"Feed the Children" TV commercials really bother me.

Now I don't like to see children suffering any more than anyone else. I feel very bad for the terrible situation that many people face. But the TV commercials really bother me.

Consider this story from the BBC. Dominic Nkhata makes $40 a month, and supports his wife, his daughter and four orphans. His rent for a 2 bedroom place in a shanty town is $38 a month. Also from the article, 2 kilos of maize meal costs 2400 kwacha - by my calculations about $0.18, or $0.09 a kilo.

A kilo of maize meal could potentially meet 1/3 of a childs dietary needs for 10 days (from the tables on this page) So theoretically, you could meet the entire dietary needs of a child for $0.81 a month. We'll say $2 just to leave room for error and other foods like beans/etc.

So if it costs a total of $2 a month to feed a child and a factory worker only makes $40 a month - why the hell are they having children? The problem here is twofold. Sure, the economy is bad. Sure, they don't make much money. But at the same time, there are a lot of irresponsible parents out there that are busy creating the next generation of ultrapoor.

I don't think the solution is to feed the children. It may aleviate suffering now, but in 10 years, there will be even more ultrapoor children to feed because their parents didn't starve to death.

Instead, we need to attack the source of the problem. Bring birth control to the masses. Educate the young on the expenses of having children. Reduce the birth rate so the economy has a chance to catch up. Instead of meeting the most basic human needs, we can concentrate on education and infrastructure.