Zombie Time has this great report on a book co-authored by Obama’s new science ‘czar’ John Holdren (with Paul and Anne Erlich) back in 1977 called "Ecoscience" which predicted that the world is going to become overpopulated which will in turn lead to massive famines.
A snippet from the post:
In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote that:
• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force.
This reminds me of a talk I heard on the ABC a couple of years ago by Melbourne neuroscientist Dr John Reid where he talked about overpopulation and what we are going to have to do about it. ABC host Robyn Williams actually quoted Paul Erlich’s most famous book, The Population Bomb, in the introduction to the show.
Reid quoted Elliot Morley, Britain’s Special Representative on climate change, by saying the human race is on a ‘sleepwalk to oblivion.’ I like that phrase.
He goes on to say:
If we do not delude ourselves, and if we accept the calculations made by the Global Footprint Network and WWF (and I know of no scientific analysis that refutes the basic validity of the model) there is only one ineluctable conclusion. The population of the world must be very quickly reduced to 5 billion (that is, if 6 billions equals 120% of capacity, then 5 billions equals 100%). And then, as the average level of affluence rises, fairly quickly reduced further to, say, 2 to 3 billion.
The urgent discussion then becomes, how do we achieve these targets? Leaving aside uncontrollable natural events, such as a collision with a large asteroid or comet, or the eruption of a super-volcano, there is only a limited number of ways population decrease can be achieved. These ways are all painful, and most are brutally painful in their effect.
He has some pretty scary recommendations. I remember bring horrified when I listened to the talk but then again, he’s right – unless we significantly change the size of our global footprint, it’s hard to see how the human race is going to survive the 21st century. Perhaps Kurzweil is right and nanotech will save us. I hope so.