Does Rapid Population Growth Lead to War?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

From obstetrician and public health expert Malcolm Potts, responding to readers in the ongoing population forum:

Nearly all the fragile states such as Yemen (average number of children 6.2), Somalia (6.8 children), and the oxymoronic named Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.7) have rapid rates of population growth. (North Korea, with its mad despotic ruler is an exception proving the rule). Consider the Congo with 63 million people today and perhaps 186 million in 2050. Since World War II, there have been more deaths in the Congo from violence than anywhere else on earth. Yet the intentional community is doing almost nothing to help slow population growth in a voluntary way. I am on the board of Population Services International and we sell contraceptives at a subsidized prices in many countries, including the Congo. But we cannot keep up with demand because of shortages of contraceptives. The United Nations Population Fund and other agencies and donors interested in family planning and population growth should stop having so many staff going to innumerable meetings and start buying more contraceptives. Family planning is about commonsense, but common sense is a rare commodity when it comes to anything to do with sex and reproduction.

Agree? Disagree? Join our population conversation here.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend