Almost every horrible thing – from child and animal torture, to deadly inequality, to unbearable heat waves – we see in the world today was fundamentally caused decades ago, circa 1968, by wealthy world leader’s decision to adopt minimalist universal child welfare and family planning policies.
In violation of human rights, these policies required no minimum levels of welfare for children in their birth and development, nothing to ensure they would have equality of opportunity in life, and no functional environmental protections. For all their talk of values, world leaders quietly used family policy to undo those values, profiting by removing these protections, and using the growth that would follow to force costs on others.
They used children as means, not ends, fundamentally and slowly degrading democracy from the inside out.
Google the term “baby bust.” You will understand that many made money by ensuring zero protections for the most vulnerable and numerous categories of entities – future children and animals – and they are using policy to ensure they can continue to do so. Encyclopedic-level research on these issues backs the idea that the most fundamental form of justice demands that we reverse what they did.
The most just and effective solution way to reverse the minimalist policies would be to treat birth and developmental equity as the fundamental human right. We could use that baseline to recoup extreme wealth (the true costs of which were placed on others) to fund family planning and birth equity entitlements that promote climate and biodiversity restoration, allow young women to equality of opportunity for their children, parental delay to ensure they have children where, when and with which particular resources that will allow the child to thrive, and through delay ensure a universal ethic of smaller or more ecocentric families.
One can imagine modifying GMI systems via a progressive scale of democracy-building payments, inverse to wealth and income and contingent on positionality, that either charged wealthy young women for having a child before their 27th birthday and/or without certain parental readiness benchmarks, or on the other end of the wealth spectrum, covered significant incentives consistently paid out for them to build birth equity and ensure delay. This scale could be combined with other factors that amount to “survive, self-determine, and thrive” financial kits for the most vulnerable children funded by the parents of the least vulnerable children. Dysfunctional versions of such GMI systems already exist, and could be easily modified around a universal metric.
These would be climate-based, or self-determination enabling, reparations and the United Nations is moving towards authorizing them. This is what such a future funded with these resources – filled with free and self-determining people – would look like.
And because justice in our creation precedes all other forms of justice, we can take the necessary resources for that use by all means effective. Even just fighting for Fair Start reforms free and empower each of us by making us truly democratic, and relatively self-determining. Free people will not follow laws that prevent this liberation, and protect concentrations of wealth and power at risk to millions of innocent lives.
We can move that money – which was made at cost to others – to improve birth and development, or leave it at the top and millions will die.
Many concentrations of wealth and power have no intention of compensating those they have harmed, and one tactic they use to avoid paying involves using fake activism and nonprofits to decoy many away from this reform.
I worked for several such charities, was urged to omit the truth, and saw the lies first hand. Concentrations of wealth and power often don’t openly oppose social justice movements. Instead they imitate, coaptate, and redirect them.
Don’t get scammed. This is what their distractivism – funded by those who wish to avoid admitting and paying climate reparations – looks like:
- Animal charities will focus on protecting a certain species, selling vegan food, or ending a practice like the use of intensive confinement, while quietly choosing child welfare and family policies that kill exponentially more animals then they are saving. In fact many funders use that growth to sell more vegan products, in which they are invested.
- Charities that claim to protect children will focus on flashy campaigns that feed or clothe articular groups of children, while quietly choosing family planning policies that ensure more infants are born into and die in horrific conditions that violate their rights under the Children’s Convention.
- Charities that seem to promote racial and other forms of equity – using employment or minority business preferences – will quietly support family policies that ensure black children are born with 1/10th the wealth of white children, because of the history of slavery and colonization. By ignoring equity in creation as a means towards autonomy for all, they actually exacerbate the situation, entrenching a left v. right dynamic that could be avoided. For example, we use family planning as a vehicle to redistribute resources rather than government, because we value the efficiency of early intervention as well as the equity of a fair start in life.
- Environmental charities will focus on reducing certain levels of pollutants, saving a particular forest, or encouraging electric cars, while they are knowingly undoing the impacts of that work through growth-based policies that have ensured the ecocidal climate crisis.
- Human rights and democracy organizations will focus on abstract metrics for whether systems are just, like the performance of particular governments, or electoral processes, while ignoring the creation of actual power relations – at our birth and development – that would determine whether we are truly self-determining (envision a highly functional constitutional convention), or our votes are actually meaningless and in reality we are ruled by others. A hallmark of these organizations is that they have backed, in the past and today, a unlimited right to have children that by destroying the environment actually prevents future generations from having kids in a safe and sustainable way. Freedom may best be conceived as the conditions of influence, and polarity, where organizations of free and equal persons can form, dissolve, and reform — more like bubbles than an extended organizational chart And the way to ensure those conditions is by taking the wealth created by years of bad family policy and using it instead to entitle young women to plan their families, and physically constitute free and just communities. Savvy freedom fighters will physically constitute nations, not be constituted by some document or documents to which they have, and can only have, little relation.
- Academics often back the work of these charities. Abstract academic debates about population ethics, often funded by concentrations of wealth and power reliant on inequity and growth, threaten to exacerbate the results of the climate crisis by forestalling law and policy reforms. Most of the academics in these debates contradict in their writings the basic values they exhibited throughout their lives, e.g., seeking minimum thresholds of personal welfare, expecting equal access to opportunities, participating in and adhering to political/legal systems that purported to represent the governed, using and enjoying an environment relatively conducive to human and nonhuman health, etc. Given their privileged intergenerational positionality, and the fact that they sent their lives generally relying on and participated in legal/political systems of coercive obligation that benefitted them at cost to others, they should at least begin from a default or provisional position of extending those values to future generations so that they can also debate these issues from the comfort and security these academics do.
- Everyone has used terms that expressed or implied public benefit that were inaccurate. Measured against the true north of human and nonhuman health, the background systems they usually did not question and in fact implied the legitimacy of, were benefitting the claimant while unleashing significant and increasing harm to infant humans and nonhumans alike. That true north – the harm – is what we can use, regardless of dysfunctional human political processes and language, to assess damages and create new policy. Avoid this untruth by asking the right questions. Look for words the persons and organizations you engage use – words like green, eco, sustainable, equitable, democratic, human-rights based, humane, restorative, regenerative. These and many other terms are inaccurate if not backed by consistent family policies that ensure minimum levels of wellbeing, equity, democracy, nature, and a sustainable right to have children for all, through birth equity entitlements and wealth GMI distributions that ensue parental delay and readiness, equal opportunities for all children, and smaller or more ecocentric families. Many are getting paid to omit the truth at deadly cost to others. Knowing these things – you can demand the truth.
TAKE ACTION: URGE ANY CHARITY YOU BACK TO ADMIT THEY ARE CHOOSING CHILD WELFARE AND FAMILY POLICIES THAT UNDO THE PROGRESS THEY ARE CLAIMING TO MAKE, AND URGE THEM TO CHANGE COURSE. IN SOME CASES, YOU MAY BE LEGALLY OWED BACK THE DONATIONS YOU GAVE BASED ON CHARITIES’ GREENWASHING.