Speaking at the Women’s Development Conference last week in Kuala Lumpur, the renowned Princeton bioethicist claimed that “overriding” procreation could be necessary to prevent environmental catastrophe, drawing an analogy between childbearing and calving in the process: 

Singer compared women’s right to bear children to the traditional villager’s right to graze their cows on “common” grounds. As the villagers get more affluent and their cows die less from disease, he said, until the commons are overgrazed, “yields are falling . . . and that’s a road to disaster.”

“Turns out that the right to graze as many cows as you like on the common was not an absolute right,” said Singer. “Obviously this is what I think we ought to be saying even about how many children we have . . . I hope we don’t get to a point where we  do  have to override it . . . but I don’t think we ought to shrink away from considering that as a possibility.”

Articles by Luke Foster


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