"In 1972, the Club of Rome's The Limits to Growth (Universe Books) suggested that at exponential growth rates, the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and natural gas by 1993. The end was nigh." - From the Reason website.
Sleepless nights & billions required
Bill Gates cant sleep at night. He is a worried man. He is spending billions (ok ... ok ... not billions for now ... just hundreds of millions) to solve this problem. Ted Turner is equally worried. He has already given away billions - and waiting in line to give away more. David Packard (of Hewlett Packard) was an equally worried man. His foundation has given hundreds of millions each year.
What's worrying them? Linux? Naah Why worry? Is anyone else making money?. Mobile phones OS. That is Nokia's problem. Google? They are a long way off. Let them get closer.
So, what is it? It is the thought of all the Asians, Browns and the Blacks in the world having sex. And the children they will have. Bill Gates, Ted Turner, The Packard family are not alone.
Kill The Problem At The Root
Before the chemical process for synthesis of chloroquine phosphate (for malaria treatment) was invented, the most popular synthetic compound was quinacrine. Quinacrine fell out of favour as patients did not tolerate quinacrine well and after a course of quinacrine, acquired a yellow complexion. Choloroquine phosphate became the anti-malarial drug of choice.
What happened to quinacrine. The world forgot about it. Except a small Swiss company, Sipharm Sesseln AG. This company was making quinacrine for two Americans - Stephen D.Mumford, and Elton Kessel.
What were these two doing with quinacrine.
They want to change the world with quinacrine - by sterilising women in the Third World. "This explosion in human numbers, which after 2050 will come entirely from immigrants and the offspring of immigrants, will dominate our lives. There will be chaos and anarchy," said Stephen Mumford. They had read Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb. They were worried. Just imagine living with Indians, Vietnamese, Banglas, etc!
Urgh! And urgh again! Yech ... yech ...
How much money did Mumford and Kessel make? Nothing at all! They were true believers - in their own race. They just wanted to use this cheap drug technology to stop reproduction of other races.
They were funded by rich anti-immigration individuals in the US - and they used a untested and unapproved method of sterilisation. When poor women came for pelvic examination, these two and their associates, injected quinacrine, which causes an internal bodily reaction which impairs subsequent reproduction. This method may also cause cancer, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain and fever. Very soon they notched up impressive numbers - more than 1,00,000 such sterilisations in Vietnam, another 1,00,000 in India, and another 1,00,000-2,00,000 in the rest of the world.
This story won awards. The writer's name - Alix M. Freedman. When this story broke out on WSJ, there was heat, this anti-immigration groups put up a an Indian doctor to certify the safety of this procedure.
What did the manufacturer have to say about the risk of the product? Sipharm Sesseln AG President Fritz Schneiter told her (Alix M. Freedman) "But it isn't our role to check if this is safe or not. We aren't the conscience of the world."
Where did this madness begin. There are many threads to this story.
One thread ...
In the beginning
In 1937, this young genius scored 800 all correct answers in his GMAT test (a first in the history of GMAT) - and joined Harvard Business School. Harvard milked this story to sell its struggling business school. In the next 60 years, only 3 others scored 800 points - all Indians, confirms the IIT, Mumbai website.
The young genius was Robert S. McNamara (ironically, S. stands for Strange). During WW2, he was a part of the Statistical Control Office. Statistics is what the legendary Edward Deming used to increase production and improve quality during WW2 in the USA. Robert McNamara, Col. Charles B. “Tex” Thornton and 8 others were a team that were in-charge of war transportation and logistics. They made these 'boring' jobs glamorous - and used their academic excellence to create an aura around themselves.
At Ford Motors
After WW2, this team joined Ford Motors. Ford PR team promoted them as the Whiz Kids, the American press lionized them, even as Ford's business results were ordinary. This Ford connection was to prove relevant to McNamara's activity later, we will see. The Ford in charge of the company was Henry Ford II, a direct descendant of the racist Henry Ford, who bankrolled Hitler and funded research into Eugenics - whose most famous practitioner turned out be Joseph Mengele.
The Kennedy Presidency
In 1961, Robert McNamara became Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's presidency was marred by more scandals than any other. Joseph Kennedy. JFK's father made his fortune from bootlegging, many Wall Street Scams - and reputed shorted the market, which resulted in the Great Depression. From here the story picks up speed.
In 1954, the Viet Minh defeated the French Army at Dienbienphu. Eisenhower outlined the infamous Domino Theory - based on Anglo Saxon paranoia that the whole world was against them (unfortunately, not true) and an assumption that Asia was retarded and incapable of making a suitable political choice - and that the Anglo Saxons knew better. The French handed over their mess to the Americans and walked away in 1956.
Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread
Lyndon Johnson (on advice of McNamara) increased American involvement against the Vietnamese - and Kennedy-McNamara turned this into a war. Without permission from the US Congress, which is essential as per US constitution. Then began the lies, duplicity, covert operations - directly monitored by McNamara. The Vietnamese had the support of the Russians and the Chinese. American troops increased to 500,000 in this illegal (as per the US constitution) war. Cost to the USA - more than 200,000 dead or disabled. Cost to Vietnam - incalculable.
What McNamara Learnt From Vietnam
The Americans lost the Vietnam War - in spite of their wealth and technology, against a determined enemy. From the experience of the Vietnam War, what could have preyed on McNamara's mind, was that India and China could raise an army bigger than the entire population of United States. The technological edge that America was not very useful against a determined enemy - and worse, was only temporary. But the population superiority that the Indians and the Chinese had was permanent.
India' subsequent rise in technology (with engineering skills in software, pharma, automobiles, etc.) and the Chinese rise in manufacturing proved some of McNamara's 'fears' true.
You win, we lose was what the famous Lester Thurow proposed in his book, The Zero Sum Game. Is the 'rise' of India and China a threat to America - and the West? In Anglo Saxon terms, the 'rise' of India and China is a zero-sum gain.
If India and China prosper, the West will lose, goes the paranoid thinking. Contributory growth as opposed to supplanting growth is an alien concept in Anglo Saxon strategy. Hence, the theory that population is the biggest problem for India and China - was 'created' as a development strategy.
How the Developing World bought this dud
Initially the Carnegie Endowment and the Ford Foundation worked with USAID, (part of the US Government) to sell this theory - specially to the Chinese and the Indians. Since, there was no 'apparent' economic or political interest of the Americans, this paranoid construct was given respect as a theory. This lack of 'apparent' self interest also helped the 'Ugly American' (The Ugly American, by Eugene Burdick William Julius Lederer) to cover his face.
Next, the American economic aid started coming with the 'population control' strings attached. It took a while for the dots to start getting connected. At the first whiff of a scandal, USAID, Ford Foundation and Carnegie Endowments handed over this project to the UN, World Bank and IMF. This gave the Population Control programme, the respect it did not deserve.
Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb (1968) coincided with the start of Robert McNamara's World Bank stint. Together, the "smartest man" (Lyndon Johnson's description of Robert McNamara) and Paul Ehrlich did a hatchet job on this. Economists Herman Kahn and Max Singer (of the Hudson Institute) did come out with a alternative model which disproved this theory. Yet in the midst of the din, the furore and the determined PR push by various UN bodies, the World Bank and the IMF, poor Third World countries never examined this theory critically.
The Western world synchronised and the infamous Club of Rome's The Limits to Growth predictions were released ..."the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and natural gas by 1993. The end was nigh" intoned the The Club Of Rome (from Reasononline ...). This psuedo-academic report was jointly authored by heavyweights - Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III.
The venue for the release of this report was carefully chosen - Smithsonian Institute, to give it an air of solidity and authority. This report itself was released with much fanfare, publicity and PR. Yale economist Henry C. Wallich noted, "the quantitative content of the model comes for the authors' imagination, although they never reveal the equations that they used."
Economist Julian Simon rubbished this theory and made the famous Simon-Ehrlich US$100 bet - against the population doomsdayers. Julian Simon won the bet. Of course, he may bet either because he believed in the continued dominance of the western mode of exploitation or the inability of the rest of the world to stop this exploitation.
The bottom line was that these economists (the Ehrlich's, The Club Of Rome, The McNamara's, etc.) wanted the poor of this world to feel guilty about sex, about electricity, about having cattle, drinking milk and eating food.
Western critics (like critics Hermann Kahn and Max Singer) of the population theory were saying "Why bother? Our technology and military, economic might ensure that they (the poor) never lay their hands on the goodies!"
What Is The Impact
The Chinese Communist dictatorship rammed this policy down the poor Chinese throat - and still does. Vietnam has made its citizens into guinea pigs. India was ideologically committed to this and practically did little. Call this ambivalence - except for a brief while during the 1975-1977 Emergency. During the Emergency phase, Sanjay Gandhi in India very much did, what had happened in the US and Europe earlier under the Eugenics laws. Forcible sterilisations and human rights abuses. The ethical ramifications are real and present.
The greater damage in India (and in the rest of the world) is the disrespect it has created for humanity amongst the administrative class and the advantaged. The population problem is 'others' - and western altruistic ethics and racist ideologies sanction solutions for the 'greater good.' Indian ethical system and constructs approve of purusharth पुरुशार्थ - धर्म dharm (righteousnss) arth, अर्थ (wealth), काम kaam (desire, including sexual desire) and मोक्ष moksh (deliverance, freedom, liberty at various levels, political, social, from life and death, from death by a thousand cuts) and disapproves violence against the living as they are vaasudevaiya kutumbakam (all living are God's creation). The other damage is the to the self esteem of country.
Of course, once a population gets on this train, it is difficult to get off. In another 25-40 years, China will face the reality of slowing population growth, an aging population, increased health costs, increased capital spending to increase productivity. In short, the insurmountable problems that Western societies and Japan are wrestling with.
In India three aspects have kept this policy from being implemented. Children are seen as nandlala नंदलाला and balagopal बालगोपाल (instead of naughty children controlled by satan, shaitan) - popular expressions of respect for a new life. Combine this with the democratic backlash against the population policy in India in 1977 elections, and you have a case of lost political will. What has driven the final nail in the coffin is the healthy disrespect (some would even say contempt) for western ideas that non-English speaking Indians (which is more than 90% of India) have for western ideas.
The Economics of Population Control
The population theory does not stand up to any economic logic. Humans beings are the biggest factor in the production process. How can people become a problem? More people mean more production, bigger markets, lower costs, larger tax base, et al. Lower population growth is increasing health costs, aging populations, decreasing competitiveness. The Western societies were able to progress over the last 100 years at the expense of developing world.
The fight between these western proponents and western critics of the population control theory was not about equity or about ecology. The proponents were working hard to ensure that the poor did not demand or ask for resources.
The critics (cynics) were in fact saying that the poor were too weak to challenge the powerful rich countries - and what the west must do to keep them weak.
The Green Arguments & Population Control
By the later 1990's the Green lobby, global warming, Ozone layer, environment had become an issue. The Kyoto protocol negotiations began. As usual, the Western world (led by the Anglo Saxon Bloc) dumped this problem onto the developing world. Secure a greener earth - at the cost of the poor.
While 10% of the earth's population, in the developed world (largely the western world) does not adequately price or cost the ecological damage they cause, into their production, the post facto price is borne by the rest of the world (90% of the world population). This damage is then inversely blamed on increasing population of the under-developed world!
An exquisite instance of acrobatics in inverting logic.
Amartya Sen, Gandhiji, Food, Population and Greed
In a landmark study in famines, economic policy and food availability, (by) Amartya Sen says, "There has been a good deal of discussion recently about the prospect of food supply falling significantly behind the world population. There is, however, little empirical support for such a diagnosis of recent trends".
Further, he goes onto say, "... famines can take place without a substantial (decline in) food availability decline is of interest mainly because of the hold that food availability approach has in the usual famine analysis..." (Italics and ellipsis mine).
Gandhiji had something to say - "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed".
The West in its greed wants to leave nothing for others - and this entire population conspiracy has been invented so that the victim delivers himself on sacrificial altar of western greed.
History of Population Control - Many Fathers
Another thread. Malthusian stories and Social Darwinism.
Population pressures leading to destruction and chaos was still-born concept - propagated by Thomas Robert Malthus from (yes, you guessed it right), an Anglo Saxon economist whose theories have remained just that - malignant theories. One of the landmark studies on this is by Paul Jalsevac in his study, "The Inherent Racism Of Population Control."
But more insidious was the Eugenics program. This psuedo-scientific program was initiated, yes again, by another Anglo Saxon, Sir Francis Galton (related to Charles Darwin, the British co-originator of the Evolution Theory). The Eugenics programme was designed to create a 'superior' race of people - and 'eliminate' defective people and births. It gained many high profile adherents - and finally responsible for many medical, psychiatric and political abuses.
It attracted big ticket backers. John Harvey Kellogg (of Kellogg cornflakes) was an early sponsor and formed a "partnership" with the Race Betterment Foundation. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) established the Station for Experimental Evolution at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, in 1904 - a centre for Eugenic research. In 1937, before, the start of WW2, when it became apparent that Hitler had hijacked Eugenics and where Eugenics was going, the Carnegie Foundation changed direction - and renamed the Eugenics Record Office to Genetics Record Office. After WW2, in 1952, the USA needed some 'special weapons'. The Carnegie Foundation stepped in to assist the research. What were these 'special weapons' - new birth control methods.
Henry Ford was a supporter of Eugenics - and one of the most notorious Eugenics practitioner was Michael Teitelbaum - who worked with the Ford Foundation till the 1970's - shaping population policy matters for world consumption. Clarence J Gamble, (of Proctor & Gamble) fame, advocated population control amongst the poor, Puerto Ricans, Negros - as they were a problem. The wives of Edward Henry Harriman, (financier and railway tycoon) and HB Dupont, were some of the others who participated in the Eugenics projects.
Three generations of imbeciles are enough
These abusive actions were possible due to legal sanction by the US Courts. A celebrated Supreme Court judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, decided that " ...the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices ..." (Italics and ellipsis mine) of getting sterilised, lobotomised, committed to mental asylums on flimsy grounds, become guinea pigs for dubious medical research.
This judgement's admirers were found all the way till Germany. Was Oliver Wendell Holmes very far from Nazi Germany? Not if you consider the Binding-Hoche study (Karl Binding was a lawyer and Alfred Hoche was doctor). The Binding Hoche study suggested that the German state had already lost its best people during WW1 - and hence the country was filled with 'human ballast'. To remedy this situation, they suggested that these 'inferior elements' should be eliminated - much like what the American Chief Justice said. During the Nuremberg trials, the Nazis did cite the US practices of sterilisations, lobotomies, euthanasia as a defence.
Yes, instead of acting as parens patriae, which would be the first duty of the court, the US Supreme Court colluded with the executive to deny basic rights to the incapable, in the land of the free. This was much like slavery was approved by the US Supreme Court in the Dredd Scott vs Sandford case. Chief Justice Taney not only ruled that slavery was legal, but barred slaves from approaching the US Supreme Court.
The most notorious on Eugenics in Europe was Hitler who killed 60 lakh Jews and another 40 lakhs of Gypsies and assorted segments of the population. Montagu Norman, the Chief Of Bank England, who supervised the economic drain from India was another famous follower of Eugenics.
In Britain, Julian Huxley, grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, first head of UNESCO, brother of Aldous Huxley, joined the population propaganda machine. Julian Huxley called himself a 'scientist' and "advocated a much greater use of ... Eugenic Insemination, ... deep-frozen sperm banks containing donations by eminent men, Nobel Prize Winners ... from which a prospective mother could choose ... Huxley hoped that many of the users of such a sperm bank would opt for intelligence and he calculated that if the mean IQ of the population could be raised by as little as 1.5 per cent this would lead to a 50 per cent increase in the number of people with an IQ of 160 or more ..." (from the galtoninstitute website). This kind of psuedo-science was used by UN and the various population control propagandists to further their agenda.
This Doesn't Happen Now
A law inspired by Eugenics was in force and utilised in the state of Orgeon, till 1980. 33 states in the USA approved eugenics laws during 1900-1925. An estimated 60,000-1,00,000 people were forcibly sterilised using these laws. Switzerland repealed forced sterilisation laws against the Romani Gypsies only in 1972.
New names for old ills continue. The new exercises in this could be the SARS and the Bird Flu. A few humans or birds die (due to respiratory complications) and entire continents are devastated. Is this another form of 'conditioning' for future bio-terrorism or bio-warfare? These new kinds of global hysteria use 'neutral' bodies - like the UN and World Bank to whip up fear, rumours and over reaction.
You still don't believe that this happens even now?
The largest donors to the population control organisations in the last 10 years are (hold onto you chair or whatever) Bill Gates (of Microsoft-Windows fame), Ted Turner (of CNN-Time Warner) and David & Lucille Packard Foundation (co-founder of Hewlett Packard). It is re-run of the same story - the rich in USA feel threatened by the poor of this world, especially if the colour of the poor is different.
On February 16, 2008, I read a post in Business Standard, one of India's leading business newspaper. It carried a preview of a book by Nandan Nilekani, a business leader and director of Infosys. Nandan Nilekani says, his book traces (apart from other subjects) how India has "gone from seeing population as a burden to population as a source of human capital." That is the good news.
Farcically, in the same breadth, Nandan also overestimates the importance of English. Is he implying that without English, India would have been backward like - China, Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, Korea. In fact dear Nandan, show me one country that has become significant using some other country's language - in the last 4000 years of history. Look again Nandan, Take A Secondlook.
The tide is turning. One month after this post(dated Jan 30th, 2008), China decided to take a secondlook at their population policy (on Feb 27th, 2008, link embedded). And on 4th March, Economic Times, India's leading daily informed,"China takes second look at one-child rule, 4 Mar, 2008, 0231 hrs IST, AGENCIES"(China Takes Secondlook At One Child Policy)
In case the link does not work, click hereChina Takes Secondlook At One Child Policy