[….] If you tuned into “60 Minutes” on Jan. 1 you heard Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, tell the audience, “I and the vast majority of my colleagues think we’ve had it; that the next few decades will be the end of the kind of civilization we’re used to.”
It’s the same prediction Ehrlich made in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s,” he wrote then, “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.”
His book gave a patina of scientific legitimacy to policies of the World Bank, United Nations Population Fund and others used by governments to forcibly drive down fertility in the semicolonial world.
In Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan, health workers’ salaries were set by the number of intrauterine devices they inserted into women. Millions were sterilized in Mexico, Bolivia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and elsewhere. In the Philippines, according to Smithsonian Magazine, birth-control pills were pitched out of helicopters over remote villages.
In India, some states required sterilization for both men and women to obtain water, electricity, medical care and pay raises. More than 8 million men and women in India were sterilized in 1975 alone.
Today Ehrlich is joined by the likes of Greta Thunberg and other “climate activists” who insist we are on the precipice of “mass extinction.” Les Knight, founder of Voluntary Human Extinction, says the best thing humans can do to help the Earth is to stop having babies and die out. “Look what we did to this planet,” Knight told the New York Times. “We’re not a good species.”
Instead of pointing to the capitalist system whose profit drive condemns billions of human beings the world over to live with insufficient food, clothing, medical care, shelter and more, Ehrlich and others like him say the problem is too many people.
But we aren’t the problem. It’s our labor that transforms nature, and is the source of all wealth, and all advances in social productivity, culture and conservation. It’s a matter of how social labor is organized, to whose benefit, to what social and economic ends.
And that depends on which class holds state power, as the Socialist Workers Party explains in “The Stewardship of Nature Also Falls to the Working Class: In Defense of Land and Labor,” printed in New International no. 14. [….]
Paul Ehrlich is still peddling ‘population bomb’ hysteria – The Militant