The New Statesman bravely posits the crowd-pleasing summation:
The perception of population growth in developing countries as the culprit of worldwide environmental damage is a fallacy that deserves to be eradicated
The environmental argument has thus been used to strengthen the already mighty interest in avoiding any disruption of the established international economic order.
The result has been a dramatic collapse of education, health and nutrition indicators throughout Latin America and other developing regions in the last 20 years; the massive growth of unemployment; further dependence on the export of raw materials, and growing masses of people living in extreme poverty.
First: no, it hasn’t. People in power have not cited environmental reasoning of this nature. And Latin America and developing regions continue to have the same poverty and disorganization they had before.
In the year 2000 there were approximately six billion people on the planet, 21 per cent in industrial countries, and the remaining 79 per cent in developing countries. Nevertheless, industrial countries accounted for nearly 80 per cent of all resources consumed. They were also responsible for the production of nearly 80 per cent of all waste and pollutants.
Where are these figures from? My guess: they’re made from estimates convenient to his argument.
Back in reality land, we see that developing nations produce a ton of waste, not least of all from their industries, or their practices like clear-cut agriculture, slash and burn, or torching used equipment. Even more, they’re hopelessly corrupt and so cannot regulate the exploitation of resources.
He knows that his argument has a second fatal flaw: that even if the first world were using more resources, it’s because of infrastructure like hospitals, roads, manufacturing, education, government… all the stuff he wants developing nations to achieve. So if the problem’s bad now, not blaming the developing world will make it worse.
He backhandedly admits this, and then admits his real motivation:
If we consider the long history of slavery, abuse, exploitation and misery that, for centuries, have been imposed on developing countries by the main industrial nations, we could conclude in a gigantic environmental, economic and social debt, with which industrial countries have so far got away with.
The unsustainable growth of the population of developing countries is closely related to the extreme levels of poverty they must endure, partly a consequence of the established international economic order, designed by industrial nations at Bretton Woods to enhance their own interests, and then imposed upon the rest of the world.
Guilt and revenge are the psychology he displays here. Those are tools of those who fear they can never produce what first world nations have. History shows that they cannot on their own; first world nations have higher IQs and as a result, got themselves organized to develop the cool stuff.
He wants to use guilt to convince us to give up what we’ve worked for so that others can steamroller us, even though they couldn’t achieve the same nominal changes on their own.
Blame and guilt are useless. What we need is practical solutions. Although it’s socially taboo to say this, what we need is to restrict dumb people from breeding in first and third world populations alike, so that we produce better humans.