Ecology and Population

Population Management and Development

Family planning programs forced on the 3rd world countries by the West are claiming that fertility fall is a means to achieving economic development. History has proven this to be a deception. This intent at deception is meant to persuade 3rd World families to do something that they would not do otherwise. This in plain language is coercion. China’s 1-child policy is not unique in this coercive element. Peoples’ freedom to make their own choices is violated – it is assumed that couples are not capable of making rational decisions regarding family size.

When confronted with this deception population control advocates fall back on the argument that population control at least facilitates development. It reduces the burden of dependency on the economically active population and eases the financing of development. This is another deception.

 

 

The Philippines is well known as a failure in family planning with contraceptive prevalence rate remaining at 47% in spite of enormous resources poured into this program. Family size which was 7.29 in 1950-1955 went down to 3.29 in 2000-2005 or by 50% in a span of 50 years. This gradual fall in fertility has also brought down its dependency rate from .89% in 1950 to .77% in 2000 or 13% over the 50 year period. Its median age (considered by the UN as an important indicator of ageing) was 18.2 in 1950 barely increased by 21% to 22.2 by 2005 indicating a population that has remained young over the span of 50 years.

Thailand on the other hand is touted as a great family planning success and held up as a model for the Philippines to emulate. Its contraceptive prevalence rate is currently at 72%. TFR in Thailand fell from 6.4 in 1950 to 1.95 in 2000 or a 70% drop. In 1950 its dependency rate was also .89 like the Philippines. By 2000 the dependency rate had gone down to a low .56 or a 37% fall from the 1950 level. This abrupt dive in fertility has caused its median age to shoot up by 64% from 18.6 in 1950 to 30.5 in 2005. It means that 50% of its population is now older than 30.5 years.

 

Singapore is a sterling example of an even more successful family planning under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yu. A clever mix of sloganeering population control propaganda: “Stop at Two” and housing policies that favored families with two children resulted in a dramatic change in Singapore’s attitude towards children in the 1960’s. TFR was at 6.4 in 1950 dropped to below replacement rate of 1.87 in 1970 or by 70% in 25 years. Its dependency rate fell sharply from .79 in 1950 to .47 in 1975 or a 40% drop. The birth cohorts started shrinking dramatically in the 1960’s. It went down from 15.1% of population in 1965 (this is the 40-44 cohort in 2000) to 9.9% by 1975 (30-34 cohort in 2000). Since then its TFR has steadily fallen down to 1.35 in 2000 after a slight blip in 1990 – these are most likely the babies of the age cohorts that are in the 35-39 age group in the year 2000. In the next five years Singapore’s median age will have risen to 40.6 indicating the rapid aging of its population.

 

 

The demographic dividend to be gained from family planning is not really a dividend – it also comes with rapid aging. The generation that enjoys the reduced burden of dependency is in fact “living off” its demographic capital very much like the prodigal son who spends his inheritance in his father’s lifetime. The basis of UN projections for TFR to increase to 1.84 by 2050 is not clear when under this assumption Singapore’s median age will have reached 52.1 and the 0-14 age group will constitute a mere 12.6% of its population. Singapore’s population will decrease in absolute terms from 2035 onwards. This is the picture of a nation bent on genocide. The new population document released by the UN now admits that “The primary consequence of fertility decline, especially if combined with increases in life expectancy, is population ageing ”[32] Ageing is but a euphemism for genocide.

What About Poverty?

The existence of so much poverty in the World is difficult to deny. “ despite this impressive progress, massive human deprivation remains. More than 800 million people suffer from undernourishment. More than a billion people survive on less than $1 a day.”[33] The poor are also blamed for a multitude of ecological disasters, from urban congestion, to causing traffic, higher crime rates, etc., as if it were not enough to be poor. Poverty is blamed on population growth. These are really two separate issues: first, whether overpopulation is indeed the cause of poverty and second, whether poverty magnifies the human impact on the environment.

Economists blame poverty on factors that lead to unshared prosperity and the persistent and possibly growing inequality. One can run through the whole gamut of factors starting with the enormous burden of foreign debt, the structural adjustment programs imposed by World Bank and IMF on poor countries, the rising corruption and inefficient governance in 3rd world countries, etc. to explain the growing gap between the rich and the poor countries. Amartya Sen states that to see in population growth the main reason for the growth of overcrowded and very poor slums in large cities, for example, is not empirically convincing. Why is New York Harlem more deprived when compared with the poorer districts of Singapore when the US population growth rate is 1.0 and Singapore's is 1.8?[34]

The poor suffer from deprivation not because there is overpopulation but because they do not have the income to make their needs felt in the market. Too much of the world’s resources go into meeting the needs of the rich. This table on the 1998 global spending priorities speaks for itself. Pharmaceutical companies in the West are too busy producing Viagra than anti-biotic to rid the 3rd World countries of the most common infectious diseases that have been eradicated in the West.

This tendency to associate poverty and population growth has naturally been used to justify targeting of the poor with family planning programs. This approach of “blaming the victims” is typical of the racist mentality of Malthusians. It views the poor as an under-class who should not be allowed to propagate.

Are the poor a threat to the environment? In 3rd world countries they have been blamed for destruction of the rain forest, the depletion of marine resources, and even of rise in CO2 emission! While humans are largely responsible for many problems of the planet today, not all humans have the same impact on the environment.

It has been thoroughly documented that the consumption of the worlds wealthiest fifth of humanity is so much more than the rest of the world. Globally, the 20% of the world's people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures – the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest fifth:[35]

Global priorities in spending in 1998
Global Priority
$U.S. Billions
Basic education for everyone in the world
6
Cosmetics in the United States
8
Water and sanitation for everyone in the world
9
Ice cream in Europe
11
Reproductive health for all women in the world
12
Perfumes in Europe and the United States
12
Basic health and nutrition for everyone in the world
13
Pet foods in Europe and the United States
17
Business entertainment in Japan
35
Cigarettes in Europe
50
Alcoholic drinks in Europe
105
Narcotics drugs in the world
400
Military spending in the world
780

 

 

It is the runaway growth in consumption in the past 50 years that is putting pressure on the environment never before seen.[36] Unfair trade and globalization extends the economic power of rich countries beyond their borders to use the resources of 3rd world countries. Going beyond the concept of “carrying capacity”[37] (the size of the population that an area of land can support) one can now define “ecological footprint”[38] of developed countries because the resources used to meet their consumption requirements extend far beyond the land area of their borders.

 

Sustainable Development

Since man’s adjustment to his material and physical environment is no other than development the concept of sustainable development has to be discussed. Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.[39] The term was an offshoot of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit which put together a plan of action for nations to produce national sustainable development strategies.

In spite of the apparent reasonableness of this definition the term sustainable development has been perverted to justify unreasonable regulation designed to constrain economic activity based on unproven fears of future environmental consequences. Agenda 21 of the Rio document calls for changing the very infrastructure of developed nations away from private ownership and control of property to a national zoning system run by non-elected, faceless bureaucrats and special interest groups. Environmental policies will outlaw modern conveniences and technologies that are considered unsustainable. Sustainable development is a new form of totalitarianism in the name of environmental protection.

This perversion is premised on the “intrinsic value” of nature and the need to preserve it “for its own sake.” Cutting down trees or filling in a mosquito-infested swamp (now called wetland!) to erect houses and hospitals, or mining ore to build machines and medical instruments, or constructing dams to generate electricity, or drilling gas wells to fuel our cars and heat our homes -- industrial activities that improve man's environment – are considered immoral because they harm the “intrinsic value”of the non-human environment. This attitude of invariably putting nature first whenever human needs conflict with its “protection” makes environmentalism essentially biocentric rather than anthropocentric. This “intrinsic value” philosophy is a complete reversal of the biblical mandate that gives man dominion over the earth and all its living creatures. Hence, nature must be kept pristine despite harm caused to humans. We must halt activities beneficial to us, such as farming, forestry, cancer treatment, in order to safeguard fish, birds, trees, and rats.

Past forms of totalitarianism required man to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the proletariat, the nation or the Fuhrer. This time man has to sacrifice development and freedom itself or run the risk of global cooling, global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, population bombs, killer pesticides, etc. This gives politicians the power to arbitrarily decide the extent to which humans (including their individual rights and prosperity) are to be sacrificed for nature’s sake. Companies are forced to perform confusing, time-consuming and costly “environmental impact studies” to assess the “harm done to nature itself.”

The fundamental goal of environmentalists is not clean air and clean water; rather it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Their goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather it is to construct a subhuman world where “nature” is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion.

Sustainable development is also a buzzword to advance the UN agenda of global governance. Starting with the Montreal Protocol banning CFC’s (to protect the ozone layer), then the UN Biodiversity Treaty (to protect endangered species) it has now gone ahead to the Kyoto Protocol (to limit CO2 emissions). This is not the place to review the scientific evidence against these doomsday scenarios but one can cite the Oregon Petition Project. The Kyoto Protocol seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries below their level in 1990 based on projections of models predicting an increase in global temperatures between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius over the next century. The Oregon Petition Project disagreed with these estimates and with the signature of 17,000 climatologists, meteorologists, and other experts it states: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.”[40]

Jacquiline Kasun asserts that sustainable development is now pushed as the altruistic motive for justifying population control for advanced countries. Advocates of sustainable development are not merely talking about birth control for less developed countries. World population control must also include the United States and by implication the other developed nations.[41] Obviously they have already won the war since fertility in developed countries is now way below replacement rate.

 

Global Population Trends

According to UN projections global population is expected to level off at 10.5 Billion before the end of 23rd century. UN has had a long history of overestimating population projections. There is no guarantee that the latest projection will be more accurate than past ones. It assumes that developed countries will increase TFR from the current 1.46 to 1.84 by 2045-2050. There is no explanation why TFR is assumed to stabilize at 1.84. In spite of the fact that the oldest-old (aged 80 years and over) represent the fastest growing of the world population (673 Million in 2050) there is no discussion on how this would impact on mortality trends.[42] More emphasis is given to the impact of HIV AIDS to mortality rates (33.6 Million in 2050). It is very likely that global population will level off sooner than the mid-2300 UN prediction. An over-estimate of fertility and underestimate of mortality would mean that CDR and CBR would intersect sooner and level off global population sometime in the 22nd century.

In spite of its nonchalant admission that fertility decline causes ageing the UN remains relentless in its promotion of family planning. There is no hint of remorse over its responsibility for bringing races at the brink disappearance in the next century or so.[43] This attitude is strikingly different from the UN’s impassioned protection of endangered species and its promotion of biodiversity. Here again is evidence of the strong influence of environmentalism on a biocentric paradigm for the UN. It would appear that the UN is also convinced that global population should go down to 2 Billion at all cost.[44] [45]


Conclusions

It now appears that there is really a population bomb but instead of the much dreaded population explosion it is going to be a population implosion. Among the countries which will start experiencing an absolute decrease in population during the first half of this century are those countries at the forefront of the Judeo-Christian culture in the past. While the last half of the 20th century was spent debating life issues related to conception one can expect that the first half of the 21st century will be spent debating life issues related to death. Bioethics practitioners will have to gird themselves for this war.

Far from leading coming to the brink of a disastrous population explosion man did indeed fulfill the divine mandate to establish dominion over creation through science and technology in a triumph of creativity. Although there is a need for more awareness of man’s stewardship over nature it is important to emphasize that there is so much deception in the numerous threats of environmental disaster. Human creativity will also mitigate the threats that science and technology may pose to the environment. Man’s awesome achievements should not be taken for granted and should confirm our conviction of the dignity of man and the value of human life.


Endnotes:

[1] Given on December 7, 2005, Manila during the International Congress on Bioethics on Evangelium Vitae ten years after, organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life and the University of Santo Thomas. [Back]

[2] These apocalyptic views are seriously argued by Paul Ehrlich his books Population Bomb (Ballantine, 1968) and Population Explosion (Simon and Shuster, 1990), the latter co-authored with his wife Anne H. Ehrlich. [Back]

[3] Thomas Robert Malthus, Essay on the Principle of Population As It Affects the Future Improvement of Society with Remarks on the Speculation of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers (London: J. Johnson, 1798), Chapter 8; in the Penguin classics edition, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1982) [Back]

[4] See Simon Kuznets, Modern Economic Growth (Yale University Press, 1966). [Back]

[5] Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends, Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 1994 [Back]

[6] Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.” [Back]

[7] Genesis 1:31: “And God saw all the things that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” [Back]

[8] The Judeo-Christian culture is essentially theocentric, placing God at the very center of all created order. This statement of an anthropocentric principle is really made in opposition to biocentrism which is strongly condemned by the Church Magisterium. Thus n. 463 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church rejects ecocentrism and biocentrism as a conceptual basis of the environment since this proposes that the ontological and axiological difference between man and other living beings be eliminated with the biosphere considered a biotic unity of undifferentiated value. [Back]

[9] Rev. Joseph M. de Torre, From Environment to Environmentalism, posted at http://www.catholiceducation.org [Back]

[10] Jay W. Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Regnery, 2004) [Back]

[11] Christopher Dawson, The Religion of the North American Indians, at http://www.catholiceducation.org [Back]

[12] Boserup, Ester, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure (1965) Chicago: Aldine. [Back]

[13] Op. cit. [Back]

[14] The graph came from Keith Montgomery’s article, The Demographic Transition published at http://www.uwmc.uwc.edu/geography/Demotrans/demtran.htm [Back]

[15] Ibid. [Back]

[16] “Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.” Thomas Malthus, Essay on the Principles of Population, 1798 [Back]

[17] Boserup, Ester 1981 Population and Technological Change: A Study of Long Term Trends. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago [Back]

[18] Overton, Mark, Agricultural Revolution in England, 1500-1850, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/society_culture/industrialisation/agricultural_revolution_01.shtml [Back]

[19] Keith Montgomery’s article, The Demographic Transition published at http://www.uwmc.uwc.edu/geography/Demotrans/demtran.htm [Back]

[20] op. cit. [Back]

[21] Amartya Sen, Population: Delusion and Reality, http://finance.commerce.ubc.ca/~bhatta/ArticlesByAmartyaSen/amartya_sen_on_population.html [Back]

[22] Downloaded from: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2.htm [Back]

[23] The UN declared 1960-1970 the First Development Decade [Back]

[24] UNDP, Human Development Report 2004, p. 129 [Back]

[25] World Fertility Report 2004 [Back]

[26] Rosa Linda G. Valenzona, Contraceptives are Overrated!, 2005, unpublished work. [Back]

[27] This can be downloaded from the FAOSTAT Home page with URL at http://faostat.fao.org/faostat/default.jsp?language=EN&version=ext&hasbulk=0 [Back]

[28] Amartya Sen, Population: Delusion and Reality, in http://finance.commerce.ubc.ca/~bhatta/ArticlesByAmartyaSen/amartya_sen_on_population.html [Back]

[29] Ibid. [Back]

[30] Read about it in Joseph Kellard, Reason vs. Faith: Julian Simon vs. Paul Ehrlich, April 26, 1998, Capitalism Magazine [Back]

[31] Op. cit. [Back]

[32] World Population Prospects, the 2004 Revision, Key Findings, n.14 , United Nations , Department of Economic Affairs, Population Division, 24 February 2005 [Back]

[33] UNDP, Human Development Report 2004, p. 129 [Back]

[34] Op. cit. [Back]

[35] Anup Shah http, Behind Consumption and Consumerism, http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Consumption.asp [Back]

[36] Ibid. [Back]

[37] Hardin, G. (1991) Paramount positions in ecological economics, in R. Costanza,(Ed.). Ecological economics: The science and management of sustainability, pp. 47-57. New York: Columbia University Press. [Back]

[38] Rees, William E., Revisiting Carrying Capacity, Area-Based Indicators of Sustainability [Back]

[39] Although the term sustainable development was first coined in the UN Earth Summit in 1992, this definition is attributed to the 1987 Brundtland Commission. [Back]

[40] View the Oregon Petition Project at http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p37.htm. At the very least this website and many other resources in the web proves that global warming as well as many other gloomy environmental predictions are the subject of unresolved scientific debates, contrary to the insistence of many environmentalist. [Back]

[41] Jacqueline R. Kasun, Doomsday Every Day Sustainable Economics, Sustainable Tyranny, The Independent Review, v. IV, n. 1, Summer 1999, ISSN 1086-1653, Copyright 1999, pp. 91-106 [Back]

[42] World Population Prospects, the 2004 Revision United Nations , Department of Economic Affairs, Population Division, 24 February 2005 [Back]

[43] The genocide condemned by the Church in n. 506 Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church referring to the elimination of entire national, ethnic, religious or linguistic groups is ordinarily applied to such crimes as the Nazi holocaust, the ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia in recent times. However, it is undeniable that the voluntary reduction of fertility to levels below replacement by advanced countries is a form of voluntary genocide because it will eventually spell the disappearance of entire races. [Back]

[44] This is the professed objective of bizarre groups such as the ZPG (Zero Population Growth), NPG (Negative Population Growth), (VHEM) Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, GLF (Gaia Liberation Front) according to Mark Burdman and Roger More, Executive Intelligence Review, July 18, 1997 [Back]

[45] The Holy See has repeatedly condemned UN population control programs. Vatican Information Service, November 4, 1996 reports the Vatican’s announcement of withdrawal of its contribution to UNICEF for the latter’s advocacy for the distribution of abortifacient 'post-coital contraceptives' to refugee women in emergency situations, for altering national legislation regarding abortion and involvement in distribution of contraceptives and counseling their use in third world countries. [Back]

1, 2,