Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Energy policy could include sterilization bounty

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-12-20

Perhaps the greenest policy a government could introduce would be a bounty for vasectomies and tubal ligation.

Sure, there are some adjustments to economic policy required when populations drop and age, but that’s no bad thing.  Consider:

  • Per-capita assets dramatically increased in post-plague Europe.  Fewer resources were needed for mere survival, more assets available for investment (not just capital), while a shrinking labor force increased the power of the oppressed masses and led to great improvements in the human condition.
  • As demonstrated in modern Japan, an older population demands investment in new technologies, such as robotics, which promotes an entirely new industry, and creates opportunities for competitive advantage for nations that make the proper investments in research and production.

So, imagine a $15K bounty for a proper removal of a decent inch or so (not mere ligation) of sperm ducts and fallopian tubes for those without children, a 5K bounty for those with only child (or one successful pregancy if twins/triplets arrived naturally).  That would create a massive incentive for population restriction, and decrease the need for governments to subsidize installation of energy/water efficient devices.

It could even be useful for governments to offer the bounty after the first pregnancy on condition it was repaid immediately on any subsequent pregnancy that was not terminated.

Another approach might include more market-driven forces: carbon credits and trading for people based on the number of children they have before sterilization, with no credits available for more than one child.

Unlike carbon sequestration, the technology for sterilization is guaranteed to work and reduce both the dangers from climate change and water shortages.  What is more, it is almost guaranteed to improve quality of life of the next generation because of the increase in per-capita assets, even without a government bounty.

But first, the baby bonus must go!


6 Responses to “Energy policy could include sterilization bounty”

  1. Guy said

    An interesting idea Dave, but it represents such a paradigm shift from how political parties think about the “generational aging” issue, that one would think the major parties would not touch this approach with a barge pole. I agree with your comment on the baby bonus however – a pointless and counter-productive policy leftover from the Howard Government.

  2. opit said

    With the changing demographics of the population it puts an even greater proportion of the total into disability and/or high maintenance. That is hardly a robust social structure, adaptable to changing and harsh conditions.

  3. Dave Bath said

    I disagree with “high maintenance” concept for older persons, who are usually in much better shape than their same-age cohorts of a century ago. Labor-saving devices can play a huge role, be they ones yet to be invented, or humble ones, like the washing machines rather than the old copper and hand-wringers.

    The other thing that can prevent a “high maintenance” is the changing attitude to euthanasia. Many baby-boomers have no intention of descending into dotage, and I’d hope things improve so I don’t have to go on hunger strike like my grandfather who was confined to a nursing home after falling of the roof at 89.

  4. Jacques Chester said


    The point with aging populations is that the biggest cost of old people is the last 6 weeks of life.

    Younger folk tend not to die from lingering illnesses, statistically speaking, and so cost much less for dying young.

  5. Dave Bath said

    You say "Biggest cost of old people is the last 6 weeks of life."
    Spot on! A more enlightened attitude that gave freedom to people to avoid dotage has significant cost benefits – although fee-for-service medicine won’t be happy!

    I’m reminded of the eskimo tradition of walking out of the igloo and looking for a hungry polar bear.

  6. opit said

    I’m a lot closer to the Fort Churchill garbage dump than you are !
    Point taken, of course. The first trick is always to get people to choose the best path. The churches aren’t really wrong about ‘sin’ being native programming : they just bury its true meaning under gobbledegook ; the greatest error of all !

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