Et Voila, Malthus

Posted by Lex, on September 16, 2010


Credit where it’s due, the Obama administration in its first two years has been largely free of scandal. We’ve seen none of the personal enrichment gimcrackery so common in political organizations when top players finally get a turn at the till after the better part of a decade on the outs. Rather, they seem to be full of honest (if in my view, mistaken) do-gooderists, eager to advance the agenda for which they believe they were elected by whatever power levers they can employ.

Such scandals as there have been are largely of the “what were they thinking?” variety. See also, Van Jones. To that admittedly abbreviated list – I am too otherwise engaged to dredge up more – add the White House science adviser:

In a video interview this week, White House Office of Science and Technology Director John P. Holdren told that he would use the “free market economy” to implement the “massive campaign” he advocated along with Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich to “de-develop the United States…”

“Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries,” Holdren and his co-authors wrote. ”This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”

To clarify, this is an adviser to the President of the United States.

Let’s just think on that for a moment.

You may have missed “The Population Bomb,” which came out in 1968. You certainly missed the mass starvation of peoples which the book predicted for the 70s and 80s. But Dr. Holdren has kept the faith, hoping all along that, like the painted clock, he might eventually be right.

The leveling tendency is ubiquitous in those who often fret that other people are living rather too well. But the consumerist US culture, however crass its excesses can be, has driven the economic engine which brought a billion people out of existential poverty in the last two decades. Since most of them will probably decline to go back, it looks like we’ll have to reduce ourselves to their level, would be the plan.

The beauty of it is, once all that are left of us are reduced to living as subsistence farmers on the collective, the problem of unequal wealth distribution will be over and government – with all its attendant waste – will fade away.

Given the nature of our economy, which even now has one in seven people living in poverty, largely because banks are hoarding money while consumers pay down debt, I’d also be very interested in seeing Dr. Holdren’s  notes on the use of the free market to get people to freely “de-devolop.”

Where does President Obama find these people?


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Neptunus Lex, Politics and Culture

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