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Abortionists, zero-population-growth advocates and antigrowth zealots
want us to believe that there are too many people in the world. They
say that we can’t feed and support our 6,000,000,000 fellow humans.
They want governments to correct this “mistake” by aggressively pushing
abortion, “voluntary” sterilization and limits on family size. They say
that if we “allow” more people to come into this world, widespread
famine and devastation will consume our world.
They are dead wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong. Six billion people is not a small number.
Far too many of our fellow humans live a desperate struggle for
survival. However, the problem is not that there are too many of us.
We can produce enough food to feed 6 billion or 16 billion. The problem
is that governments in far too many countries care more about
maintaining political power than the well being of their people.
I have worked in 25 countries since 1982. What I have seen has
sickened me. Government corruption and callousness has turned many
natural resource “rich” countries into poor countries. Simultaneously,
countries that have little or no natural resource wealth have invested
in the minds of their people. Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland are prime
examples of natural resource poor countries whose investment in their
citizens has paid off handsomely. Brazil, India, Russia and the Congo
are examples of natural resource rich countries whose corrupt,
anticapitalist policies have consigned most of their citizens to lives
of grinding poverty. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Chile shows what can happen when the government unshackles the
private sector, invests in its people and declares war on corruption.
Chile is twice the size of Montana. It’s 15 million people have just
completed two decades of unprecedented economic growth. Chile’s growth
started when its military overthrew the Marxist government of Salvador
Allende. What most Americans don’t know, however, is that Chile has had
a civilian government since 1990.
Chile’s growth is even more impressive when you compare it to
Mexico. Mexico shares a 2,200-mile long border with the U.S. NAFTA
has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into Mexico’s economy. In
spite of Mexico’s advantages, it is Chile that has become the most
advanced Hispanic country in our hemisphere. And the gap is growing.
Chile’s per capita purchasing power is $12,500. It is only $8,300 in
Mexico. Only 20.5 percent of Chile’s citizens live below the poverty
line compared to 27 percent of Mexico’s citizens. Ninety-five percent
of Chileans are literate, while only 89.6 percent of Mexicans can make
that claim. Chile’s life expectancy is 75.46 years at birth while
Mexico’s is 72 years. Most striking, Chile’s infant mortality rate is
10.02 per 1,000 live births; Mexico’s is 24.62.
Chile’s natural resource base can’t compare to that of Argentina,
Brazil, Mexico or even Venezuela. However, Chile’s political will to
change has made all the difference. Chile’s war on corruption,
investment in its people and downsizing of its government have made all
the difference. If every country adopted the Chilean model, poverty as
we know it would be eliminated by the end of the next century.
But John, you ask, how about all of the starving people around the
world? Well, unfortunately, far too many of our brothers and sisters
are starving. They are real, but their suffering is totally
At the turn of the last century, most Americans worked on farms.
Today, less than 2 percent of our people are farmers. We have become so
efficient at farming that our government is still paying farmers not to
farm. And we aren’t the only ones. Japan and Western Europe also pay
farmers not to produce food.
One of my former MBA students is from Spain. His father is a
farmer. Whenever his father wants to make more money, he threatens to
plat crops … and the Spanish government pays him more to not do so.
In fact, one of the biggest fights during the recent WTO meetings was
about the Europeans obscene subsidies of inefficient farms and farmers
who don’t farm.
If American, Canadian, Latin American and Western European farmers
were encouraged to plant as much as possible and process as much as
possible, the world would drown in food. So the problem is not that we
can’t produce enough food to feed our people. Until the governments of
developing countries put the well being of their citizens ahead of their
own corrupt grab for wealth and political power, however, far too many
of our brothers and sisters will not be able to buy the food that the
West can produce.
Finally, let’s look at the too many people argument. The anti growth
advocates want you to believe that the earth is getting too crowded.
They say that we are running out of space. Once again, they are wrong.
If you gave each of us 6,000,000,000 people an acre, we could all fit
into the United States, Brazil and Australia … and still have room for
235,359,362 more people. Put another way, after each of us got our
acre of land, Europe, Asia, Africa and half of Latin America and North
America would be empty. No people. Not a soul. So even the most basic
antigrowth argument that we are running out of land doesn’t hold water.
If all of the alarmist stories are false, what’s really going on?
It’s simple. The pro-abortion and antigrowth people claim to care about
“the people,” but what they really want is raw political power. They
want the ability to tax us to death to support their causes.
Their bogus claims should last about as long as dew on a hot
sidewalk, but our press has become fat and lazy. The “traditional”
press doesn’t even do the math that would disprove these wild claims.
They just take the left’s press releases and run them as though they
God has not made a mistake by putting us on this earth. There are
not too many people. We are not running out of space. Instead of
worrying about a crisis that isn’t real, let’s go after governmental
corruption. Only then will the people of the world be freed to create
the wealth that will give them the full and decent lives that they so