April 19, 2011


Malthusian Delusions Grip Australia (Ross Elliott, 04/18/2011, New Geography)

The anti-population jihad is nothing new. Thomas Malthus was an 18th century economist and Anglican clergyman, whose ‘Essay on the Principles of Population’ (published 1798) popularised the notion that vice, plague and famine were natural forms of population control. In short, overpopulation would be subject to control by food scarcity.

Maulthusians almost 200 years later, in 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote the blockbuster ‘The Population Bomb’ which warned of imminent mass starvations and famine due to overpopulation.

Now joining the fray is our very own Dick Smith, former super-nerd and founder of Dick Smith Electronics stores, aviator, publisher (of Australian Geographic), entrepreneur and 1986 ‘Australian of the Year.’

Dick’s a popular figure in Australia, and when he speaks people (and the media) listen. But Dick’s suggestion that Australia is overpopulated, and thus requires we need to limit our growth through a two child policy borders on the hysterical. [...]

Doug Saunders is the author of ‘Arrival City,’ a book about the conflicts and change brought on by massive urban migrations. And in this article he explains, “by 2050, most Western countries will have to devote between 27 and 30 per cent of their GDP to spending on retirees and their needs”. This he adds, will produce fiscal deficits in most advanced countries of almost 25 per cent of GDP, making the current crisis seem minuscule by comparison.

This is not a remote or abstract crisis. Countries like Canada will soon be fighting to attract anyone we can get to work – and squeezing as much as we can from the remaining few.

Australia has been fond of comparing itself to Canada. We are both western democracies, operating under similar governance systems. We both have relatively small populations given our geographic size (Canada has 34 million people, we have 23 million) and abundant natural resources. The resource we both lack is people. If Saunders is right about Canada fearing the same demographic problems as Japan (population 127 million), Australia might want to take note.

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Posted by at April 19, 2011 6:04 AM

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