Saturday, July 11, 2009

The population bomb: why it didn't explode

In 1977, John Holdren wrote a book detailing what should be done about the then trendy coming population bomb: (1) forced abortions, (2) sterilization via infertility drugs in the water supply, (3) sterilization of those who "contribute to social deterioration," and (4) the formation of a trans-national armed police to enforce these policies. A person of such extreme views should have remained on the fringes except that Pres. Obama has just appointed Holgren to be his science czar.

For the skeptical, Zombietime has the details including scans of pages from Holdren's book.

Population trends were well understood by economists even when Holgren was writing his book: populations follow an S-curve. In undeveloped societies, even though the reproduction rates are typically near the biological maximum, population is constant due to limits of the food supply. (Under such conditions, many births are needed to ensure that one of your children survives to work the farm and provide for you in your old age.) As a society begins economic development, its population grows. This is the rising part of the S-curve. Developing societies start with the same birth rate as undeveloped societies but, since more children survive due to improved health and food production, the population grows rapidly. In developed countries, even though most children survive, population levels off or even declines (this is the top of the S) because, as people move away from the farm and also come to understand that most of their children will survive, they choose to have fewer children. Those who didn't understand these dynamics, such as Paul Ehrlich and Holgren, however, imagined that population would grow forever until disaster struck and therefore extreme policies were required. One can just hope that, as 'science czar,' Holgren will have little influence on actual policies.

Michelle Malkin has more on liberal advocacy of eugenics for racial improvement.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll points to this AP story which shows Holdren still advocating irresponsible policies, this time in the service of the "global warming" crisis:
The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics