here's one way to avoid Malthusian Catastrophe

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sat, 02/09/2008 - 11:08.


With All Able-bodied Men at the Front French Women Have Had to Raise the Crops for Their Homes and Their Armies as Well

We might have thought of an agricultural collapse of the farming of this vast midwest as the undoing of society. For example, as we narrow the species of grain being planted in the American midwest (to some Monsanto or ADM one season special patented product). But here's another possibility for Malthusian Catastrophe: the insurance industry. Do you remember The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich? It was a bestseller among people of my parent's generation, those who had been the progenitors of the baby boom. But the Green Revolution interrupted Erhlich's projections.

 

"Cereal production more than doubled in developing nations between the years 1961 – 1985. Yields of rice, maize, and wheat increased steadily during that period. The production increases can be attributed roughly equally to irrigation, fertilizer, and seed development, at least in the case of Asian rice.

 

While agricultural output increased as a result of the Green Revolution, the energy input into the process (that is, the energy that must be expended to produce a crop) has also increased at a greater rate, so that the ratio of crops produced to energy input has decreased over time. Green Revolution techniques also heavily rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, some of which must be developed from fossil fuels, making agriculture increasingly reliant on petroleum products. Proponents of the Peak Oil theory fear that a future decline in oil and gas production would lead to a decline in food production or even a Malthusian catastrophe."  --from the above linked Wikipedia article.


So now that we are "eating oil" will the lack of maternity coverage from health insurance policies be the population control for Americans?

Ideas such as paid family leave and universal health care are much talked about in the presidential primaries, but are still just a dream in this wealthy country, what how will leaders cover the shortfall? Is this a warm up? Oh by the way, you can't afford to have children because you can't afford the premiums?

Last night reading Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken, I read through a chapter that addresses this very topic, one I have to admit our family faced when we looked at the intersection of family and money.

In a 02006 article, Michael Chabon poetically put it this way:

“[I]n having children—in engendering them, in loving them, in teaching them to love and care about the world—parents are betting, whether they know it or not, on the Clock of the Long Now. They are betting on their children, and their children after them, and theirs beyond them, all the way down the line from now to 12,006.”

 

From the article Catastrophe a good bet - “Even having kids is a bet, from this angle. Still, there are less lyrical, though deeply significant, bets being placed all the time — and not just on Superbowl Sunday. One relatively new arena for betting explicitly on future possibilities in the world of finance is the catastrophe bond.”

It's a risky world we live in...

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is healthcare reform pro-life?

No, apparently it isn't. It isn't quite just either, and it remains racist. 

It's good to have a foot in the door, but even before we end the party or wait with bated breath for the Senate shenanigans, here's some data for you to consider: Death by Birth: Race and Maternal Mortality.

While some of us are fortunate to consider becoming Femivores, others are destined to lose their lives and their children due to lack of adequate or any healthcare.

From the article:

African-American women are nearly four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. These rates and disparities have not improved in more than 20 years.

Despite representing only 32 percent of women, women of color make up 51 percent of women without insurance. Women of color are also less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services. Native American and Alaska Native women are 3.6 times, African-American women 2.6 times and Latina women 2.5 times as likely as white women to receive late or no prenatal care. Women of color are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women. In high-risk pregnancies, African-American women are 5.6 times more likely to die than white women.

Women of color are more likely to experience discriminatory and inappropriate treatment and poorer quality of care.

From a human rights standpoint, that statistic places the United States behind many other industrialized countries despite the enormous amount the country spends on health care. The high rate of maternal deaths among Black women along with the shockingly high Black infant mortality rates;are a haunting testament to stark inequalities in health insurance coverage and access to prenatal care and family planning services. Drawing on federal data in the context of international human rights mandates, Amnesty reports:

 


Despite representing only 32 percent of women, women of color make up 51 percent of women without insurance.

Women of color are also less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services. Native American and Alaska Native women are 3.6 times, African-American women 2.6 times and Latina women 2.5 times as likely as white women to receive late or no prenatal care. Women of color are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women. In high-risk pregnancies, African-American women are 5.6 times more likely to die than white women.

Women of color are more likely to experience discriminatory and inappropriate treatment and poorer quality of care.

 

So we've taken a step, but we're gonna have to keep on steppin'. Those pro-life republicans and those anti-abortion democrats... do they read data or not? And if they don't, shouldn't they? And if they do, but still rave on about the "right to life", how do they sleep at night knowing these things? Will healthcare reform - insurance reform help these women and children who have a "right to life"? We'll just have to wait and wait and wait and see. 

Meanwhile, let's take a look at how we, the US citizenry and our multinational allies, probably unkowingly, treat women worldwide. This is worth reading: Gender Guide to World Bank and IMF Policy-Based Lending.

Whacko capitalists just can't seem to respect "yo mama' no matter where she is. Pro-life, right? I keep writing about reproductive labor, and when I even use the term in public (like among environmentalists who are well versed in the costs of externalities), I get these quizzical looks. I am not asking to receive an onslaught of mother's day cards, just for someone else to recognize that the Equal Rights Amendment (still not passed after years of being shelved) - OK not the ERA, but the actions that have come in its wake - lessening of gender discrimination in the 'formal' (not home) workplace, while it has dumped millions of women into the corporate sector where they can smash their pretty heads against a glass ceiling, doesn't go far enough. It doesn't take a truly pro-life view into account. Maybe in the next administration... sigh.

pro-choice till conception

I saw that picket sign the other day, and decided not to waste time trying to figure that one out.  We have not stepped forward for women's health care in this reform. Backing off and playing nicely is costing us way too much. This article from The Nation spells it well.  Read more.

Do people even remember what the ERA was all about? Those radical sentences that made people foam at the mouth

 

 Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

 The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Scary stuff, right?