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Whither population explosion?


Ever since the New Economic Implosion in this hapless world of ours, the economists have not tired of drawing a link between development and population. The theory they have been expounding ever since is that in order to ensure economic progress, it is imperative to check the growth of population. In simple language, what they were expounding was the linear proposition that when there are fewer mouths to feed, there would be more to go round. This was a theory that sold well in the developed world, since people there were already somewhat terrified of one day being overrun by the teeming billions of the starving have-nots of the regions of the world that are euphemistically referred to as the Developing World.

Not surprisingly, the idea was immediately launched in the poorer regions of the world. The argument was instantly lapped up by the economists of the developing world since most of them had been weaned on western economic theories as it is. Several economic whiz kids in divers developing countries made their careers and fortunes by merrily promoting this hypothesis. No one appears to have given a wee thought to the ramifications of diving headlong into a line of thought that may or may not hold its own. Merely because it suited the haves of the developed world not only to hold on to their immense natural endowment but also to silence any voices of dissent, most multilateral forums of the New World Economic Order adopted this as a tenet of economic progress.

In order to have greater impact, the phrase “population explosion” was coined to devastating effect. To make an already confused situation worse confounded, the interested demographers stepped in to append their own two pennies’ worth. What with the demographers and economic planners pooling their efforts (and the common man on the receiving end as always) the whole issue could not but reach a stage of utter befuddlement. This is what the experts exult in anyway. Demography, as one learns from “experts”, is the study of the population of this blessed Earth. As is always the case, a lot of confusing statistics comes into it. And like the statistics in matters economic, it is subjected to a lot of manipulation, both inadvertent and otherwise. Statistics is a science that can be used to prove anything or its reverse. The inevitable outcome was that this put the powers that be in the enviable position to juggle the figures to their own advantage. This they did with gay abandon.

Now, as everyone and his uncle knows, the matter of the number of people inhabiting the planet and their distribution has been a big issue since the end of World War II. Needless to add, economic experts have been hand-in-glove with the demographers on this issue. It has been in their interest to generally let out that “economic development” is inextricably linked with what was termed as “population control”. “Population planning”, thereby, became the buzz phrase with the whiz kids at world economic forums. A credulous world was informed that controlling the growth of population was the sine qua non of economic progress. In simple terms, it became axiomatic that any developing nation that desired to move up the economic ladder was obliged to take stringent measures to “control” the growth of its population – by fair means or foul. This led, in due course, to the rich industrialized countries – which had small populations and vast resources – to pour in vast sums of money in “aid” (read: tied loans) to the Third World for what were touted as essential “population control projects”.

Planners, goaded on by the “aid” dollars, put their hearts and souls into projects connected with population control. As was to be expected, unscrupulous individuals made a pretty penny out of the whole exercise. Economic experts of developed nations, having set the ball rolling, rested easy in the understanding that, with lesser poor mouths to feed worldwide, the haves would continue to enjoy their luxurious existence. Experts belonging to the poorer nations reveled in their newfound prosperity thanks to the ‘aid dollars’ that poured in as a consequence. When the world’s population touched the six billion mark, doomsday merchants were still hard at work. The “population explosion” theory was still very much in evidence. The rub was that all the calculations were based on statistics that had very few facts to back them up. As was to be expected, the day came not too long ago when the bottom fell out of the whole regime. A stunned world was informed that United Nations’ demographers found that statistics in this field were all awry. Experts, who once projected the Earth’s population to peak at 12 billion over the next century or two, cautiously – and somewhat sheepishly – “revised” their figures to predict the world’s population to peak at 10 billion by 2200, after which it may well begin to decline. The aforesaid provides ample food for thought. For one thing, it is an argument against jumping to unwarranted conclusions. As is widely known, for years on end, the blame for the world’s ills was put squarely on the poor man’s propensity to reproduce. The rich were safely outside the loop, since they not only had enough to eat but lots left over to hoard or dump into the sea at their pleasure. The ‘haves’ had all the time in the world to not only rig the New World Economic Order but also to weave stories to suit their favourite theories. The story of the impending population explosion is one such. The solution to the problem lies not in the hullabaloo of population planning but in equitable distribution of the world’s resources.

As history is witness, the best-laid plans of men (and mice) are apt to explode in their face when they least expect it. This happens for the simple enough reason that, regrettably, man finds it expedient to ignore the laws of nature. Nature has devised its own balance – one that is not at all dependent on the theories propounded by the whiz kids of modern economics. Mercifully, those that opt to improve upon nature’s design for the universe invariably get it in the neck. Whoever chooses to ignore the laws of nature or to challenge them does so at his (or her) peril!

Pakistan Observer

5 Comments on "Whither population explosion?"

  1. Don S on Sun, 27th Mar 2011 6:31 am 

    Oh, I’m so relieved that there will only be 10 billion people to share the pie with in the next one hundred and ninety years. The author talks about ignoring the law of nature at one’s peril, but does he/she understand that means a planet stripped of resources and unfit for life? Is that what they want? A scorched earth?

  2. kiwichick on Sun, 27th Mar 2011 8:26 am 

    pakistan population 160 million

    sustainable population 80 million

  3. BillT on Sun, 27th Mar 2011 12:40 pm 


    If you divide the $62 Trillion dollar GDP of the world in 2010 by the 7 billion people on it, that is an average of $8,850.00 per PERSON per YEAR…or $35,000 per family of 4. That is many multiples of the average income of most of the worlds peoples.

    There is no shortage, just greed at the top.

  4. Bob Owens on Mon, 28th Mar 2011 3:53 am 

    Half the world lives on $2 a day and we have to listen to this nonsense? Billions go to sleep hungry every night and we get lectures on how population doesn’t matter? The world is on fire and we should maybe have more people to enjoy it? HAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

  5. Don S on Mon, 28th Mar 2011 3:54 am 

    You mean no shortage of money, Bill? Ignore all the damage that 7 billion people are doing to the planet? I think you’re missing the big picture here. Rich or poor, we all have a hand in the destruction of this planet. A more equitable distribution of wealth isn’t going to change that hard, cold fact.

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