Friday, May 11, 2018

Why Is The Corporate Media Concealing The Over Population Threat?

Isaac Asimov lectures in Barbados, on Feb. 6, 1976. He focused on the Moon, but also touched on the dangers of overpopulation with respect to Earth and its finite resources.

As I read an article in the local paper (COS Gazette) from 15 years ago, by Mitzi Perdue, it again occurred to me how the danger of excessive population growth is being soft-soaped, suppressed as if our consciousness of it is being hollowed out.  Ms. Perdue's article ('Population Quietly Keeps On Exploding') began:

"If you're over 50 you may remember in the early 1960s, one of the hottest topics for discussion was the population explosion. You could read about it on the cover of TIME magazine", e.g.
Image result for TIME population explosion cover

"Or in a book by Paul Ehrlich that topped the best seller list", e.g.

Image result for TIME population explosion cover
as well as constant editorials and articles.   Fast forward to the present and you'll see a startling reversal has taken place:The subject is rarely mentioned in the popular corporate media or by political figures. And this is in spite of the fact that many scientists will tell you that the population explosion is the number one problem facing mankind."

Indeed, one of those scientists - Albert E. Bartlett- within one year of Perdue's piece, wrote a stirring article ('Thoughts On Long Term Energy Supplies - Scientists And The Silent Lie') in Physics Today July, 2004, p. 53):

Writing that, in respect to why so many scientists remain silent on the issue:

 "Scientists’ general reticence stems from the fact that it is politically incorrect or unpopular to argue for stabilization of population – at least in the U.S. Or perhaps scientists are uncomfortable stepping outside their specialized areas of expertise”.

Adding that whatever the reason, it is equivalent to perpetuating a “silent lie”, a term derived from a Mark Twain quote:

“Almost all lies are acts, and speech has no part in them…I am speaking of the lie of silent assertion: we can tell it without saying a word.”
But while too many scientists have remained silent, the loopy bastion of neoliberal economists continue to chirp that more people are needed!  For example, The Wall Street Journal  article, Nov. 23, 2015, p. A1, 'Population's Flagging Growth Undermines Global Economy', wherein we learn:

Previous generations fretted about the world having too many people. Today's problem is too few. This reflects two long-established trends: lengthening lifespans and declining fertility.

Simply put, companies are running out of workers, customers or both. In either case economic growth suffers

Which is total balderdash given the World Bank and IMF at the time noted the OECD nations had well over 230 m citizens unemployed thanks to a combination of reasons including:   corporate restructuring, increased automation and offloading jobs to cheaper nations.  In other words, the adequate population to carry out whatever labor certainly exists, but just not in the same places!  The solution then isn't to produce more people but to move existing workers to places where jobs need to be filled.

And yet the propaganda that the world and most populous countries need more people continues to be piled on. Such as with the April 30 WSJ piece (p. A1) 'Limit  To China's Economic Rise: Not Enough Babies'.  - accompanied by the subsidiary header: 'The workforce is aging but Beijing's policies still discourage childbirth'.  And why shouldn't they? It was precisely those policies that have allowed China to compete with the industrialized West in terms of financial assets, including a large middle class.   As I've written before, castigating high birth rate morons like Bret Stephens (e.g. Nov. 5, 2015 post), after insisting China certainly has the "space" to pack another billion:

"The point is this numskull has no clue that supporting a massive population isn't simply based on finding the space in which to squeeze them. You also need to consider the support systems, for growing enough food to feed them all each day, as well as the water (clean water) to meet basic needs - not to mention an energy and transport infrastructure. And we aren't even going to get into the number of hospitals (or even urgent care centers) that'd be required to serve all their medical needs."

Then, taking on Stephen's criticism of China's "one child" policy:

"Nowhere in his little rant is Stephens honest enough to cite what China's fertility rate was in 1950. As per an earlier article in the WSJ (Nov. 2) it was 6.11 per woman.  (Compared to 1.55 now).

Does this bozo have any remote idea what such a birth rate would have translated into had China not acted? It would have meant a population exceeding 2.2 billion by 1990 and the Chinese never would have been able to support it, nor would the country have reached the near superpower status it has  - even being a creditor to U.S. bond debt. (Owning nearly $1.3 trillion of our bond debt). Further, China's trade capacity would never have evolved to what it become, nor would it have been able to support the military it has - now rivaling the U.S. in the Pacific.  For all intents, China would have remained little better than one of those poor, overpopulated African nations - from which hundreds of thousands are now trying to flee to get to Europe. "

Or, would have remained as generally impoverished as India in relative terms. (Difference of 10- 15 percent in economic growth, and ability to support a significantly bigger middle class.)   While it's true Indira Gandhi and others tried more coercive sterilization measures to halt India's exploding population, it never worked as well as China's one child policy. See e.g.
The dirty little secret? As India's numbers continued to explode beyond 2000, the Indian government was hard pressed to keep up in terms of providing support, resources.  This is why, when the WSJ pressed China's Deputy Director of its Family Planning Commission (Wang Peian)  - on whether the nation had enough fresh blood to provide able workers, and didn't need more babies, Mr. Wang tersely replied:

"China doesn't have a population shortage. Not now, not in 100 years."

Which is true. Its issue is not in the numbers per se, but the distribution of workers. The worker deficit problem can be solved by allocating more workers, more people then,  where they are needed.  It isn't solved by reproducing more mouths to feed who then must be tended to in their old age! That is the classic definition of a pyramid scheme.

As I've noted already,

"Here is the essential axiom: a nation cannot at once have a vast  rapidly growing population and material wealth. If the population outstrips its available resources it is condemned to destitution. The Chinese themselves, if the earlier WSJ story ('Chinese Face Hurdles To Baby Boom After Policy Shift')  is to be believed, are in no hurry to make more babies via the revised policy either. (And if Stephens took the time to read "ambitiously" the articles in his own paper he'd see that - before writing a column full of codswallop)."


"Maybe in Bret Stephens little pie-eyed capitalist clown fantasy world population can grow unabated with material wealth per person, and a family with seven or eight kids can afford "the best'. Alas, it doesn't work like that in most of the real world, by which I mean outside the gated enclaves of the rich.

The Cornucopians like Stephens get it wrong because they don't see population growth for the toxin it is, and can't put 2 plus 2 together to see how it leads to the Malthusian nightmare."

Which brings us to the issue of why the corporate media are so assiduously concealing or minimizing the problem of excess population. Well, first because they don't want you to know there is a problem!  How often, indeed, in the past ten years have you read anything concerning overshoot, i.e. that our numbers and their derivative consumption of existing resources is overtaking what is available? Even moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, then by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us.  This is shown in the following graph:

Which I doubt any major newspaper has published since it became available. Why not? Because it would cut through all the propaganda, PR and 'feel good' economic bunkum (e.g. about needing more people to increase global GDP) to show we are unambiguously in a crisis with regard to resource sustainability.

Second, there is no mention that every energy use and conversion pollutes and degrades the environment we depend upon. Hence, the more people, the more energy conversions and the more rapidly we descend into a high entropic, high waste world. (Already nations are refusing waste from the U.S,, e.g. piled onto ships and dispatched from NYC because it has insufficient landfill space). 

Too many of our citizens then fail to appreciate that every energy conversion process has as an accompaniment entropy, or disorder. In most cases this appears as waste heat, as well as pollutants. For example, a car engine produces carbon monoxide as well as carbon dioxide and waste heat generated via the internal combustion engine.  The 2nd law of thermodynamics or entropy law  states that the expelled gas constituents cannot ever be combined again to produce the original fuel. In other words, resource consumption here is a one way process. Resource extraction, such as oil shale fracking also has many adverse effects on the terrestrial environment, apart from the CO2 released when the stuff is burned (e.g. as kerogen)

Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be converted into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.

Lastly, the hedge funds and corporations that own the newspapers and run the boards of directors are in thrall to consumption and ever more debt.  If they spilled the beans about too many people already, they'd have to admit to their agenda of not only exploding population and exploding consumption but exploding debt. Already, consumer debt of all types (including student loan debt) in the U.S. has hit $15 trillion.   The increasing debt itself is a pronounced signal that things cannot go on as they are, e.g.

The astute and aware citizen must be sentient enough to know more people is not in humanity's best interest. Isaac Asimov, as part of his Barbados lecture (see top image), warned that humans had two choices: decrease their population to the carrying capacity limit to live in an equilibrium with the Earth and its resources, or let nature “increase the human death rate” (e.g. by starvation, pestilence, wars over resources etc.)

He also remarked:

"It is now the willingly childless woman who is the heroine of our planet. She is the one who now deserves all the kudos and praise, for helping to do what is necessary to spare humanity from the ravages of over-population"

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