Sunday, July 01, 2007

another piece of the Neo-Malthusian jigsaw emerges

Soil erosion. I'd heard of it before and knew it was a problem but this article puts it into perspective. Building on one of my favourite themes of Environmental Economics, there are more interesting numbers to be found in the opening paragraph of this article; where the net worth, in ecotoxicological terms, of a hectare of Thai mangrove is contrasted with its value- or rather, its cost- as a shrimp farm.

I just came up with the "Neo-Malthusian" tag. Its, like, a cockweasels favourite ad-hominem attack on us eco-warriors but turned back on them. "Yes", we cry, "we're embracing Malthus predictions of imminent catastrophe but backing them with oodles of profoundly irrefutable scientific evidence".

The difference is, Malthus' scenario failed to take into account the technological developments that kept mankind growing until now. But now exponential population growth is taking over the linear progression of technology and we're back where he thought we were 300 years ago and there are good human beings out there working to explain why.

There's a fascinating critique of Malthus, by an anthropologist called Eric Ross, reviewed here. It sounds totally wicked and I fancy laying my filthy paws on a copy for enlightenment purposes. I must state here, however, that I am shocked by their connection of neo-Malthusianism, racism and eugenics. I don't advocate militant birth control and family planning because I want to improve the human gene stock or because I want to eliminate a particular strand of humanity. I am convinced that every single healthy human child has the potential to cure cancer or to kill a million innocents- its very much a matter of upbringing which decides which of these extremes they move toward. I just think there are too many fucking humans on the planet and we're not looking after the ones that are alive now. I think people should stop having kids until there are no more hungry or neglected children (hmmm- Annual births (eg. for Asia = 97560105) divided by total number of orphan children under 16 (again, for Asia = 253656272) equals 2.6 years (all figures torn from Wikipedia).

Two point six fucking years! That's a goddamn long time to stop a continent giving birth. But all then orphans in the continent would have families.

Frankly I wasn't even aware of the use of the term "Neo-Malthusian" in the review until I finished reading it; I'd started writing this post before I'd finished more than a couple of paragraphs and I'm now regretting embracing the term in my title. But I haven't removed my reference to it as I believe this post shows a progression of thought and understanding of the subject. The Znet article contains many indisputably alarming facts. Rather than being scared of being branded something I'm not I'd rather stand behind my convictions and clarify why they might sound inhuman but actually profess more concern for the future of humanity than they initially be obvious.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to share your opinions of my opinions. Oh- and cocking fuckmouse.