How many believe the pessimistic forecasts of the ‘prophets of doom’ , or neo-Malthusians, concerning the so-called ‘population explosion’? It now seems fashionable to reanimate the reactionary doctrines concerning the ‘eternal natural laws’ of Malthus in order to whip up confusion and panic. Neo-Malthusians regard rapid population growth as the central problem of our age. By giving unwarranted precedence to ‘population’ the neo-Malthusians are attempting to divert attention away from the important economic, political, and social issues facing the world today.
The so-called ‘population explosion’ in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has deep socio-economic roots and requires a thorough analysis which means studying the laws of population of each historical system of economy separately, and then studying their connections and inter-relations. Neo-Malthusianism blames demographic problems not on socio-economic causes but on ‘over-population’ – whereby economic types of phenomena are lost in a mass of calculations and exaggerations. The problem is not due to the economic or cultural backgrounds of peoples in the developing countries but to neo-colonial exploitation that soaks thousands of millions of pounds and dollars from the former colonies via capital expansion, non-equivalent trade, and deprivation of resources – essential for tackling socio-economic (an therefore demographic) problems.
A high birth-rate in the developing countries in turn creates difficulties in economic addition – but it is wrong to conclude that this can be overcome soley by contraceptive programmes. The statistical cretinism of Neo-Malthusianist social pessimism forecasts the exhaustion of the potential of the planet in about 100 years, if the present population, food, and pollution rate is maintained. Any imposed limits on growth regardless of socio-economic system or level would preserve the advantages of the advanced capitalist states at the expense of the developing countries. Neo-Malthusians regard population growth as a cardinal reason for present food problems in poor nations, stating that a world-wide famine is inevitable due to limited resources.
Such rubbish is refuted by leading ecologists and authorities, who estimate that just over 10% of world land is used for agriculture, which could be increased to 60% using current technology! It has been estimated that world food resources are sufficient for approximately 36,000 million people by 2070. The solution to food and population problems are not to be found in the nihilistic pessimism of the apologists for an obsolete system in crisis and decay. Such problems require political answers on the level of internationalism rather than coins in a charity box.