Are there too many people?
Population, hunger, and environmental degradation
Publisher: Interntional Socialist Review
Year Published: 2009
Pages: 10pp Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX16252
A number of liberal writers and publications have raised the specter of growing population as an unpleasant yet necessary topic of conversation.
It is not population growth that is causing food scarcity or is primarily responsible for the many accelerating global environmental crises. Even if population growth were to end today, worsening rates of starvation, the growth of slums, and ecosystem collapse would continue more or less unabated. Food production continues to outstrip population growth, and therefore cannot be considered the cause of hunger.
Clearly, there are very serious planetary problems of soil erosion, overfishing, deforestation, and waste disposal, to name only a few, which are putting pressure on the sustainability of food production over the long haul. However, these are all inextricably bound to questions of power and a system run in the interest of a small minority where profit continually outweighs issues of hunger, waste, energy use, or environmental destruction. Concentrating on population confuses symptoms with causes while simultaneously validating apologists for the system -- and in some cases actively updating and perpetuating Malthusian anti-poor, nationalist, and racist arguments.