Overpopulation Hoax

By Walter E. Williams
Editors Note: AmmoLand News welcomes Walter E.Williams to our growing list of the best and brightest conservative commentators.

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Overpopulation Hoax
Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population.”

He predicted that mankind's birthrate would outstrip our ability to grow food and would lead to mass starvation.

Malthus' wrong predictions did not deter Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich from making a similar prediction. In his 1968 best-seller, “The Population Bomb,” which has sold more than 2 million copies, Ehrlich warned: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” This hoax resulted in billions of dollars being spent to fight overpopulation.

According to the standard understanding of the term, human overpopulation occurs when the ecological footprint of a human population in a specific geographical location exceeds the carrying capacity of the place occupied by that group. Let's look at one aspect of that description — namely, population density. Let's put you, the reader, to a test. See whether you can tell which country is richer and which is poorer just by knowing two countries' population density.

North Korea's population density is 518 people per square mile, whereas South Korea's is more than double that, at 1,261 people per square mile. Hong Kong's population density is 16,444, whereas Somalia's is 36. Congo has 75 people per square mile, whereas Singapore has 18,513. Looking at the gross domestic products of these countries, one would have to be a lunatic to believe that smaller population density leads to greater riches. Here are some GDP data expressed in millions of U.S. dollars: North Korea ($17,396), South Korea ($1,411,246), Hong Kong ($320,668), Somalia ($5,707), Congo ($41,615) and Singapore ($296,967).

The overpopulation hoax has led to horrible population control programs.

The United Nations Population Fund has helped governments deny women the right to choose the number and spacing of their children. Overpopulation concerns led China to enact a brutal one-child policy. Forced sterilization is a method of population control in some countries. Nearly a quarter-million Peruvian women were sterilized. Our government, through the U.N. Population Fund, is involved in “population moderation” programs around the world, including in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.

The entire premise behind population control is based on the faulty logic that humans are not valuable resources. The fact of business is that humans are what the late Julian L. Simon called the ultimate resource. That fact becomes apparent by pondering this question: Why is it that Gen. George Washington did not have cellphones to communicate with his troops and rocket launchers to sink British ships anchored in New York Harbor? Surely, all of the physical resources — such as aluminum alloys, copper, iron ore and chemical propellants — necessary to build cellphones and rocket launchers were around during Washington's time. In fact, they were around at the time of the cave man. There is only one answer for why cellphones, rocket launchers and millions of other things are around today but were not around yesteryear. The growth in human knowledge, human ingenuity, job specialization and trade led to industrialization, which, coupled with personal liberty and private propert!
y rights, made it possible. Human beings are valuable resources, and the more we have of them the better.

The greatest threat to mankind's prosperity is government, not population growth. For example, Zimbabwe was agriculturally rich but, with government interference, was reduced to the brink of mass starvation. Any country faced with massive government interference can be brought to starvation. Blaming poverty on overpopulation not only lets governments off the hook but also encourages the enactment of harmful, inhumane policies.

Today's poverty has little to do with overpopulation. The most commonly held characteristics of non-poor countries are greater personal liberty, private property rights, the rule of law and an economic system closer to capitalism than to communism. That's the recipe for prosperity.

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

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    GilTheDoctor9143RogerWild BillColonialgirl Recent comment authors
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    TheDoctor9143
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    TheDoctor9143

    Mr. Williams ignores Paul Ehrlich’s later book, Population, Resources and Environment in which he postulates that all animal populations (including humans) are subject to limitation by the following factors: Disease, Famine and Aggression (in humans, we call it war). Those three factors ultimately control all animal populations, most often through rather violent cycles. One can put whatever blame on governments that you wish, but in the end, the three factors above are the limiting factors for ALL animal populations.

    Roger
    Guest
    Roger

    While I hold Walter in high esteem I think his conclusion is based on an incomplete synthesis of all the facts. Today I concede it is possible to have extremely high population densities in cities and nation states like HK, Singapore and Seoul, but I believe it is faulty to compare those examples with low density, poor areas, like Sudan, where supporting any life due to climatic extremes is nearly impossible. In my lifetime we’ve gone from 3B to nearly 8B, and I’d guess we’ll push up against 10-12B before long. I really don’t want to think of this globe… Read more »

    Colonialgirl
    Guest
    Colonialgirl

    The problem over “over population” and unlimited procreating is limited to some areas where there seems to be NO birth control or pregnancy prevention (sections of Africa, India and the far East come to mind) That’s why we keep getting pictures of the “poor starving Children”, Tiny scrawny babies and sad looking women. Sorry, IF you and your country can’t support a bigger population QUIT having children.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    I am not too worried about world over population because in addition to the four Ebola filo-viruses, there are Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever, Oroppuche fever, Rocio, Q.Guanarito fever, Vee fever, Monkey pox, rabies like strains of Mokola and Duvenhage fever, LeDantee, Kyasanur Forest Brain fever, and of course HIV-AIDS. have all emerged in our lifetimes. One other fact that you should know, no virus has ever been cured by a medical doctor, not one…ever.

    Gil
    Guest
    Gil

    Actually why not? Many White and Asian folks have either stable or declining populations. People in the poorest parts of the world have diseases to keep their population in check . But Muslim countries have very high birth rates where they can export large numbers of people to the West and still have strong population growth.

    NoBull
    Guest
    NoBull

    Gotta wonder if the gil ever takes a moment to read what it types before submitting. It pretends to rational thought while merely spewing gibberish. Surely it would be more at home at Slate or Rolling Stone – they speak the same libtard language.

    dj
    Guest
    dj

    hey gil, I ALREADY have 4 children, all with advanced degrees. More than u can scrap and scratch together in the dark corners of ur creepy basement in or wherever planet ur on. Lonely and perpetual bitter Cold, hopefully. For me, my oldest daughter is a level 3 trauma qualified ED MD, her sister is a psycologist with a recent masters from LSU treating PTSD for the VA, a son whom is a new police officer and the youngest whom just graduated from A & M this month with no clue for a major yet. So gil I’ve AREADY done… Read more »

    dj
    Guest
    dj

    Hey gil,
    How much extra room can u spare for all those wannabee newbie pervert neighbors in your mommies basement? Besides, it was and is obviously lonely as an “only” child, especially when ur mommie realized she couldn’t cope with 2 of u. And it’ll be intersting playing in the dark with all ur new found “friends” from “open borders”. Except u ain’t in America. Thank, God!
    Now back to ur western reruns……..
    And Dr. Williams WAS spot on as usual!

    Gil
    Guest
    Gil

    The only way you could ever procreate was relying on rape and pro-lifers.

    Lawrence Rupp
    Guest
    Lawrence Rupp

    Real Data Closely Follows The LTG Basic Scenario

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse
    These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. The dotted line shows the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2100. Up to 2010, the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.

    http://sustainable.unimelb.edu.au/sites/default/files/docs/MSSI-ResearchPaper-4_Turner_2014.pdf

    http://simplicitycollective.com/my-interview-with-graham-turner-on-limits-to-growth

    Cap'n Dave
    Guest
    Cap'n Dave

    I normally like what I read from Mr. Williams, but sorry; this is intellectual drivel. His ivory-tower academic posture –at least on this one argument– is pretty pale stuff compared to what happens out there in nature when the growing swarm of mankind does stupid, short-sighted stuff. I’ve watched the Chesapeake Bay get polluted and die in my lifetime; the gorgeous reefs of the Florida Keys go the same way… and countless other insults that an overpopulated mankind was wrought on our environment. No, I’m not a Birkenstock-wearing, Volvo-driving lefty; sent here to troll a gun blog. I’m a deer-shooting,… Read more »

    FarmerDave
    Guest
    FarmerDave

    I must submit that Chesapeake Bay and Florida were not ruined by over population, but by Corporate greed. There are those who must have more and more to try and satisfy their insatiable lust for everything and dominion over everyone. Everyone I know is happy to live on a few acres and will not harm the environment. It is said that the entire population of the world could live in the state of Texas with an acre of land and provide for their own food. But how many of our lazy peoples would care to labor in the soil.

    jim
    Guest
    jim

    In the State of TX or in an area the size of the State of TX? Important distinction as is the analysis of the statement considering not just arable land but also of the resources for industry and utility.

    Cap’n Dave is on the mark; not every ejaculation deserves a name.

    One other thing: I DESPISE viewing humans as “resources”. It legitiimizes all sorts of abuses of the character of their existence

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    regarding this: what happens out there in nature when the growing swarm of mankind does stupid, short-sighted stuff. Most of the time when mankind do stupid shortighted stuff, one does not have to look long or deep to find a government official and policy at the root of it. Part of the problem is how young people are “educated” these days…. they are more likely to be taught about the glories of lightbulbs costing ten times what the outlawed ones used to cost (and still could), emit unhealthy light, leading to health issues, and contain poisons so dangerous that when… Read more »

    Gil
    Guest
    Gil

    Well I can paraphrase Ayn Rand to reply to the author “well there’s nothing stopping you from having 5 or more children as long as you can provide for their basics needs.” Then again how Libertarian do some here feel if “overpopulation is a hoax” is really a code-phrase for “have totally unrestricted borders and let everyone come in” now?

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    Hey gill, yer slippin’….. you were spozed ta say sumthin like “well, at the rate you gun owners are going, we’ll have so few people overpopulation won’t be an issue for long, you’ll be happy to just go out and shoot someone every day”. That seems to be your default position on most every issue. Your schtick about equating “overpopulaton is a hoax” with”totally unrestricted borders and let everyone come in now” meme is risible. In the few cases where an area cannot support the population, the issue is not resources being available, but how resources are stewarded. Venezuela is… Read more »