Conditions of misery for the masses are a prerequisite to the wealth and special social position of the ruling classes. The rebellion of working class people against the rotten conditions they live and work under is an inevitable outgrowth of capitalism. Equally inevitable, however, are capitalism’s schemes to divert workers’ anger, to get people to view themselves rather than the system as the source of their problems. All sorts of “scientific” theories have been conjured up by “eminent” academics who justify oppression and repression of the working class. Contrary to what the media, the ruling class, and many environmentalist groups would have us believe, the programmes for population control is among these pseudo-scientific theories.
There are people who consider the population problem the most important and pressing problem, because "overpopulation" threatens us, is, in fact, already at hand. The fear of overpopulation always appears at periods when the existing social conditions are disintegrating. The general discontent which then flares up is ascribed primarily to the excess of people and the lack of food and not to the manner in which it is produced and distributed. The central point is that world hunger is not due to the impossibility of producing more food, but due to the governments and multinational companies that control food production and distribution.
Starvation in Africa is not attributed to centuries of deliberate economic under-development but is due, rather, to African’s propensity to over-reproduce. The shortage of adequate and the growth of slums is not due to the fact that production is based on profit, but, rather, because the population is growing too quickly. Simplistic arguments divert the justifiable anger of the people forced to live with these ’headaches’ from a progressive attack on the ruling class that is responsible for the conditions to a reactionary, ‘blame-the-people’ attack on the working-class majority, domestically and around the world. The most significant aspect of the so-called theories of overpopulation is the racism they embody.
To be sure, “over-population” seems to exist in large parts of the world where people are subjected to famines, floods and backward methods of production. While this condition may not be man-made, it is at any rate maintained by men, so as to secure privileged positions within existing social relations, or international power relations, or both simultaneously. “Over-population” is not the cause but the result of these attempts to arrest social development, as may be seen by the fact that wherever hunger is eliminated population tends to decline. But even if it would not do so, there exist for a very long time ample opportunities for an increased production able to feed a world population many times its present size. It is not really “over-population” which worries the ruling classes. Rather the opposite is true; as is made clear by frantic efforts to increase population at the first sign of its decline.
The so-called Green Revolution aimed to increase food production by using high-yield varieties of various grains. Unfortunately, because these varieties have little resistance to many plant diseases they have to be adopted as part of a technological package which includes pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and the machines which spread them. And guess who supplies all these - the multinational agribusinesses. In effect what happens is that production of crops for human consumption is reduced in favour of cash crops exported to the rich West in an effort to pay for the vast amounts of ‘extras’ needed to produce these crops. One of the results of this has been that tenant farmers are being forced out by landlords to join the armies of landless labourers or the unemployed. The hypocritical claims to be concerned about starvation and malnourishment, belies the fact that the cause arises from the utilisation of agricultural productive capacity in order to create profits rather than healthy people.
Mankind is the workers of the world. And their interests and those of the ruling class are miles apart. In socialist society where mankind will for the first time be truly free and living according to natural principles, it will consciously direct its own development. In all preceding epochs mankind handled questions of production and distribution, as well as that of population growth, without the knowledge of the laws governing them, that is, unconsciously; in the new society, equipped with knowledge of the laws of its own development, mankind will act consciously and according to a plan.