merits of this discussion

dmschanoes dmschanoes at
Tue Nov 11 06:46:11 MST 2003

To Louis:  The fact that this is a Marxist list requires us to determine the
social origins and function, the history of "too many people," "zero
population growth," -- and that history shows the legacy of Malthus to be an
ideological attack on the poor, the weak, and the disabled.  There is no
presentation of this issue in history that has not included "solutions"
involving attacks on the poor-- and particularly attacks on poor women.
That is the historical reality.  Although its been some 30 years since I
last read it, Chase's Legacy of Malthus nails the history pretty well.

There has never been, and can never be, examination of the issue of
population outside the social determinants of reproduction of human beings
within a specific economic, again class, organization.  There is no science
of population growth that is not, sooner or later, social darwinist,
socio-biological, pseudo-genetic, because the issue really isn't the
capability of nature to support the human population, but the capability of
the society, since human beings exist in a social organization.

To Jack:  No, it is not off the wall.  Marx's work is committed to exposing
the historical, class, content behind the ideologies of scarcity,
overpopulation.  Look at the emergence of the ZPG group in 1970.  Were there
too many people in 1970?  Or was the emergence of that group and its
panic-mongering a product of the US economy entering its period of
contraction, diminished reproduction of wealth?

When Indira Gandhi instituted forced sterilization of women in India-- who
was sterilized?  Rich women?  Of course not, poor women were sterilized.
And was this a response to limit the load on planet earth?  Or was it a
response to the economic problems of capitalist expropriation?

There is no discussion of population limitations that does not include
discussions of sanctions against those "violators" who exceed the standards
established by those in power, or those privileged enough to think that
somehow they are discussing real "hard" science instead of  the reproduction
of wealth.

To Louis:  Just as Grimes is scientifically mistaken in his representation
of SARS as a result of global warming, you are scientifically mistaken when
you attribute Ebola and HIV to population growth, to overpopulation.  No
such thing occurred.   Areas of the origin of Ebola are not overpopulated,
to say the least.  Expansion into forest areas has not been created by
population pressure but by economic pressures. But be that as it may, the
problem isn't the contact with the virus, indeed anyone enjoying the
pristine nature and bio-diversity of the unpopulated areas might have been
the original vector for the infection.  The problem is in the lack of social
development to isolate, treat, contain the infection.

You might as well argue that the black death and the plague were results of
overpopulation.  But as everyone knows, it wasn't overpopulation-- it was
the lack of sanitary conditions that fed the infections.

It's society, class that is at issue; not nature and population.  The latter
only exists for human beings in the former.

Brother Melvin has it on the good foot again, on a furiously good foot, and
rightly so.


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