Solving overpopulation and world hunger

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What are the best ways to solve overpopulation and world hunger?

Why do you need to “solve” overpopulation? It usually takes care of itself, once certain level of economic well-being is reached.

In a poor society, children are assets. Parents make them work or simply sell them to employers. When parents get older, children take care of them. In a wealthy society, children are liabilities; they have no marketable skills until they are well into their teens, plus they cost money to give birth to, raise and educate. On top of that, parents (in expectation, at least) do not depend on children for support in the old age; there are government old-age pensions and employer-sponsored retirement plans for that. As a result, family fertility is inversely related to economic well-being. In the extreme, you have countries like Germany, Italy, and Japan, where population is actually shrinking…

This phenomenon is called “demographic transition” and has been repeatedly observed all over the world.

As to the world hunger, it’s been by and large solved by 1980. Today, the world consistently produces more food than it consumes. The only reasons we still see hunger is war (for example, the civil war in Ethiopia drove large numbers of farmers off their lands, so they did not plant for years) and government policies (for example, in North Korea, the government is the sole landowner, the sole agricultural employer, and the sole food distributor; private enterprise in agriculture is limited to vegetable gardens and farmers’ markets).

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