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POPULATION GROWTH: MISSTEPS AND BLUNDERS
The Truth behind America’s Population Growth Agenda
Started by The US Administration and Promoted by Economists The World over, Population growth Programs became one of The Most Vital aspects of Developments in The 21st Century. Much to The Dismay of Governments, The Plans have actually backfired...
Issue Date - 23/06/2011
 
In the meantime, the “scarifying” prognostications of the Ehrlichs were proven false at the end of the 20th century. As his nemesis, resource economist Julian Simon wrote in his famous book The Ultimate Resource, the prices of all commodities, both food and mineral, would be lower in real terms by the end of the century compared to what they were in the 1970s, when The Population Bomb was published. In fact, there was a wager between the two opposing forecasters. Needless to mention, Paul Ehrlich had to pay Julian Simon. It is a wonder that generations of new economists keep on resuscitating the Malthusian error again and again. It seemed that Malthus was definitely buried in the 1980s when there were dozens of studies, covering anywhere from 30 to 80 countries, spanning more than 30 years, empirically demonstrating that population was not an explanatory variable for the mass poverty that became rampant in Africa, Latin America and Asia during the last two decades of the twentieth century.

Part of the reason for another aggressive wave of population control campaigns could be traced to a secret document written in 1974 by then Secretary Henry Kissinger warning the President of the United States that the security of the U.S. would be endangered if developing countries like the Philippines were allowed to continue growing their populations. The natural resources of these countries would no longer be available for the United States to exploit. This document, which is available on the internet, was entitled the National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM). It dawned on me why President Marcos changed his earlier pro-life attitude to one very supportive of birth control campaigns, using funds from the United States. He was under tremendous pressure from the U.S. government to institute population control programs, especially in the last five to six years of his Administration. Fortunately, as the late Blas Ople, former Minister of Labor under the Marcos regime confessed to the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Philippine Constitution under President Cory Aquino, those programs were never efficiently administered. In fact, the field workers implementing the contraceptive campaign were horrified to see condoms being used to cover fruits to protect them from insects and contraceptive pills being used to fertilize orchids and other flowering plants. As I have always maintained, the last thing you can convince a farmer who has been deprived of irrigation, post-harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads to do is to limit his family size to two children. Children are his only resources to eke out a subsistence living.
 
Another reason why in the last ten years, there has been a stronger support among some sectors for population control is the research output coming from local economists (mostly from the University of the Philippines) purporting to show empirical evidence from the development experiences of some Asian countries in the 1970s and 80s that population control was important for facilitating economic growth and the eradication of poverty. What is notable among these studies is that their sample sizes were rather small and time periods relatively short, as compared to the studies that came out in the 1980s from numerous international economists. What more, a number of the countries included in the studies of the Filipino economists are now in serious economic trouble because of the contraceptive campaigns they waged in the last century. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew has already publicly acknowledged that the stop-at-two campaign during his time as Prime Minister, was a mistake, considering the demographic winter that his country is now experiencing. Very recently, the Chinese are reconsidering their one-child policy because of the very real prospect that China will be one of the first countries in the history of mankind to grow old before becoming rich. Strangely enough, even with 1.3 billion people, China is now suffering from acute labor shortages in key industrial cities and a tremendous imbalance between the male and female populations.

Coordinated By : Deepak R. Patra
          

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