Today's WSJ (Europe) contains a thought-provoking piece by Gunnar Heinsohn about the ongoing 'youth bulge' in Gaza, fed by a six-babies-per-woman average birth rate that is subsidized by the West. We can conjecture that this results in at least a modest selection bias in favor of aggressive males, who — assuming they survive to sire children — seem likely to sire more children on the whole than passive or timid ones. (This is a questionable assumption, of course; some women may have a stronger preference for men who are likely to be around to help raise the kids than for those who are likely to get themselves killed.)
In such "youth bulge" countries, young men tend to eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society.
The reason for Gaza's endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. ... [@para;]
The Hamas-Fatah truce of June 2007 allowed the Islamists again to direct all their energy on attacking Israel. The West pays for food, schools, medicine and housing, while Muslim nations help out with the military hardware. Unrestrained by such necessities as having to earn a living, the young have plenty of time on their hands for digging tunnels, smuggling, assembling missiles and firing 4,500 of them at Israel since 2006. ... [¶]
... By generously supporting UNRWA's budget, the West assists a rate of population increase that is 10 times higher than in their own countries. Much is being said about Iran waging a proxy war against Israel by supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. One may argue that by fueling Gaza's untenable population explosion, the West unintentionally finances a war by proxy against the Jews of Israel.
If we seriously want to avoid another generation of war in Gaza, we must have the courage to tell the Gazans that they will have to start looking after their children themselves, without UNRWA's help. This would force Palestinians to focus on building an economy instead of freeing them up to wage war. Of course, every baby lured into the world by our money up to now would still have our assistance.
(Bold-faced emphasis added.)
Heinsohn's diagnosis seems very plausible, but his prescription is more than a bit lacking. He does not explain how exactly we are suppose to induce Gazans to reduce their birth rate, while simultaneously continuing to provide assistance for "every baby lured into the world by our money up to now[.]" (Tom Evslin has a couple of observations on that score.)