A Heated Conversation With a Population Control Freak: The Main Cause of Pop Growth are Repressive Economic Policies!
I was invited to join a Facebook group hilariously named Taga-UP Diliman Versus Others RH Bill Debates. As if UP-Diliman folks are a special species of the Filipino ‘race’. As expected, my first posts caught the attention of a notorious pro-RH bill creature named Eusebio Seballos. I actually don’t know who this guy is and I don’t intend to know his biography, but I think he’s one of the loudest defenders of the bill on Facebook.
I posted the following blogs to gain the attention of some of the group’s sensible, active-minded habitues:
- Understanding the President’s Economic Czar
- UP Economists’ RH Paper = Emotionalism Plus Anti-Intellectualism
- Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s RH Bill Illogic
- PNoy’s Malthusian/Marxist Economist: ‘PH must manage its population and decrease its dependency rates’
Here’s my observation of those who rely on the fallacy that there’s a correlation between poverty and population to defend the infamous RH bill. They cannot honestly tell what’s the ideal fertility rate for the Philippines. This is a fact. The country’s fertility rate has been steadily declining in recent years, but the pro-RH camp is apparently trying to ignore this very basic fact. It appears that they want a sudden drop in our fertility and growth rates. For example, the question that NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan deliberately tried to dodge is: “What’s the ideal fertility rate for the country?” This question was posed by Sen. Enrile. Balisacan did not respond directly to the question. Instead he mentioned the UN’s replacement rate of 2.1. By the way, did the UN actually give that figure? I didn’t actually try to find out… 😉
In regard to Mr. Seballos’s style and arguments, what he did is that he simply posted a lot of graphs and statistics to prove his case that lower fertility rate and population is the key to economic progress. Again, he simply parroted the neo-Malthusian talking points made by Balisacan and the UP economists who published a position paper in support of the population control measure. I agree with the observation made by a group member who said that “Seballos was just showing statistical graphs. There was no statistical analysis presented like the margin of error. There was no sampling done. Those were just pure trend lines.” Perhaps the neo-Malthusian guy simply thinks those statistics speak for themselves. That they’re not open to interpretation.
Commenting on one of my blogs, Seballos said: “[V]ery high birth rate result in a population age distribution that is skewed towards the dependents rather than bolstering the producers.”
My reply is as follows: “Do we have a high birth rate? Are you trying to say birth rate has been increasing in the RP for years? That’s not true. Again, it is futile to fix the alleged population problem without focusing on economic liberalization, which is the only solution to our worsening level of poverty and unemployment.
Seballos: “Yes, we do. No, birth rate in Phil is not increasing. Even though it is decreasing, it is still too high relative to our death rate. Pls refer to the link I have re demographic transition.”
He also said in another post: “It is not so much overpopulation but rather it is the high rate of population growth. One aim of the RH Bill is to balance population growth with jobs growth. High population growth rate suffocates economic growth.”
Vincenton Post (ME): What’s the current birth rate in the Philippines? Once you get the figure, compare that with other countries that have the same birth rate… Let’s see if your conclusion that “high birth rate” causes economic problems is supported by facts and statistics… Plus, do we have a VERY HIGH BIRTH RATE?”
Seballos: “the current fertility rate is 3.19. And it is far above 2.1. Yes, we have very high birth rate. The Phil is in Stage 2 of the demographic transition, i.e., high birth rate and low death rate. We should lower our birth rate because we have already one of the lowest death rate in the region.
Vincenton Post: “Let’s see if there’s some correlation there. Is that high enough? 3 babies per woman? Yet Pakistan has lower fert. rate of 3.07. Laos has 3.06. Botswana has 2.46. NORTH KOREA has 2.1. Is NoKor richer than us? LOL! What you’re trying to do is you’re simply looking at countries in terms of fert. rates and then conclude, well, lower fert. rates must be the answer to poverty. If that’s all we need to do to be progressive, then why is North Korea so poor? What you don’t understand is that rich countries become rich by adopting free market reforms… I believe that overpopulation does not cause poverty, although the first can have the capacity to exacerbate the second. Actually it is the other way around: it is poverty that causes population to grow. Rapid population growth is actually a symptom, rather than a cause, of low national output and poor economic performance. IT IS POVERTY THAT CAUSES POPULATION TO GROW!”
Seballos: “we are talking averages when it comes to our data. To discover the correlation, check the world statistics. The world statistics evens out he extraneous variables in country by country statistics. Here is the TFR trend in the world, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=494676963879375&set=a.494676950546043.131739.100000112283780&type=3&theater ”
In regard to the issue of correlation, here’s pro-RH bill fanatics should try to understand: Correlation does not imply causation. That’s logic!
Vincenton Post :Are you saying that if we’re below 2.1 replacement rate we’d become as rich as Japan? That’s a fallacy. Why is NoKor, which has 2.1 fert. rate, poorer than us? It does not follow, comrade. Like I said… Try to understand that poor countries are poor because they have repressive economic policies. And it is their poverty that’s CAUSING THEIR POPULATION TO GROW. Here, there’s a established correlation… For instance, top ten countries with the highest fertility rate are Niger, Uganda, Mali, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, and Republic of Congo. What do these countries have in common? They’re all poor. But why are they so poor? Let’s see how the Heritage Foundation ranked these countries in terms of economic freedom. Niger was given the freedom score of 52.9 or mostly unfree; Uganda (62.2 or moderately free); Mali (55.6 or mostly unfree); Somalia (not ranked because of its chaotic domestic affairs); Burkina Faso (59.4 or mostly unfree); Democratic Republic of Congo (41.4 or repressed); Angola (48.4 or repressed); Ethiopia (51.2 or mostly unfree); and Republic of Congo (43.2 or repressed). You’re using those graphs and statistics without understanding their context. Graphs won’t prove a point. You can only use them TO ANALYZE DATA…”
Seballos: “I do understand why I use the graphs and their context along with other information that I have linked like the demographic transition model.”
Vincenton Post: “But you simply refuse to understand that it is POVERTY (caused by repressive economic policies) that CAUSES POPULATION TO GROW… And those progressive countries are not even USING POP CONTROL PROGRAM. Instead they’ve adopted PRO-NATALIST POLICIES to encourage their people to procreate!
Seballos: “just to remind you that fertility rate of 2.1 is replacement rate for the mother and the father while taking into account mortality rate. In terms of the total population, replacement rate is quite different. There are other factors to consider like median age, age at firs marriage, etc.”
Vincenton Post: “I know that… You simply refuse to understand that it is POVERTY (caused by repressive economic policies) that CAUSES POPULATION TO GROW… And those progressive countries are not even USING POP CONTROL PROGRAM. Instead they’ve adopted PRO-NATALIST POLICIES to encourage their people to procreate!”
Seballos: “I understand that poverty causes population to grow, not because of poverty per se but because poor people are less educated. That is why the RH Bill includes education like sex education, family planning education, etc.”
Vincenton Post: “If you clearly understand that, then, why spend your time advocating sound economic policies that would create jobs for our people instead of supporting the RH bill. It is futile to pass the bill without opening our economy to foreign investors and adopting free market reforms. Like I said, higher employment is the best BIRTH CONTROL METHOD. That’s established by the experiences of Singapore, Russia, and Japan. These countries didn’t have to pass population control measures to curb their population. Instead they’re worried about their declining birth rates that they’ve adopted pro-natalist policies.”
Seballos: “you did not read my post. I said RH Bill includes education.”
Vincenton Post: “The people don’t need that kind of education. Like I said here: “Even with or without parental consent, the state should have no business telling young people what to do. The only role of teachers and schools is to teach students how to think, not what to think. The best alternative is: LET FREEDOM WORKS. If private, non-Catholic schools would like to teach sex education, then let them teach it. Catholic schools or any religious schools should not be coerced by the state to teach things against their faith. The state has to respect the religious schools’ right to practice religion and their PROPERTY RIGHTS. This is why the government should have no business running or managing publicly funded education!!!””
Seballos: “they need education because the reason why poor people have more children is because they are not educated in family planning methods. RH Bill will target poor people to be educated in family planning along with sex education for the general population.”
Vincenton Post: “Private organizations are more equipped in performing that job. I don’t trust our public education system. You can put up your own RH organization if you want. But that doesn’t defeat the fact that it’s ALL ABOUT OUR POVERTY. You cannot legislate poverty. Again, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, and even China achieved economic progress by simply adopting free market reforms, lower taxes, less regulations. How many millions of Chinese died during the Great Leap Forward program of Mao? They say it’s more than 45 million? Did that make China any richer? NO! China only became rich after Deng S.P. betrayed the country’s Maoist principles and adopted free market reforms by joining the WTO in 2001.”
Seballos: No. Experience taught us that is not the case in the Philippines. For example Ex Mayor Villegas has interrupted and disrupted family planning in Manila where it is most needed. RH Bill will essentially make it clearly and obviously illegal for people like him to stop family planning clinics anywhere in the country. No, you can’t make poverty illegal. But RH Bill is one legislation that will provide the environment wherein it is easy for people to get out of poverty by limiting the number of their children.”
Vincenton Post: “I don’t know what kind of experience are you talking about… Over two or three decades ago, RP was richer than other countries in Asia because of having USA as its trading partner and because many Asian countries were (China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) SEMI-CLOSED economies. While RP adopted protectionism and regulations, these Asian countries adopted free market policies and encouraged FDI by lowering taxes and embracing deregulation and even privatization. RP remains poor while its neighboring countries achieved economic progress. LOL! Legislating poverty means you cannot simply pass laws to defeat poverty.”
Seballos: “I am saying that population management to balance pop growth and jobs growth is always present in a country that made it rich.”
Vincenton Post: “Many of those rich countries DO NOT EVEN ADOPT POPULATION CONTROL POLICIES. Instead they adopt PRO-NATALIST POLICIES. There’s a difference between PEOPLE in rich countries VOLUNTARILY USING CONTRACEPTION (without government intervention) and GOVERNMENTS ACTIVELY TRYING TO CURB POPULATION. That’s what you don’t understand. It seems that you don’t know how to analyze that graph.”
Seballos: “yes, you did. But I have repeated that there are extraneous variables that explains those in the countries that you have cited. To control these extraneous variable, we look at the averages for the world.”
Vincenton Post: Let me try to illustrate this point of mine: “There’s a difference between PEOPLE in rich countries VOLUNTARILY USING CONTRACEPTION (without government intervention) and GOVERNMENTS ACTIVELY TRYING TO CURB POPULATION.” For example, people in Japan and South Korea and Singapore voluntarily use contraception without being told by their governments. They’re PERSONALLY FUNDING THEIR OWN CONTRACEPTION, not their governments. The irony is, their governments instead encourage them to procreate. On the other hand, what the RP is trying to do is CURB POPULATION actively through the RH bill.”\
Seballos: “NO, it is not correct to say that in Japan and South Korea people have no help when it comes to family planning. People in rich countries have government help when it comes to contraception. But as to how many are taking this offer, maybe less percentage wise because people there have the resources to do it on their own.”
Vincenton Post: “wow! AGAIN, are you trying to say Japan, Singapore and Russia are trying to control their population. My dear comrade, trying to delude your self won’t work. The facts are clear. Let me rephrase my question: ARE YOU SAYING JAPAN, SINGAPORE AND RUSSIA ARE MIMICKING PHILIPPINE’S POP CONTROL PROGRAM TO GET RICH?”
Seballos: “I’ll put it this way: Population management is part of their economic policy in every rich country. No, they are not mimicking any country. Population management is part of any rich country’s policy.”
HERE, the guy simply thinks that Japan’s, Singapore’s, and Russia’s pro-natalist policy is just the same as our population control/management policy. What the guy doesn’t understand is that the Japanese, Russian and Singaporean governments are actually BRIBING or FORCING their people to procreate and produce more babies. Mr. Seballos has a very different interpretation.
Vincenton Post: “The way you’re trying hard to evade the question is fantastic. You mean to say Japan and Russia and Singapore are trying to control their population? By control I mean decrease their population like what RP is trying to do.”
His response is absolutely hilarious!
Seballos: “yes, they in the sense that when their fertility rate is low, they try to increase it; when their fertility rate is high, they try to decrase it. That is population control as far as my understanding is concerned.”
Vincenton Post: “I can understand when a person tries his best to fool his own self. But I cannot understand why a person needs to fool himself in order to defend his foolishness. Again, those countries became rich by simply adopting free market reforms, not by curbing their population.”
Seballos: “so, you are a mind reader, this time. So, you are cynical about “demographic transition” model of economists and demographers?”
Vincenton Post: Let me summarize my points… It is poverty that causes pop. to grow… Rich countries are rich not because they curbed their population, but because they adopted free market reforms. The Philippines don’t need the RH bill. It only needs to follow in the footsteps of Singapore and HK to defeat poverty and create jobs. That’s the only way for the people to be more economically independent. The people don’t have to rely on the state for condoms and other freebies. An independent citizenry is the key to a free and informed society.”
Again his reply to that statement is freakin’ hilarious!
Seballos: “You mean people choose to be rich first in order to have less children; or people chose to be poor in order to have many children. These do not make sense. What makes sense is this: people choose to have less children in order to be rich because they know that with many children it is extremely difficult if not impossible to become rich.”
Vincenton Post: “That is the funniest thing I’ve ever read from you. What you said doesn’t make any sense. Many countries are poor because of their governments’ repressive economic policies. In North Korea, even if their people chose to be rich, they can’t be rich because of the NoKorian government’s socialist policies (e.g., no property rights and all modes of productive are controlled by the state). Same with other semi-socialist countries in Africa. You can say whatever you want to defend you RH bill madness. But there’s one thing you need to know- and I’ll be very honest- you don’t know what you’re talking about, comrade. It is repressive economic policies that causes poverty, and poverty is the root cause of population growth in the poorest countries. In other words, the cause of the cause of population growth is repressive economic policies. You should know how to analyze statistics and graphs. The mere fact that you see that poor countries have high fertility rates and that rich countries have low fertility rates doesn’t mean ‘overpopulation’ causes poverty. CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION. What causes poverty, again, is repressive and failed economic policies. And poverty and unemployment cause population to grow.”
Seballos: “That’s my way of highlighting what you said, namely that high birth rates is caused by poverty. No, it does not make sense as I have explained. Thailand and Phil statistics is clear. Thailand started aggressive family planning in 1960s and its fertility rate decreased to 1.56 while Phil fertility rate is 3.19. Today, Thailand has 67million people and Phil has 104million people when in 1960 they each had about 27million. So, family planning was mainly responsible for the decline in Thailand’s fertility rate. Now, Thailand has $8,700 GDP per capita and Phil has $3,500. You also said “You should know how to analyze statistics and graphs. The mere fact that you see that poor countries have high fertility rates and that rich countries have low fertility rates doesn’t mean ‘overpopulation’ causes poverty. CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION. What causes poverty, again, is repressive and failed economic policies. And poverty and unemployment cause population to grow.” Here is the statistical chart for Thailand and the Phil that say it all, http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.495560850457653.131973.100000112283780&type=3 More statistics on how fertility rates are correlated to GDP per capita via population age distributions.”
A certain Romeo C.J. joined the discussion. I cannot mention his full name since I didn’t ask for his permission. Romeo said: “GDP per capita in the Philipines has been that low because there are no aggressive initiatives to increase GDP. Take note, we are not exporting agricultural products which supposedly should haved increased our GDP. Our economy relies on the income of OFW’s. South Korea and Thailand have exports that add value to their GDP’s. As you said, GDP per capita will continue to decrease because population will continue to increase even with the RH Bill. You are so dumb, Eusebio Seballos, in reliying to your Grade 4 Math. Produce and produce more… is the key to increase GDP per capita.”
Vincenton Post: “What you said is utter stupidity: “You mean people choose to be rich first in order to have less children; or people chose to be poor in order to have many children. These do not make sense.” If you don’t know what’s wrong with that madness, then there’s something wrong with your brain. I explained that above. You don’t even know why some countries are rich while others are poor. If you don’t know that, there’s no use arguing with a clueless creature here. Eusebio Seballos: “Thailand started aggressive family planning in 1960s and its fertility rate decreased to 1.56 while Phil fertility rate is 3.19.” – There you go again on your failed argument that lower fertility rate and population could make a country more economically progressive. Do I have to repeat what I said above? Why is Thailand not richer than the Israel that has 2.7 fert. rate, Brazil (2.18). And if lower fertility rate is your basis for economic progress, why is North Korea with 2.02 fert. rate so poor? Why are we still more improved than Vietnam (with has 1.91 fert. rate) in terms of GDP? Also in terms of GDP, why are we more improved than Algeria with 1.75? Also compared with Palau with 1.73. Palau is currently at 218th in terms of GDP. Others:
- Trinidad and Tobago (1.73 FR) is ranked 113th in terms of GDP.
- Turks and Caicos Islands (1.7 FR) is ranked 214 in terms of GDP.
- Barbados (1.68 FR) is ranked 156th in terms of GDP.
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1.55 FR) is ranked 222th in terms of GDP.
- Georgia (1.45 FR) is ranked 120th in terms of GDP.
Seballos: “I was rephrasing what you yourself said, namely that poverty causes families to have many children, like so, Families are poor first, then they have many children. That is what you said in effect by saying that
poverty causes families to have many children. So, do you mean you are taking your words back? if you average the fertility rates and the corresponding GDP per capita of all countries, then the pattern emerged, namely, that as fertility rates decline, GDP per capita increases. If you still don’t realize it, statistics is recognizing patterns of averages, among others, of two variables like fertility rates and GDP per capita and discover relationships between these two variables using statistical tools. I am not going to say, you are stupid or moronic. It is my interest to educate you in ways to analysis statistics on fertility rates and GDP per capita as they relate. neither would I say, you do not know what you are talking about. I am just pointing out the patterns and relations between averages of fertility rates and GDP per capita of countries in the world. apart from averages, you can also use trends to examine the patters of fertility rates and GDP per capita. For example, you wrote this “Trinidad and Tobago (1.73 FR) is ranked 113th in terms of GDP.” Using rank analysis is not appropriate in recognizing patterns of fertility rate and GDP per capita. But trend analysis is. Here are two charts showing the year by year trends in fertility rate and GDP per capita of Tobago, Here is Tobago’s fertility trend over the period 1960 to 2011. Notice that it has declined, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497276843619387&set=a.494676950546043.131739.100000112283780&type=3&theater And here is Tobago’s corresponding GDP per capita over the same period. Notice that it has increased, http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=497276976952707&set=a.494676950546043.131739.100000112283780&type=3&permPage=1 As you can see, as Tobago’s fertility rate declined, its GDP per capita increased. This is to demonstrate that as fertility rate declines, GDP per capita increases. You can use this statistical procedure to examine the patterns and relationship of fertility rates and GDP per capita for each country. Finally, notice that you have to choose the appropriate statistical method to analyze data. It is not just any statistical method.
A certain Gregory M. made the following comment: “You use the tools without actually understanding them. CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSALITY, mr. “I eat causality for breakfast!””
Seballos: “who said that correlation is causality? You are building straws or sand castles.”
Gregory M.: “You may deny it all you want but the fact of the matter is that you show these graphs thinking it shows causality. Graphs can only show correlation. Building straws or sandcastles? That is you, with your statement “people choose to be rich before choosing to have less children,” you don’t get it do you? Poverty is not a choice! But having more children is. Why is that? Because a. In poor countries they have less maternal and infant care. So they have higher infant mortality. How do they compensate? Have more kids! B. lesser developed countries might not have a developed social security system. Thus their retirement plans are based on their children taking care of them! C. Lesser developed countries are usually agricultural with small landholdings. These subsistence type farms benefit from having more children to help in the household and the farm. If your real aim is to solve poverty, shouldn’t you at least try to understand its real causes and really understand the mentality of the poor instead of just giving them condoms and pills?”
Joffre: “Since you became a statistician, Eusebio Seballos.”
Vincenton Post: “Eusebio Seballos said: “you said that poverty causes many children. Is it not another way of saying that before families have many children, they become poor first? This is your assertion not mine.” — Are you out of your mind? Do you even know what’s wrong with that question or statement? If poverty causes population growth, the only solution is sound, practical economic policies not the RH bill that will only make people dependent or palamunin on the government. How many times do I have to tell you that many progressive nations with low fertility rates adopted pro-NATALIST policies instead of population control policies. Their people use contraceptives using their own money.”
In another post Seballos said: “The Phil at the moment wants to encourage lower fertility rate because it is very high at this time. That is in the RH Bill.”
My reply: “That’s because the PH government is simply trying to DENY the fact that it is POVERTY caused by its failed economic policies that actually CAUSES our population to grow. NOPE! Wait! Our fert. rates has been on the wane for years!!! Why is that? Without the RH bill, our population continued to decrease? Oh! One possible reason is the fact that many Filipinos want to migrate or to work to foreign countries because they can’t find jobs here… Has there been any talk about following in the footsteps of Singapore and Hong Kong? NOPE! It’s all about controlling our declining population! There’s no talk about adopting free market reforms.”
I posed the following question to Seballos (and now to the bill’s fanatic supporters): “If you argue that LOWER POPULATION OR FERTILITY RATE makes a country richer or MORE PROGRESSIVE, why are these countries (e.g., North Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Barbados, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Georgia) with VERY LOW FERTILITY RATES NOT AS RICH AS JAPAN or SINGAPORE or HONG KONG?”
Mr. Seballos the expert dodger’s answer: “I have explained that your understanding, analysis, and interpretation of statistics on fertility rates in relation to GDP pc is flawed. You have completely forgotten that statistics is about averages and not individual number. You are completely ignorant, statistically speaking.”
Vincenton Post: “You can’t even answer a very basic question because you simply don’t know what you’re talking about LOL. If you understood your statistics, you’d have discovered the flaw in your pseudo-analysis. Yet you have the gall to type pure gibberish. And if you really understood your alleged statistics upon which you stupidly based your lunatic idea that LOWER POPULATION OR FERTILITY RATE makes a country richer or MORE PROGRESSIVE, THEN, why are these countries (e.g., North Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Barbados, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Georgia) with VERY LOW FERTILITY RATES NOT AS RICH AS JAPAN or SINGAPORE or Hong Kong?”
My final challenge to the neo-Malthusian guy:
“I am giving you the opportunity to apply your knowledge of “statistics” yet it seems you’re simply trying your best to evade, ignore my FINAL question… Perhaps it’s because you can’t simply HONESTLY answer it, right? Again, using your (mis)understanding of what you call “statistical indexes like averages”, kindly explain why there are very poor countries with very low fertility rates and population that are NOT AS RICH AS JAPAN or SINGAPORE or Hong Kong? Is that not contrary to your claim, including those made by some UP professors, NEDA chief Balicasan and statistician Winnie Monsod, that LOWER POPULATION OR FERTILITY RATE makes a country richer or MORE PROGRESSIVE?”