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Is Parenthood an Entitlement?

Is Parenthood an Entitlement?

Get married, buy a house, raise a family. For many of us, that’s the expected life trajectory. Are we entitled to meet that expectation? If many follow the typical trajectory, including having two or more children, then we drive human civilization right off a cliff.

Is Parenthood an Entitlement?On an overpopulated planet, does society have an obligation to make parenthood possible, practical, convenient, and/or affordable to all? Public policy on the table in the U.S. today is designed to make it easier for couples to have children. Ethicist Philip Cafaro joins us to discuss the motivations behind these policies and the moral questions about whether people are “entitled” to have children on an overpopulated planet.

In this episode, we hear some unenlightened statements about U.S. population from U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, including inviting listeners to conclude U.S. population is declining (it is not), and a healthy dose of depopulation panic.

Cafaro is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University and an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability. He’s also written a couple of books about human overpopulation, and he is co-founder of The Overpopulation Project.

This is episode #64 of the GrowthBusters podcast.

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The GrowthBusters theme song was written and produced by Jake Fader and sung by Carlos Jones.


The Overpopulation Project

Just Population Policies for an Overpopulated World by Philip Cafaro

Climate Ethics and Population Policy – by Philip Cafaro

Climate Ethics and Population Policy: A Review of Recent Philosophical Work by Philip Cafaro

Toward a Small Family Ethic: How Overpopulation and Climate Change Are Affecting the Morality of Procreation – by Travis Rieder

Moral Basis for Small Families: Travis Rieder – Episode #206 of Conversation Earth

Public Policy Brakes on Procreation? Travis Rieder – Episode #207 of Conversation Earth

One Child: Do We Have a Right to More – by Sarah Conly

Stuck in Traffic? Head to Mars – Episode 63 of GrowthBusters podcast

8 Billion Angels – documentary film

Earth Overshoot

Sustainable Population Australia

Time’s 2021 Person of the Year Elon Musk Is So Wrong – by Simon Cole

Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival – by Richard Heinberg

Ice Shelf Holding Back Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’, Is Fracturing And ‘Won’t Last Long’, Scientists Warn

Human Consciousness – by Robert Bolman

This Sustainable Life podcast – by Joshua Spodek

Don’t Call Doof Food: Systemic Change Begins with Personal Change – Joshua Spodek TEDx Talk


On the GrowthBusters podcast, we come to terms with the limits to growth, explore the joy of sustainable living, and provide a recovery program from our society’s growth addiction (economic/consumption and population). This podcast is part of the GrowthBusters project to raise awareness of overshoot and end our culture’s obsession with, and pursuit of, growth.

Dave Gardner directed the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which Stanford Biologist Paul Ehrlich declared “could be the most important film ever made.” Co-host Stephanie Gardner has degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental Law & Policy.

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