1900s Worldwide Overpopulation

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1900s Worldwide Overpopulation

Michael Beadling Jonathan Swift, author of, “ A Modest Proposal” is not alone in his literary theories regarding a method to cure the plaguing disease of overpopulation. Overpopulation meaning: the inability of society and of Earth to accommodate an excessive amount of persons. This problem has been addressed and dealt with in a variety of ways for hundreds of years.

It is thought, that if there are too many people, than every new addition to the population takes away from those who already exist. So, if this is the case, why not stop the newcomers from coming or rid t he one’s who just arrived? Theses above mentioned thoughts eventually are put to action and made laws by government. A man by the name of, Paul Ehrlich, who was an advocate for population control, stated in his book, The Population Bomb, “ we can no longer afford merely to treat the symptoms of cancer of population growth; the cancer itself must be cut out”(xi). By this quote he means that we can’t just keep giving “medicine” to the disease in hopes that will cure it, we have to completely eliminate the disease.

In the people’s country, the Unites States of America, eradicating children and putting to death those who bare children is not something that is practiced. This does not, however, hold true for other countries. China is presumably the most famous country for enforcing strict population control. Acknowledging that China is a communist country, they hold the power to carry out their rules as they see fit. An article in The New York Times stated, “Chinese women were rounded up and forced to have abortions; vigilantes abducted pregnant women on the streets and hauled them off, sometimes hand-cuffed or trussed, to abortion clinics”(Wren). In the Wall Street Journal, Steven Mosher wrote that the People’s Press agreeably talked about “ the butchering, drowning, and leaving to die of female infants and maltreating of women who have given birth to girls”(Mosher) The people of China believe that a man is more apt and able to take care of his parents than a female, so they prefer the births of men over women.

Although China may seem evil in their antics for population control, the US has it’s own ghosts. Planned Parenthood is one of the few entities promoting family planning and birth control. This is a group whose tactics lack bribery and corruption.

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AID, (Agency for International Development) is a fanatical population control group who uses manipulation and bribery to accomplish their goals. For, example, in India during 1966, advisors to Lyndon B. Johnson suggested that we ship wheat to the third world country. Before doing this, Johnson demanded that they start a humongous birth control program. When they agreed, only then did Johnson finally release the shipment to them (Califano 52). During the early 1900’s a movement called Eugenics was proposed by the US and spread worldwide. The discussion for Eugenics was not the question whether people should be sterilized, by who should be. It was decided that the most “unfit”, mainly targeting the poor, black, white Catholic living in Protestant countries, and the mentally handy-capped. By 1924 almost 6000 people had been sterilized (Kuhl 17). The main focal points for AID were third world countries. These countries seemed to be the most “productive” countries adding to the high population, and they produced most of the “lower class” citizens, when speculated on the social stratum. There is an attitude toward those whom are not as socially fit as others who are. Guy Irving Birch called for the compulsory sterilization of “ all persons who are inadequate, either biologically or socially”(Pendell 103).

Among all the countries in the world, African countries are the most in danger for overpopulation. Theoretically, one would suppose that a country might be poor because there are too many people and not enough resources to support the growing population. However, although Africa has 3 times the land mass as does the US, its population is only twice as large. In all actuality, Africa is under populated. A majority of the Earth’s natural resources are held throughout the entire continent. Combining all the resources on a global perspective, Africa holds 40% of hydroelectric power, most of the world’s gold, 90% cobalt, 50% phosphates, 40% platinum, and the list goes on. Africa is spewing with natural resources. Yet, the question of why are they so poor remains (Caldwell 219). Not only does population have to do with Africa’s state of poverty, but also more importantly it’s lack of education. Education on family planning and utilizing its resources.

Tying together the information previously stated with Jonathan Swift’s essay, it is obvious there is a concern for overpopulation. There are many factors that go along with their theories and ideas for controlling the situation. Some are more radical then others, however politics play a huge role in any one country’s involvement.

Overpopulation blames those who are victims to hunger and poverty. However, with those groups who are honest and decent working to help the overpopulation cause, there may still yet be a light of hope.

Works Cited:

Ehrlich, Paul. The Population Bomb. New York: Ballantine, 1968. Wren, Christopher.

“Chinese Region Showing Resistance to National Goals for Birth Control.” New York Times 16 May 1982 Mosher, Steven.

“ Why Are Baby Girls Being Killed in China?” Wall Street Journal 25 July 1983 Kuhl, Stefan.

The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism and German National Socialism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Pendell, Elmer. Population Roads to Peace or War. Washington: Population Reference Bureau, 1945.

Califano,Joseph. Governing America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981.

Caldwell, Don. South Africa: The New Revolution. Johannesburg: FMF Books, 1989.


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