Thanks to Don Collins for alerting me to this ridiculous OpEd in the Wall Street Journal. You have to be a subscriber to read the entire piece online at:
BIO: “William McGurn is a Vice President at News Corporation who writes speeches for CEO Rupert Murdoch. Previously he served as Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush.
“Mr. McGurn has served as chief editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal in New York. He spent more than a decade overseas — in Brussels for The Wall Street Journal/Europe and in Hong Kong with both the Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review. And in the mid-1990s, he was Washington Bureau Chief for National Review.
“Bill is author of a book on Hong Kong (“Perfidious Albion”) and a monograph on terrorism (“Terrorist or Freedom Fighter”). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, holds a BA in philosophy from Notre Dame and an MS in Communications from Boston University.”
June 14, 2011
THE RETURN OF THE POPULATION BOMB.
When The Experts Tell You There Is Too Many People, They Don’t Mean Too Many Swedes.
BY WILLIAM MCGURN
When Marx wrote that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, he had it half correct. In our day, it comes back as the 1970s.
All around us we see its manifestation in the revival of floppy hats, platform shoes and maxi dresses. We can, however, also detect this same retro fashion sense on the op-ed page of the New York Times. There last week Tom Friedman’s column carried one of the sentiments most in vogue in the 1970s: “The Earth Is Full.”
Mr. Friedman invokes the usual grim specters so beloved of a certain kind of intellectual: natural disasters (tornadoes, floods and droughts); rising prices (food and energy); the threat to stability; and of course the kicker – that there are just too many darn people around these days.
It’s a familiar meme, and it comes bearing the familiar scientific credentials. In this case the authority is, Mr. Friedman tells us, “an alliance of scientists” called the Global Footprint Network, “which calculates how many ‘planet Earths’ we need to sustain our growth rates.” Right now they say it is 1.5. Which can mean only one thing unless we cut way, way back: We’re doomed.
Back in the days of bad hair and Jimmy Carter, this kind of report was a staple of enlightened thought. Here is but a tiny sampling:
. On the eve of that decade, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich opened his best-selling book “The Population Bomb” with this sunny declaration: “The battle to feed all humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Of course, nothing of the kind happened.
. The Club of Rome, an international group of academics, scientists and global citizens, commissioned a now-infamous 1972 report called “The Limits to Growth.” Like so many others, these scientists informed us that we were running out of . . . well . . . everything.
Or take Robert McNamara, the “whiz kid” president of Ford Motor Co. Later, as chief of the World Bank, he would throw tens of millions of development dollars into population control because he said – sounding much like Mr. Friedman – the alternative was a world no one would want. If voluntary methods failed, he warned, nations would resort to coercion.
All these things were the received orthodoxies of their day, endorsed by the experts, sustained by the scientists, and challenged by only a few brave souls such as economist Julian Simon. From these pet orthodoxies two clear implications flowed.
First, when the experts tell you there are too many people, they don’t mean too many Swedes. They mean too many poor people, mostly brown or black or yellow. In Hong Kong, I stumbled across a 1959 book written by an American entitled “Too Many Asians.” Today the focus has shifted from Asia – but the theme remains. Early last month, the New York Times ran a page-one story citing United Nations warnings about the growing population of Africa.
To read the full article, please click here (subscription required):
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