||keep up with current population growth. Changing the subject has been still another tactic. Beginning with the first U.N. conference in Bucharest in 1974, many have argued that it is not so much population growth that is the problem, but the inequitable distribution of goods and resources between the rich northern and the poor southern economies that is associated with vastly different patterns of consumption: for some goods, inhabitants of the rich nations consume up to 75 times as much as inhabitants of the poor nations. Most recently, within the last year, emphasis on altering development and consumption patterns in trying to resolve these dilemmas has given way to more direct emphasis on improving the circumstances of women, and just last monthâ€"in April 1994â€"the U.N. Population Fund, preparing for the 3rd international once-a-decade conference to be held this September in Cairo, announced a new plan intended to hold population growth to 7.27 billion in 2015 and 7.8 billion in 2050. The plan focuses not only on providing funds for family planning but on providing a much broader range of women's health care, as well as on several indirect ways of reducing population growth. Because better-educated women tend to have fewer children and to have them at later ages, the plan seeks to ensure not only universal primary education for girls as well as boys throughout the developing world, but also secondary education for 50% of girls. Because high rates of infant mortality mean that families have to have many children in order to ensure that some survive, the plan seeks to improve infant health. Development and changing consumption are no longer seen as the only solutions; it is improving the status of women by providing education, health care, and other conditions of improved circumstances. But as this discussion continues, the population bombâ€"to use Paul Ehrlich's famous phraseâ€"continues ticking. It is true that growth rates have slowedâ€"in some places dramaticallyâ€" and that, due to rate variation, it is not technically exponential, a term reserved for consistently multiplying patterns. But there is still growthâ€"at enormous ratesâ€"even though these rates are less enormous than a decade ago. The decline in the world growth rate from 2.1% per year in the early 1960's to 1.8% in 1990, repre- ...7..