14
The Price of Survival

The basic danger that civilization faces today is too many people. The earth's population at the moment is four billion. Each year there are eighty million more people than the year before.

Are you concerned about famines in the world? They come about because we're having trouble filling four billion mouths. If it's difficult to do so now, how about next year when there will be eighty million more, and the year after, when there will be another eighty million more? By 2010, at this rate, there will be eight billion people in the world and the population will be increasing by a hundred sixty million a year.

Are you bothered by inflation? By recession? If more and more people demand more and more goods out of a no longer increasing supply, those goods must be rationed. If not, there must be inflation, because that too is a kind of rationing—at the expense of the poor. And, if supplies go down while the cost of labor goes up, businesses must contract and unemployment rises.

Are you troubled by declining resources and deteriorating environment? If you try to provide goods and services for more and more people each year, the resources you need must be used up faster and faster, while the wastes produced pile up and disfigure and poison the environment.

Do you fear the danger of war? The increase of terrorism? The heightening of alienation? If you make it harder and harder for more and more people to get the goods they need for their bodies and the space they need for their souls, then you must have increasing alienation—and friction, and violence, and terrorism. Eventually, you may even have the pushing of the nuclear button.

It comes down to overpopulation, and whether by starvation or by nuclear holocaust, or even by just rattling to death, our industrial civilization will not survive. It may not even survive this century.

-66-

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