Is Malthus In Charge?

Although China’s family planning policy has received criticism over the past three decades,[not least of which is for human rights violations] Zhao said that China’s population program has made a great historic contribution to the well-being of society. As a result of the family planning policy, China has seen 400 million fewer births, which has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year, Zhao said. The UN report projected that if the global population would remain 8 billion by the year 2050 instead of a little more than 9 billion according to medium-growth scenario, “it might result in 1 billion to 2 billion fewer tons of carbon emissions”.

With a subtitle claim that “The whole world needs to adopt China’s one-child policy” the Financial Post a Canadian newspaper, effectively supported the views of China’s minister.

The view that population control is key to affecting the future climate is just re-hashing of the failed philosophy of Malthus, that population growth will outpace growth in ingenuity and productivity. Readers should rightly be concerned about the future when one of the President’s key science advisors, John Holdren, is a long term neo-Malthusian. Remember the global-cooling scare? It was heavily pushed by none other. All of the doom merchants—famine, resource conflicts, overpopulation– were overly confident and still are loath to admit they were ever wrong. Holdren, for example, is sticking to his prediction that as many as one billion people could die by 2020 from (man-made) climate change. Almost a self-fulfilling prophesy, if the one child policy went worldwide. Remember the “population bomb” where many millions would die in food shortages and riots? Well, obesity turned out to be the real problem.

A powerful argument against climate alarmism is the failed worldview of modern neo-Malthusianism, which has promoted fear after fear with an elite mentality that they know better than the rest of us.

See the thing is, human ingenuity has, and will, solve mankind’s dilemmas. Historically, innovation has improved food production, lifespan, all measures of world health and wellbeing. The unborn may well include the children who have the innovation gene. It would be better to nurture those future generations than to eliminate them. After, we can all agree that the future is “for the children.”

This post originally ran on Speakout for America on December 13, 2009

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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