5/24/2009

"Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation"

Bill Gates seems to be a major force behind this move, according to the London Times.

SOME of America’s leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population and speed up improvements in health and education.

The philanthropists who attended a summit convened on the initiative of Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.

Described as the Good Club by one insider it included David Rockefeller Jr, the patriarch of America’s wealthiest dynasty, Warren Buffett and George Soros, the financiers, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, and the media moguls Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey.

These members, along with Gates, have given away more than £45 billion since 1996 to causes ranging from health programmes in developing countries to ghetto schools nearer to home.

They gathered at the home of Sir Paul Nurse, a British Nobel prize biochemist and president of the private Rockefeller University, in Manhattan on May 5. The informal afternoon session was so discreet that some of the billionaires’ aides were told they were at “security briefings”.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said the summit was unprecedented. “We only learnt about it afterwards, by accident. Normally these people are happy to talk good causes, but this is different – maybe because they don’t want to be seen as a global cabal,” he said.

Some details were emerging this weekend, however. The billionaires were each given 15 minutes to present their favourite cause. Over dinner they discussed how they might settle on an “umbrella cause” that could harness their interests.

The issues debated included reforming the supervision of overseas aid spending to setting up rural schools and water systems in developing countries. Taking their cue from Gates they agreed that overpopulation was a priority. . . . .


Ben Wattenberg has done tremendous work trying to overcome the claim that the world population is ever increasing. In the New York Times in 2003 he wrote:

Now, in a new report, United Nations demographers have bowed to reality and changed this standard 2.1 assumption. For the last five years they have been examining one of the most momentous trends in world history: the startling decline in fertility rates over the last several decades. In the United Nations' most recent population report, the fertility rate is assumed to be 1.85, not 2.1. This will lead, later in this century, to global population decline.

In a world brought up on the idea of a "population explosion," this is a radical notion. The world's population is still growing ? it will take some time for it to actually start shrinking ? but the next crisis is depopulation.

The implications of lower fertility rates are far-reaching. One of the most profound is their potential to reduce economic inequality around the world and alter the balance of power among nations.

The United Nations divides the world into two groups, less developed countries and more developed countries. The most surprising news comes from the poorer countries. In the late 1960's, these countries had an average fertility rate of 6.0 children per woman. Today it is 2.9 ? and still falling. Huge and continuing declines have been seen in countries like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and (of great importance to the United States) Mexico.

The more developed countries, in contrast, have seen their fertility rates fall from low to unsustainable. Every developed nation is now below replacement level. In the early 1960's, Europe's fertility rate was 2.6. Today the rate is 1.4, and has been sinking for half a century. In Japan the rate is 1.3.


Even before that in the WSJ he wrote:

Now, however, the U.N.’s new proposal acknowledges that fertility is falling more rapidly than expected in some big, less developed countries with “intermediate” levels of fertility (2.1 to 5.0). These include India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Bangladesh and the Philippines. (China, at 1.8 is already below replacement level, in part due to coercive family planning policies.) The U.N. concludes that the less developed nations are heading toward a fertility rate of 1.85, down significantly from the 2.1 of earlier projections. This would yield a maximum global population in the 8 billion to 9 billion range. . . .

Actually, I think even the new 1.85 figure is still too high, and that by 2050 we will see a substantial population decline. I believe the slow decline the document speaks of will snowball, as happens in exponential arithmetic. . . . .


Nicholas Eberstadt largely repeats Ben Wattenberg's points here.

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4 Comments:

Blogger pops1911 said...

It sounds like they should start by castrating themselves - we don't need these people to reproduce! Get rid of their genes ASAP.

5/24/2009 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I believe pops1911 thinks he is agreeing with you.

5/25/2009 3:25 PM  
Blogger Wayne Conrad said...

Pops1911, Yuck.

I once heard Jerry Pournelle say that orbiting power stations were the cure to overpopulation, because wealthy people have few children and you can't have wealth without cheap energy.

5/28/2009 6:15 PM  
Blogger Luis Carlos said...

I live in one of those "underdeveloped" countries, Brazil, actually, and, well, before telling overpopulation is not a problem, you should take a look in what´s happening here, our florests got decimated, our rivers polluted to the point of becoming sewers, our animal life almost extinct...

one could say its due to the faster development and expansion of factories, but it´s far from true

our production is pathetic, in fact, california itslef produces more, far more than my entire country

all this pollution and deforestation is a result of people reproducing like rabbits and occupiyng land in a chaotic way

sorry for my poor english

7/08/2009 6:00 PM  

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