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Responses Needed…

April 3, 2008 • Daily Email Recap

Responses are needed to the Wall Street Journal book review of April 1, 2007. Letters to the editor can be sent by email to: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com or Fax: 1-212-416-2255 Attn: Ned Crabb. See http://www.opinionjournal.com/guidelines/ before submitting. Editorial Page Submissions, including the Op-Ed page pieces, should go to: fax: 1-212-416-2255 Attn: Tunku Varadarajan or email: edit.features@wsj.com.

For the original editorial, see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120700566688178565.html.

Below is one person’s response to the article above…

Sir,

If your reviewer Martin Wooster is giving an accurate impression of Mr Connelly’s work, then neither are worthy of promotion of their views in the WSJ.

From reading other reviewers as well as Mr Wooster’s particularly inflammatory account, it appears that Connelly is basing his whole argument – as have so many before him – on a simplistic assumption that amounts to little more than blind faith.

All of what might be classed as ‘the infinite growth worshipers’ seem to use this exact same argument: ‘We were lucky in the past: therefore we will always be lucky in the future’. None of them appears to have any concept of the nature of exponential growth, where the numbers involved in the past are orders of magnitude smaller than those in the future. Every gambler would see through the folly of Connelly’s complacent advice: it is to be hoped that Wall Street Journal readers are intelligent enough to see through it too.

Despite those lesser orders of past magnitude, the world’s population has still lurched from one starvation event to another for centuries, and, had Connelly and friends truly considered past trends and actually learned from them, they would be projecting vastly more starvation in the future. It is strange how they can project a continuation of ‘being able to cope with’ population growth in the future; but can’t seem to bring themselves to project all the suffering that goes along with it at the same time: funny that! Even with tremendous efforts, among scientists and humanitarians, to increase food yields and redistribute resources, we have only just been able to keep 2/3 of the geometrically rising population adequately fed: but things are rapidly taking a turn for the worse – as anyone familiar with exponential curves would have expected as a certainty.

All too soon, (perhaps already) that 2/3 will be a number in excess of the reliable total world food production, and people in the ‘developed’ world will begin to starve alongside ‘the usual sufferer population’. One would have thought that the recent quadrupling of wheat prices; the sudden and simultaneous rice and maize shortages, might have given complacent (or downright mischievous) Connelly and, his champion, Wooster, some indication that perhaps attacking the one measure that could end the suffering for good, might not be so very wise.

Well, actually, no: one wouldn’t have thought this, because experience has shown that the ‘Connellys’ of this world just don’t listen, and they don’t want to listen; and they can always find ‘Woosters’ to trumpet their cause. So we all have to put up with this same old false argument being rehashed over and over again; and with simultaneous attacks on any group that attempts to point out the sheer folly.

The really sad part of it all is the way otherwise respectable publications like the WSJ can be taken in and tricked into promoting such incredibly dangerous propaganda. Do wise up WSJ: soon, it may not be just the ‘third world’ that feels the pinch of generations of bad advice from the likes of Connelly and Wooster.

Sincerely,

Steve Hawkins
Luton
Bedfordshire
UK


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