problems. It is up to the governments and peoples of the world to get together and resolve these issues positively. The world has enough resources. They just aren't shared out fairly.

Yours faithfully,



11 August