Is the Government Killing Us?
You people are the real thing. We are the illusion.
— Howard Beale
“Vision and Foresight”
The massive 7.9 billion people alive today is a perennial topic of world leaders who would like to reduce that number.
The 20th century was aggressive in Malthusian implementations. From the US’s eugenics movement to China’s one-child policy to India’s “emergency”.
Notable outcomes of these movements were:
- The forced sterilization of 70,000 people in the United States
- Forcible sterilization of 11 million Indians during the “Emergency” from 1975–1977
- Forcible sterilization of 108 million women, 324 million intrauterine device (IUD) implants, and 400 million prevented births during China’s one-child policy (1980–2014)
Far from being condemned, these actions are condoned and supported. This isn’t surprising when world powers have long supported population control measures.
When presenting the population award to Qian Xinzhong and Indra Gandhi — the architects of China’s One-Child Policy and India’s “emergency” — in 1983, UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar stated:
If rapid population growth in the developing nations is left unchecked, it will evidently undermine all efforts for economic and social development and could easily lead to widespread depletion of each nation’s resources.
Pérez de Cuéllar praised Qian Xinzhong and Sanjay Gandhi for their “vision and foresight” in “controlling population growth.”
Malthusianism fears that the world’s population will get so large that there won’t be enough food to feed everybody, so certain coercive gestures should be implemented to curb the population by controlling birth or death rates to keep the population from growing out of size.
While Thomas Malthus’s theory has been proven wrong and influenced some deplorable campaigns, it has continued to be read and remains a misleading influence in our world.
In 1977 former US secretary of defense and current World Bank president Robert McNamara likened overpopulation to be a greater threat to humanity than nuclear war.
The world’s population is supposed to reach expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050.
You’re a cute couple, don’t have kids
There’s been a 1,355.55% increase of human beings in the world in the past 500 years. In 1500 there were 540 million people on the earth. In 2022 we have 7.86 billion people in the mix.
Malthus believed since population increases exponentially, and food sources increase arithmetically, that the world’s food supply would not be able to sustain its population after a certain global population number had been reached.
The United States has a history of politicking for Neo-Malthusian ideas. From Edward Isaacson’s book The Malthusian Limit (1912), to Buck v Bell (1927) which led to the forced sterilization of 70,000 people in the United States, to the heights of the eugenics movement that gave us the notion of “population control”, there’s been an urge to curb the growth rate of people of color — frequently spoken of under the euphemism of “poor” people — such people deemed to be a country’s undesirables.
When corporations and world leaders are talking about poor people, they’re talking about everybody who’s not wealthy. When you’re talking about making a change in the radical world change from the perspective of a wealthy developer, you’re thinking in class structure while you’re thinking and ideas and what you can do, and then people second and lower classes are the ones who lose.
The curious thing tying it together is the cost of happiness.
Why are there so many restraints in society that hinder a fruitful existence for those with less means?
We talk about the cost of living as if living must be earned.
All the while, systems are put in place and supported by our governments and large corporations that serve to keep undesirables from advancing:
- The high cost of education
- Reliance on fossil fuels when we know it’s ruining the environment
- High cost of healthcare
- Institutionalized racism
- The brutal ongoing neglect of First Nations people who are mysteriously outside of the dialogue of contemporary society
- Food contaminated by big agra
- The rights bestowed to police officers to commit violence against citizens
- The ability of our government to do what it wants without our say or against our say
- Stolen elections (2000, not 2020)
- Forced sterilization
- Private prisons
How can we eliminate poverty if its causes are the most powerful entities in the world?
Why does it take effort to avoid the danger of using corporate products?
We contend with things that are deadly to us or averse to our existence in some significant way in our daily lives.
Our food is filled with pesticides and genetically treated.
Those who want to eat healthy have to research their food sources.
If diet is important to you, reading up is something you take the time to do. It’s not a point to complain about, but it raises a cause for concern.
Essentially corporations are licensed to put products on the market that are bad for us and then convince us through advertising to consume their products.
All the evidence of greed and carelessness with human life is in front of us where it’s always been.
Tobacco is a $52 billion industry in the United States. Vaping is worth 7.4 billion.
The pro-capitalist response might go something like this:
I’m all about being smart and self-reliant. Consumers have the choice to buy what they want. Companies have the right to sell what they want. So what you buy and what you get from your purchases are completely due to your own decisions, not anyone else’s responsibility.
People want to make a profit. Some people want to make the biggest profit in the world. Don’t blame anyone for your choices.
But this concern directly raises a bigger concern — why is this allowed to happen?
Corporations used to be a group of people who were chartered to do something for public goods, such as build a bridge. The money they were given might be given to them by the state or a group of citizens who wanted to see something done and a corporation had a specific plan and a specific time to end.
The 14th amendment was one of three amendments to grant full citizenship to formally enslaved people when it was ratified in 1868.
Corporations were able to leverage some of the rights of individuals from an interpretation of that amendment. Supreme court rulings in their favor throughout the decades following led to the immense power we see in them today.
Until the early 80s corporate lobbying in Washington was about keeping the government out of business. Increasingly since then it's about corporations having tighter relationships with the government in order to strengthen their business and increase their power.
Large corporations outspend unions and public interest groups $34 dollars to $1. They have long gained the power to outspend forces that attempt to curb or rebut their power.
Corporations have been able to go from being a group of locals chartered perform some service for their society into worldwide entities of enormous power and influence.
The legal cases that seek to destabilize corporations and hold them responsible for injuries or nefarious practices against fellow citizens (Purdue Pharma-oxycontin, Monsanto) are few and far between.
Most often the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of increasing the power of corporations to what we see in them today.
Our existence comes with a set of intrinsic restraints if we are not protected by a government entity, or a key stakeholder in the world of capitalism.
Everybody should be empowered to make the right decisions for themselves. But when can we have a world that works to our benefit, and how will we get it?