Capitalism very often causes workers to blame themselves for their own suffering. People face rotten conditions where they live and work. They endure low pay, long hours, increasing unemployment, rising food prices, and poor housing. Capitalism diverts workers’ anger, to get people to view themselves rather than the system as the source of their problems. All sorts of theories have been used by intellectuals to justify oppression and repression of the working class. Over-population and population control are among these spurious scientific theories. The size of the population is held to be an important factor in the misery of workers. With socialism, population levels will no longer be a vital issue. The solution to the population “problem” is to overthrow capitalism and establish production for the needs of the people and not to add to the profits of wealthy individuals.
As Engels says:
“There is of course the abstract possibility that the number of people will become so great that the limits will have to be set to their increase. But if at some stage communist society finds itself obliged to regulate the production of human beings, just as it has already to come to regulate the production of things, it will precisely be this society, and this society alone, which can carry this out without difficulty. At any rate, it is for the people in the communist society themselves to decide whether, when and how this is to be done, and what means they wish to employ for the purpose. I do not feel called upon to make proposals or give them advice about it. These people, in any case, will surely not be any less intelligent than we are.”
The ruling class, the government, and the media the ruling class have undertaken to promote the idea of population control and that the many problems people face are caused by overpopulation. For example; hunger and food insecurity in India is not attributed to the operation of the capitalist market but is due, rather, to the Indian’s propensity to over-reproduce; the shortage of adequate housing in British cities is not due to the fact that building houses are based on profit, but, rather, because the population is growing too quickly with the arrival of immigrants. Many of the suppositions now dominate the environmentalist movement who should be involved in fighting the real social problems of pollution and poverty problems that have their roots, not over-population but capitalism itself. Many eco-activists are unconcerned by the racist undertones and implications of the over-population argument and the policies for population controls. Get rid of some of the people, stop allowing so many in, and then there will be enough jobs we can share out. If it works for jobs, what’s more, it can apply to hospital beds, class-rooms and houses and so on. These are the “rational” arguments with which racists spread their prejudices. And isn’t it funny how often ‘too many people’ always means too many foreigners, especially black and brown ones
Can folk not make the connection between the Rockerfeller Foundation and the Bill Gates Foundation advocacy for population control in the developing world? Can’t people recognise the reason there is an over-whelming concern of the rich for the problem of overpopulation, in sharp contrast to their lack of concern for the other pressing issues which the ruling class cannot solve and has no intention of attacking: economic exploitation and inequality? The population scare is an attempt to explain these conditions in a way which takes the blame off the ruling class, preserving their position in society. The idea is to blame the people for breeding too much, for consuming too much, for polluting the environment. The movements and the ideas they push have nothing to do with what’s good for humanity. Humanity is the people of the world. And their interests and those of the ruling class are miles apart.
Even if after the Revolution, our population should continue to grow, we can still have a great future with every additional precious member of the world’s population adding something special and unique toward building that future. People are not just consumers. They are also producers. The problem is not too many people. If people could decide what they produce, there would be more than enough food and accommodation for three times the world’s population. The problem is that only a minority decide – a minority who want to organise production for their own benefit and for no one else’s. That’s why the rich and wealthy promote the over-population myth and call for population controls – to prove that hunger and poverty is not the fault of the capitalist system for deciding not to produce what people need, but the fault of the poor and hungry for being too many.
Hunger or socialism ahead?
The media constantly spews out the propaganda that pollution and overpopulation are the cause of the problems of the world’s people. The media continually presents the view that the planet is destined to be overpopulated and unable to provide for its people. The very same corporate pirates who are daily carrying out global plunder and pillage blame the environmental destruction upon mankind generally. The mass hunger in many regions of the globe and appalling destitution in many cities is that these countries suffer from ‘overpopulation’. There are simply too many mouths to feed, or so they keep telling us. These arguments cannot withstand the slightest fact-check. An examination of the evidence shows that there is absolutely no causal connection between high population and poverty. People are not having more children – the birth rate around the world is falling. For the world’s ruling classes supposed population explosion is the perfect alibi.
At present, there are seven billion human inhabitants on the surface of this planet. For the majority of them hunger, malnutrition, are the “normal” human condition. They dwell perpetually on the margin of food insecurity. Yet, under the life-extending impetus of modern preventive medicine increasing longevity and reduced infant mortality, this population cannot but increase to perhaps ten billion by 2050. Despite all efforts to increase the food supply will this exploding population, as the modern disciples of Malthus predict, inevitably push mankind into mass starvation? All too frequently the problem of population is posed in a false debate. A brief but telling survey of the world’s agricultural resources shows that even on the basis of present technology, through raising the productivity of now-cultivated land to the average level of the advanced countries and through extension of cultivation into what are now desert and tundra regions, it is possible to provide a satisfactory diet for a greatly augmented world population. Only too frequently the evaluation of world food resources is both pessimistic and myopic. What is rarely discussed by scientific opinion is a change in the economic system.
Irreplaceable top-soil has been despoiled and is being washed away, water tables lowered, and the very weather changed. For the modern environmental Cassandras, advances in crop and animal breeding, genetic engineering, pest and weed control, application of new technological inventions, and hydroponics, as well as the possibility of now unpredictable discoveries, are all discounted as either impractical or visionary. Socialists refute these main arguments and maintain that we now have both the scientific knowledge necessary to feed twice the present world population, and by the time the population has doubled there would undoubtedly be new discoveries. Land is not the only factor in food production, just as food is not the only factor limiting population growth. Although the situation still is serious in other parts of the world, the conservation pattern has been set and is certainly attainable. A conservative estimate is that a billion additional acres of arable land could be brought under cultivation. A return to the universal use of “night soil” would not only furnish much additional fertiliser, but also reduce unnecessary pollution. Mankind can greatly increase the carrying capacity of the land through the wise choice of plants to be grown and the proper use of those plants. If with socialism national boundaries were removed and tariffs abolished, the land could always be used for the crops most adaptable or necessary. Shortages of calories, proteins, fats, minerals or vitamins; or agricultural labor; or a combination of any of these could be ironed out through a scientific selection of crops. Some plants produce more calories per acre than others, some produce less calories but more proteins, some produce less units per acre but more units per man. Adequate reserves of food in storage would increase still further our population capacity. The problem may be a formidable one but not overly a complicated one, and certainly not attainable but calls for intense planning on a scale not possible under present world economic organisation – but only through socialist rational production and distribution. It is no joke to say that most farmers today cannot afford, under our present economic system, to farm as good and as efficiently as they know how to. An examination of the actual facts will give the lie to the Malthusian doom-sayers.
The people of the world demand, and are entitled to, a decent standard of living, not centuries from now but as soon as it can be provided. Our response: the socialist reorganisation of the world economy. Every extra person is not only an extra mouth to feed, but also an extra worker to produce. Population growth, far from being considered a threat to human progress is a positive good.