Should every couple only have 1 child? Ted Turner thinks so!

CNN founder Ted Turner told global leaders at a meeting in Mexico that the rest of the world should adopt China’s one-child policy, according to a Toronto newspaper.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

” ‘If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,’ CNN founder Ted Turner said Sunday at a conference discussing the impact of demographic trends on the future of greenhouse gas emission.”

“If such a plan was adopted, the father of five said, poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce by selling fertility rights.”

“China claims its policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since 1979, limiting emissions growth even as the country becomes more industrialized. But critics argue the mandate has contributed to more abortions and high levels of female infanticide.”

Did you catch that little factoid our reporter threw in – Turner is a father of 5! Which four children would he like to give back? Which four shouldn’t have had the chance to live?

I understand the need to conserve and take care of our planet but I’m also just not OK with telling people they can only have one child. There’s lots of sensible things we can do to protect our planet and reverse damage already done. Telling families they can only have one child doesn’t seem reasonable.

Also let’s review what an awful, awful idea it is for poor people to “sell their fertility rights” to rich people. Things are already unfair enough in the world without telling a poor person you can live comfortably IF you just give up you right to have a child. It’s just so wrong on so many levels. Can you imagine the hatred that would build and the further rifts that would create?

So where do you stand: Should the world limit every family to just one child? Should poor people sell their fertility rights to rich people? Should Ted Turner just keep his mouth shut? What other suggestions would you have to help protect the planet?

(We have two topics up right now. The second topic is about Elizabeth Edwards’ kids coping with her death. Do death letters or a Council of Dads help kids cope?)

58 comments Add your comment


December 7th, 2010
10:38 pm

I was so disgusted at the suggestion of selling fertility rights….shudder! Loses all credibility.

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December 7th, 2010
10:56 pm

I heard an economist/stats guy convincingly argue that people in developed countries need to have more kids. For economies to grow/maintain, population needs to at least remain steady. We depend on the young to take care of the old and replace them in the workforce. To do so, an average number of children per family needs to be at least 2.1 (the .1 accounts for child mortality) — one kid to eventually replace each adult. Most western European countries’ populations have been on the decline. The U.S. has remained steady with a lower birthrate (I think it was 1.9 kids per family when I saw this presentation in 2006, but immigration was making up the difference). It was a really interesting analysis.

Cynthia M

December 7th, 2010
11:03 pm

Ted Turner is the last person who should be handing out advice to anyone about anything. he is such an arrogant wind bag.

[...] (We have two topics up: Please check out our topic on Ted Turner. He says parents around the world s… [...]


December 7th, 2010
11:46 pm

Ted Turner giving out child-limitation advice? The man with five kids?


“The Mouth of the South” strikes again!


December 8th, 2010
12:22 am

This policy will only lead to the poor and middle class being held to this standard. Along with the tax, ecological and health care policies, the elite like Ted Turner are exempt.


December 8th, 2010
12:42 am

I love hearing what comes out of Ted Turner’s mouth! Always interesting! I don’t agree to holding the entire world to one child, but I would REALLY like to see a huge societal push for people to only have one or two. It seems there are far too many folks out there who are having 4, 5, 6 and more -and many of them aren’t financially capable of funding all of these children in any way, shape or form. The earth is already overpopulated. It would do us all good if fewer folks had kids and the ones who did only replaced themselves. The Catholic Church needs to end the birth control policy immediately and come out in favor of limiting family size. It seems the only Catholics who can least afford to have loads of children are the ones who adhere to it anyway! These evangelical movements urging families to have loads of kids need to stop as well. It’s completely irresponsible.

I don’t think anyone agrees with the China policy. It’s caused far-reaching ramifications in their society. There are literally not enough marriage-age women in China for every marriage-age man in China because of years of gender selection. Poor women and rural women resort to desperate and shocking measures to get their one perfect son.

The whole concept of selling fertility rights is bizarre -and completely unhelpful to his original suggestion. Isn’t that one of the biggest arguments with the cap and trade policy? What point is there in limiting anything -emissions, children, etc. -if you’re just going to turn around and let people or companies sell their “rights” to output? The selling of “fertility rights” is so fraught with complications that I cannot imagine any society working it out legally or ethically! So, I agree with Ted that we really need to slow and limit the population of the world, but it’s a little more difficult than just waving a wand and saying something to make it so.


December 8th, 2010
7:04 am

@HB: You’re arguing economics; Turner is arguing environmental science. Very, very different goals.

While at first glance, what Turner is suggesting seems incendiary, I think there’s something to it–not in terms of limiting people’s right to have children but in terms of providing economic incentives for people to limit themselves. This would be the reverse of our current economic policies in which childfree people shoulder higher tax burdens than do people who have chosen to have children.

The question is whether we care enough about the planet 2,000 or even 200 years down the line. Humanity cannot sustain both a comfortable standard of living and the current population growth rate. Say what you will about a policy meant to discourage children. Yes, it has some negative economic consequences for a first world Ponzi-scheme based society. On the other hand, there won’t be a society if we don’t move to sustainable practices.


December 8th, 2010
7:05 am

While Ted Turner seems to have a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease, he is correct in that the world will not sustain our population growth. Sadly, humans that are intelligent enough to realize this are the ones limiting themselves, while the “lowest common denominator” continues to breed. Therefore, in the end, the world will be populated with these types, and the truly intelligent will die out. Sad.


December 8th, 2010
7:08 am

Note to Ted: Engage brain, THEN open mouth.

Actually, as a teacher, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have seen too many unwanted, unloved, and uncared for children, and it is getting worse! We deal daily with children whose parents are too young, too ignorant, too drunk or doped up or too self centered to give any kind of guidance to their offspring. These children wreak havoc in the educational system, and then as adults go on to replicate their own miserable lives with children of their own brought up in the same way.


December 8th, 2010
7:13 am

Shannon, just to be clear, I’m not arguing anything. Just passing along a different point of view I heard a few years back…


December 8th, 2010
8:05 am

@ catlady, I am with you!

What is interesting to me, is that in my grandmother’s day families were large. She was one of 9 I believe and my mother in law was one of 10. At that time, parents may not have had money but they did have pride in taking care of their families. Many were poor but they were clean and well behaved.

So many children today, are running the show or running rampant and this is across the board. There are also the very poor who on occasion have no desire to better themselves nor give their children the drive to be something more. It can be more the exception, than the rule, to find kind and compassionate children who are polite and a pleasure to be around. I am happy to have met such delightful children and work with them in schools.

I have also been to very poor areas where the children are remarkable and a pleasure to work with!


December 8th, 2010
8:21 am

Are you kidding? It will be a cold day in hell when I use China as an example of how to live. Turner continues to amaze with his stupidity by reiterating rhetoric he’s heard before. Find something original, Ted! And try not to be so hypocritical next time you do it. And in with regard to horrific Chinese practices, since Turner is weathy maybe he could afford go to China to buy some organs (, like maybe a brain?

-signed a educated, affluent mom of five, Thankful for my choice (and not my country’s, religion’s or society’s choice)


December 8th, 2010
8:41 am

i agree. i work in an alternative school setting in which the majority of my kids are neglected or come from homes of abuse, neglect, etc. i am tired of seeing kids suffer for their parents’ mistakes and inability to make responsible decisions…

mom of 3

December 8th, 2010
9:02 am

Dictionary – egotistical, self absorbed, bag of hot air = Ted Turner


December 8th, 2010
9:15 am

@ really…I am disturbed that the cycle will repeat itself and wonder what, if anything, teachers can do that would make the biggest impact? There are those who will rise above their circumstances but what are the realistic chances?

This is where the “I have been in all 50 states” comes into play for me. It is not about me actually knowing more that the average person but I have had a chance to learn more from those who I meet, across the country, and they share many of the same educational/ parenting woes.


December 8th, 2010
9:21 am

No, it’s better for future generations if people have as many children as is possible. That way there will be plenty of soldiers available for the wars that will be fought over finite resources. It will be bloody, but someone has to win, right?

Warrior Woman

December 8th, 2010
9:31 am

Turner is an idiot. He pushes a reprehensible policy in pursuit of solving a problem, anthropomorphic global warming, that doesn’t exist.

@Christina – Where is your evidence that the world cannot sustain population growth? All prior predictions of disasters from population growth have been astoundingly, glaringly wrong.

@TWG – To answer some of your questions, families should have as many children as they want, provided that they can care for the children they have. There should be no government limits on fertility. Fertility rights should not be traded because of the potential for abuse.

If he doesn’t shut his mouth, Ted should at least think before speaking. I don’t know why anyone bothers reporting his comments anyway.


December 8th, 2010
9:32 am

And why should I take seriously the opinion of a lunatic?


December 8th, 2010
9:45 am

Have as many children as you want, can take care of and can grow into responsible adults. I think as long as you are on welfare/public assistance, you should not get any more money for additional children. It simply rewards the lazy. I also think birth control, including permanent and non-permanent forms (tubals, IUDs, Norplant, etc.) should become mandatory along with drug tests for anyone on welfare.

My opinion stems more from economical and social than environmental like good ol’ Ted’s. I wonder if he even investigated what havoc the 1-child policy has wreaked in China, especially for the middle & lower class. I’m sure he’s only rubbing shoulders with the elite upper class though who think they’ve solved all of China’s problems by implementing this 1-child policy.


December 8th, 2010
9:48 am

teachers are always exploring ways to best help their students. the problem is that it is difficult to impact a child who has no positive influence at home. it is also a struggle to motivate kids who have no goals. i am constantly talking to my students about the importance of goals and have very candid discussions about “breaking the cycle”.

we also need more people with your experience to stand up and share ideas that will help positively change our country/world…

we just need, you know?

bunch of yentas

December 8th, 2010
9:48 am

I don’t think anyone should be forced to limit their offspring, but I feel that people who have lots of children are either ignorant or irresponsible. People should CHOOSE to limit their offspring to one or two children for the next 100 years. No one could look at the environment and think, “what we need on this planet is a whole lot more people”.

But I don’t want government intervention with this. I would love to see the leaders of the World’s major religions get behind this. If the Catholic Church encouraged its members to use birth control and have no more than 2 children, that alone, would be a huge help. But its certainly not limited to Catholics. Islam, Hindu, Protestant, whatever, they hold huge influence over the public. A simple shift in doctrine would help tremendously. No one would be prosecuted for having too many children, but there would be a general disdain for that type of behavior.

And before anyone attacks, every siingle one of you think its irresponsible for the “OctoMom” too have so many children. You say its because she can’t afford it. I say, its because our great grandchildren can’t afford it.


December 8th, 2010
10:05 am

What I got out of Ted’s 1 child per couple.. So a if a couple has a child, break up and then reform with another person and the new couples each have one child, and so on.. So I guess what Ted is really saying is that Monogamy is dead?

John Townsend

December 8th, 2010
10:17 am

Turner is simply pointing out the obvious. Over-population is killing the planet as we argue about it.
Other species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate. Current laissez-faire polcies on population control are reckless and suicidal.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 8th, 2010
10:44 am

Turner was kind of right…the is a finite number of humans that can be sustained on this planet. What he failed to recognize is that nature and limited resources will determine that number…not man’s free will. At some point, the world will become overpopulated and the result will be starvation, pestilence, and disease that wipes out a good portion of the world’s population. The problem Ted is addressing will be solved that way.

In addition to the unrealistic and stupid ramblings he made in Mexico, I’m surprised he didn’t suggest that we feed the homeless to the starving and solve two problems there as well.


December 8th, 2010
11:48 am

Ted Turner…like many wealthy “liberals” is a hypocrite.

I went to school with Mr. Turner’s youngest daughter–Jenny. I believe she has 3 kids now?


December 8th, 2010
12:02 pm

@ really…thanks for your kind words. Some experiences are worth sharing.


December 8th, 2010
12:17 pm


Yes, and after that collapse, which we are heading for, won’t the survivors have a wonderful planet to live on. Probably, many species will be wiped out and much beauty lost.
They will love us for that, don’tcha think? Oh well, they can look at the pictures of a tiger in something that used to be called “a jungle”. That should be enough. After all, those beautiful, wild tigers were better used as “folk medicine” anyway.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

@shaggy…wasn’t claiming that it would be pretty, just saying that in my opinion, it’s a natural occurence that when predators are eliminated, populations of any creatures on earth flourish to the point of harming themselves. Man’s only predator now is man itself, disease, and poverty (which leads to famine, don’t let anyone fool you that people on this planet starve because of a lack of food…they lack economic resources to bring the food to them).

I think George Carlin said it best when someone told him earth will not survive as man currently uses it….he said…”the earth is going to survive…it’s man that won’t survive.”


December 8th, 2010
1:33 pm


Yes, and agreed. The earth is resilient in itself and clearly doesn’t “need” humanity to manage it. If is is only those adaptable cockroaches that survive, the earth just might create another masterpiece using them…in a few million years.


December 8th, 2010
1:39 pm


I tried to agree with you, but the post evaporated into ajc-land somewhere.
The resilient earth clearly does not “need” man to “manage” it, and if those adaptable cockroaches are what survives, this planet just might make a masterpiece out of them…in a few million years, give or take a few.


December 8th, 2010
1:40 pm

I tried to agree, but the posts evaporate. Maybe Theresa will or will not fish them out of the ajc bucket.


December 8th, 2010
4:25 pm

Ted has a severe case of Foot-in-mouth-disease. Remember that Chinese student who came to the states and was killed by a drunk driver? His parents, now elderly were part of that one-child movement. They sacrficed and borrowed to send their kid here to eventually help the family. Too old to have children now – Gee Ted what do you think should happen? He was and still is a bumbling idiot.


December 8th, 2010
4:28 pm

People should have as many children as they want and can afford. As long as *I* am not paying for it. I strongly believe that if you get welfare, you should be put on some kind of long term birth control like an IUD. Why should you be allowed to have more children when you cannot afford the one(s) you have unless you get on the public dole? I don’t think so.


December 8th, 2010
4:42 pm

Tiger – I think what the late, great George Carlin said was “This planet’s going to shake us off like a bad case of fleas.” I agree!

Maybe I Don't Understand

December 8th, 2010
4:46 pm

Isn’t Ted one of those rich liberals? I was under the impression that they know better than us ‘little folk,’ and that we should follow there example. If Father of Five Ted says that I can only have one kid, then I should only have one kid.

**I really wish there was a sarcasm font.


December 8th, 2010
4:47 pm

So which one of Ted’s kids gets to live and which ones is he getting rid of? How will he determine that, birth order, draw straws…what an idiot.


December 8th, 2010
4:53 pm

Ted can’t unborn those kids now.Overpopulation was not apparent 40 years ago as it’s become for the last 10 years or so.

Ted also drove a leaded gas car 40 years ago. Does that mean we all should drive leaded gas cars now?

Get real. It’s selfish for people to have kids on a planet with dwindling resources and greater pollution. Sure, it’s right to recycle, but even recycling takes energy and material. The more people, the more recycling which means more energy and material.

In today’s world, having more than one child is immoral for anyone who is aware of the problems facing out planet. Perhaps even having one child is immoral.

Just Saying

December 8th, 2010
4:58 pm

Tiger & Shaggy have a point!
Two child max should be the deal no matter how much money you have cause the more money you have, the more nannies you have & less time YOU(parents) spend with your children.. Even some stay @ home moms have nannies.. *Blankest Stare EVER* WHY? Because they shouldn’t have had the children in the first place if they can’t care for them themselves…

Tychus Findlay

December 8th, 2010
5:02 pm

It might have been better interpreted if ole Ted had indicated that the Government should cease tax credits beyond a second child if we want to control out population. One, families that can’t afford extra kids STOP HAVING THEM for additional federal benefits. Two, families that can support 2+ children don’t need the tax credit so no impact there.


December 8th, 2010
5:20 pm

It’s sad that Mr. Turner (and other supporters) have gotten so off course in their thinking, that they have placed a higher value on environmental issues than human lives. His “ideas” are alarming and I’m not just referring to his most recent reference to adopting China’s one-child policy. In the past he’s also made mention to that we should “leave North Korea” alone….saying they are of no “real” threat to anyone. There are many credible reports (people that have managed to escape N. Korea) that horrific injustices are taking place in that closed-off nation. Work camps, starvation, and other atrocities (to name just a few). Oh, and reports that they are creating nuclear weapons.

It’s crazy to me that any person in their “right” mind would support or stand behind a person that suggests truly unsettling and disturbing ideas…not to mention, coming from a man who has “fathered” five children. What. the. heck.


December 8th, 2010
5:24 pm

I think Ted is off base here. I did grow up in an age where ZPG (zero population growth) was the goal. Couples were encouraged to think of having only two children. The people who don’t want any kids can balance out the ones who want more. I do think that people should not have kids they can’t afford. If they can’t support five kids on their salaries, they shouldn’t have five kids (or fourteen like the Octomom). I also believe that insurance costs should be based on the number of people in the family, in other words, a family of 10 (8 kids) should pay 10 times as much as a single person for health insurance. Again, if you can’t support them, don’t have them. It is not that hard to prevent pregnancy.


December 8th, 2010
5:47 pm

How about after the state or the hospital picks up the tab for your second child, you are sterilized before you leave. Three child max otherwise (also with sterilization).


December 8th, 2010
6:11 pm

Ted Turner is nothing but a way left liberal son of a bitch. He needs to take his sorry a– and live in China and take that Traitor bitch ex-wife with him. Maybe a new set of rules that would have to live by in China will change his mind about the freedoms we in the United States have.


December 8th, 2010
6:23 pm

Where did Ted pick up all of these hair-brained left wing elitist brain droppings? Maybe he just hung around Jane too long.


December 8th, 2010
6:30 pm

I don’t have kids and never will. You people that feel it is your god given right to spawn as freely as you see fit are not paying the true cost of your little darlings. You think it is perfectly ok to take the money I worked for and use it to subsidize your spawn. You want me to pay for your kids education and have you pay less taxes because of child credits and deductions. I think the chinese have the right idea or at least you should be paying the full cost associated with breeding. And as far as people on the public dole having kids it should be out of the question.


December 8th, 2010
6:39 pm

Ted Turner aside, population growth and control is a very real issue that few people have the courage to address. Our future as a species will depend on it, regardless of how unpalatable or un-PC the topic is.


December 8th, 2010
6:56 pm

once humans ruin the planet with overpopulation, (at least here in America) they will bitch and complain to the government expecting an answer, response, or handout. People kill me. really.


December 8th, 2010
7:00 pm

I have one child by choice, but I have no problem with people who have large families as long as they can provide for every child.