Divine Providence and Population

Anthony Zimmerman
HLI Symposium, Manila
January 31-February 1, 1992
Reproduced with Permission


"If we do not make the 1990's the decade of family planning," pontificates Dr. Halfdan Mahler, "the global population man not stabilize between 8-10 billion people, but between 14-16 billion, or three times more than we have at the present time" (Interview with Japanese OICFP News, February 1991). For the new Secretary General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation it is a laudable goal to promote contraception to stabilize human numbers on this earth. Dr. Mahler may not know it, but his pro-contraception campaign cannot be inspired by God who forbids humans to use what IPPF wants to sell.

The Bible tells us that "there is nothing that God loves more than people who are at home with Wisdom. Wisdom is more beautiful than the sun and all the constellations. She is better than light itself, because night always follows day, but evil never overcomes Wisdom. Her great power reaches into every part of the world, and she sets everything in useful order" (Wis 7:28-30; 8:1). How does the Wisdom of God want us to view what is called a population and environmental problem?

This address makes three assumptions which are taken for granted, without need of proof:

  1. God must know more about population problems than we do; more than any scientist, much more than IPPF sales agents of contraceptives. We look to God, then, for guidance, not to fools who know not God.
  2. God does not make mistakes; He did not create a universe in which He makes it necessary to break His own commandments in order to survive and be happy.
  3. God teaches His commandments through the Church, including those which apply today in the context of demographic dynamics functioning within our ecosystem.


Malthus thought he had made a new and valid discovery when he published his notorious theory 200 years ago: "Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio" (Population: The First Essay, 1798). If that were really true, then God was not a good planner when He created the universe for humankind. But as things turned out, the one who made a mistake was not God but Malthus. Contrary to Malthus, there is no such thing as an absolute law of nature which decrees that humans can increase food production only in arithmetic ratios, whereas babies multiply by geometric ratio. Recent statistics utterly shatter this fanciful calculus of Malthus.

For example, during 1951-1984 population increased by 87% (from 2.55 to 4.763 billion); but wheat production increased by 214% percent (from 141.7 to 445.7 million metric tons excluding the USSR in both years); and rice production by 209% (from 152.2 to 470 million m.t.; calculated from UN figures reprinted in Japan Statistical Yearbooks 1953 and 1991). It means that the race was producing twice as much wheat and twice as much rice per person in 1984 as compared to 1951. Because farmers tend to produce too much food, government negotiators sit around tables at the Uruguay Round meetings, trying to persuade other countries to import their surplus food. And domestic governments pay farmers to sit on their hands instead of raising surplus foods, lest they glut the market and cause its collapse. We will review more statistics shortly. Were Malthus alive today he might see the wisdom of reversing his fanciful formula; he would see that food increases by geometric ratio, population by the slower arithmetic ratio. It is food producers who ever tend to glut and oversupply the market, whereas baby producers can't keep up to consume the oversupply.

But propagandists continue to make headlines, like Malthus, obligingly pushing alarm buttons for a press ever ready to be alarmed. Paul Ehrlich obligingly shocked those like to be shocked with his book The Population Bomb, describing the world population as a bomb whose fuse is lit and short, threatening to engulf humankind in a chaotic final convulsion. A traveling exhibit titled "The Problem is Us" toured the USA telling school children that "there are too many people in the world. We are running out of space. We are running out of energy. We are running out of food. And, although too few people seem to realize it, we are running out of time" (Washington, The Smithsonian Institute, undated, circulated in the 1970's. See Jacqueline Kasun, the War Against Population, P.21).

Like Dr. Mahler, Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of UNFPA, is likewise convinced that promoting contraception is our duty: "Our approach to the problem of rapid population growth should therefore include a strong and determined FP program as part of a package ..." (Japan OICFP News,January 1991). The UNFPA dispenses condoms and IUD's and similar paraphernalia throughout the world, soliciting especially the vulnerable poor in underdeveloped countries to submit their bodies in a degrading manner to sexual prostitution. We don't need an UNFPA at all, if the dominant UNFPA business is exploiting human weakness, is egging the poor to rebel against their God, their Creator and Redeemer.

The Population Crisis Committee, Briefing Paper No. 23, has the macabre ambition to stimulate an increase of contraceptive use by the world reproductive couples from currently about 50 percent to about 75 percent; the purpose is to achieve a world average of 2.1 children per couple by the year 2015, and so to stabilize population at 9.3 billion in about 2095. The media, of course, love such neat calculations; any computer gives you neat results if you put in neat figures.

Population Reports published by Johns Hopkins University, boasts that 138 million women of reproductive age are now surgically sterilized (November 1990). And expects that millions more will have their tubes tied or clipped or cauterized during this decade. That accounts for about one out of six married women of reproductive age around the globe. In the Philippines eleven percent, one of nine women, are said to be surgically sterilized; and among contraceptors, twenty four percent, one out of four, are sterilized in the Philippines. Johns Hopkins Population Program publishes this with evident satisfaction, as a major success. Evidently they believe that they are fixing what they see as a mistake in the world: untied tubes of reproducing women.

But we don't think that God made a mistake when He made us as we are, with bodies intact; and made the world as it is, with its lands and seas. God is majestic and great, and doesn't come to the classrooms of pseudo-scientists who want to reshape His world. When Job spoke too arrogantly, God put him in his place with these fitting words:

Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words?
Stand up now like a man and answer the questions I ask you.
Where were you when I created the world?
If you know so much, tell me about it.
Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? (Job 38:2-5)

We read in the Bible that God made the universe in the beginning, first hovering over the water in total darkness, then commanding: "Let there be light." The light appeared; it had no choice. The Creator was at work. And so He raised the sky, gathered the waters, made the land appear, made the grains and fruits to grow, adorned the skies with lights, great and small, filled the seas with fish, the air with birds, and created the animals of the earth, large and small. All this He created with a purpose in mind: He would create humans to His image, and put them in charge:

So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw. Then God said, "And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small." So God created human beings, making them to be like Himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge...God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased (Gen 1: 25-28,31).


Say not to me that God knew not what He did when He created. Tell me not that He made creatures to His own image and likeness, and then sent them into a world which was flawed and full of contradictions. If scientists today know even some little bit about population and resources, how much more does He who made all these things know about them. God did not create a world which is basically flawed, in which humans cannot survive without sinning against Him; without controlling population by means of contraception, abortion, and sterilization. He would be defeating Himself if He were to create humans to Him image and likeness, and then coerce them to act in a manner contrary to the nature of that image and likeness. We know that He created humans male and female, commanded them to have children and to bring the earth under their control. "I am putting you in charge," God said to our first parents, "of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat..." He gave the universe as a wedding gift to them, with ample space for them to increase and multiply, and to enjoy its resources. If humans sin by illicit birth control and abortion, this is not because God made it impossible for humans to live without committing these sins. Which leads to our third point.

3) God teaches us through the Church what we must do to keep His laws. To Peter He said: "Blest are you, Simon son of John! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part declare to you, you are `Rock,' and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; ;whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16:17-19).

By the revelation of the Father we too believe in Christ the Messiah and the Son of God; and we believe that He gave to Peter the keys of the Kingdom. Peter exercises the function of the gatekeeper who must decide whether to let in our keep out. Peter, now Pope John Paul II, locks out of the Church the promotion of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. For us that is decisive. To whom else shall we go to hear teachings on moral matters concerning population and environment? What the Church binds on earth is bound in heaven as well. The Catholics in the Philippines and everywhere in the world ought to turn its back on the promotion of contraception and abortion, which is a scandal and a stumbling block to its people! Send the promoters of contraception away! Paul told the Galatians to throw out the Judaizers who were emptying out their faith, to get rid of them: "But what does the Scripture say? It says, `Send the slave woman and her son away; for the son of the slave woman will not have a part of the father's property along with the son of the free woman'" (Gal 4:30). And to the Corinthians Paul wrote:

Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together? How can Christ and the Devil agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? (2 Cor 6:14-15).

When US AID and the World Bank and Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and sundry trot around the world to impose contraception, sterilization, and abortion on hapless nations dependent on funds, let us remember this passage of Paul. What they do is clearly the work of unbelievers trying to manipulate believers; wrong is striving against right; darkness is asking to live with light. The Devil is trying to get Christ to agree to his lies. The serpent is curling his slithery body around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and soliciting Eve to try the fruit.


"There are too many people in the world," is the message of propagandists, amplified by the media. But let's look around a bit. The more people there are, the better we live. People are the most dynamic of the natural resources, and wherever they live quite in agreement with God and with each other, they live better when there are more of them. Don't believe it because I say it here. Look around to see for yourself. UN statistics tell us that humans are increasing food and industrial production at a rate faster than human reproduction.
1975 1989 % Increase
Population (millions) 4,076 5,206 27.8
Cereals, million m.t. 1,372 1,865 35.9
Meat, 1000 m.t. beef,
veal, pork, mutton lamb 91,379 168,860 84.8
Hen eggs, 1000 m.t. 22,646 34,714 53.3
Cows milk, 1000 m.t. 389,480 474,020 17.3
Fish catches, 1000 m.t. 65,740.5 97,985 49.0
Beer, 1000 hectoliters 643,615 827,300 (1983) 28.5 (50?)

A world average number of food calories available per person increased accordingly, from 2397 in 1964-66, to 2504 in 1974-76, and 2635 in 1980-82, and increase of ten percent during sixteen years. This was during a period of very rapid population increase; so what happened to the Malthus calculations? They are turned on their head! During the decade of 1975-1984, when population increased by 16.9 percent, food production increased by 23 percent, and so did total agricultural production. During the same decade the production of all primary commodities increased by 18 percent, and all manufactured goods increased by 36%, more than double the population increase. (The above figures cited or calculated from UN Statistical Yearbook 1983-84, and Japan Statistical Yearbook 1991.)


To offset the incessant propaganda that population growth lowers levels of living, let us run through more statistics. For example, "rice and wheat production in India in 1983 was already three-and-o-half times as great as in 1950. This was considerably more than twice the percentage increase in the population of India in the same period" (see Jaqueline Kasun, THE WAR AGAINST POPULATION, P. 33, with references). World food production has increased considerably faster than population; between 1950 and 1977 the world production of food per person, or as they say, per caput, gained at least 28 percent, and since then the trend has continued (see Kasun 33). That helps to explain why fewer babies die now than in past generations. FAO presents the following figures of availability of food per person in various regions, expressed in calories: (Source: FAO estimates, July 1986.)

Region Calories per person Increase-decrease
1961 1984
Africa south of Sahara 2,109 2,097 -12 Southeast Asia 1,834 2,416 +582 Central and South America 2,360 2,607 + 247 Africa North of Sahara 2,093 2,796 +703 China and other east Asia 1,786 2,819 +1,033 West Asia 2,250 2,974 +724
Industrialized countries 3,085 3,461 +366

UNICEF estimates that 14,500,000 infants and children died per year in 1987, and that the number will be reduced to 10,000,000 by the end of the century (The State of the World's Children 1987, page 126). For the Philippines, the mortality rate of children under age 5 dropped from 135 in 1960 to 78 in 1985 (ibid. p. 129). In the global population over 15 years old the literates have increased from 56% in 1950 to 72% in 1985 (ibid. p. 113). In the Philippines the adult literacy rate increased from 1970 to 1985 as follows: for males the increase is from 83% to 86%; for females from 80% to 85% (ibid. p. 135). Expectation of life from birth in the Philippines, during 1970-75 to 1980-85, increased for males from 56.9 years to 60.2, and for females from 60.0 to 63.7 (UN Demographic Yearbooks 1976 and 1986).

The growth rates of gross domestic product of market economies averaged 4.0% in 1970-75, 3.7 in 1975-80, and 2.0 in 1984; gross fixed capital in the corresponding years had an annual increase of 3.3%, 4.1% and 4.3% respectively. Both rates exceeded population growth rates in all cases. The developing market economies had an even more impressive growth during these years: the gross domestic product increased 6.2% annually in 1970-75, 5.0% in 1975-80, and 4.3% in 1984. Gross fixed capital increased annually in 1970-75 by 10.0%, and 5.7% in 1975-80. The annual increase rate of population growth was always lower, 1.7% in 1975-1980, and the same in 1980-1985 (UN Demographic Yearbooks). For developing countries the annual population increase rate is estimated at 2.0% during 1980-1985 (UN World Population Chart 1984).

All the above has been said over and over again, and is printed in publications to which population propagandists have easy access. As it looks now, God made the world's resources so very plentiful that we can improve material living conditions enormously in the developed nations as well as in the developing nations if we keep the peace, live a policy of human solidarity, and all together keep the ten commandments tolerably well. We must remember, however, that production of food and other life necessities normally do not outstrip population growth by wide margins due to free market dynamics. When food is scarce, prices rise, producers tend invest more in machinery, chemical, labor, and risk enterprises. When food is overproduced, prices tumble, and investments shrink, resulting likely in lower production. Consumer requirements and their production are like two horses hitched to the economy and pulling it on its way: when the consumer house gets ahead and the producer lags, the economy slaps the producer with the reins to catch up again. And so on. But can we just go on like this, increasing population, increasing living levels, without exhausting the world's natural resources?


Eminent economist Julian Simon sifted the evidence of studies comparing population growth with economic development. Dozens of studies, starting with that of Simon Kuznets, have found no association between the rate of population growth and the growth of income per capita. Two recent studies, over periods as long as a century, or as short as twenty five years within countries, there is no significant association between the two, between rates of population growth and the rate of change of per capita income. But Professor Simon came up with the conclusion that, because the short run studies fail to show negative effects of population growth on per capita capital formation, the long term effect is positive; that is, population growth has a positive of economic productivity and growth.

Existing empirical studies, he admits, do not show that faster population growth in the more developed countries as a whole increases income per person. But that is not inconsistent with the proposition that, in the long run, more people raise the standard of living. The studies already done refer to the short time of a quarter century, or a century at most, whereas the main negative effects of population growth occur during the first quarter or half century. During this time investments are made in the form of the cost of schooling and health services and providing additional production capital for the work force.

But the most important positive effects of additional people -- improvement of productivity through the contribution of new ideas and the learning-by-doing resulting from increased production volume -- happen in the long run and are cumulative. Together with that positive long-run effect, the absence of an observed negative medium-term effect upon economic growth in the statistical measures there is sufficient evidence to deduce that in the very long run, more people have a positive net effect...These studies are consistent with the existence of a positive long-run effect of population growth upon economic development (On Aggregate Empirical Studies Relating Population Variables to Economic Development" in Population and Development Review, June 1989, pp. 323-332).


Barring wars and unforseen natural disasters, not to worry. Colin Clark, former Director of the Agricultural Economic Institute at Oxford University, Econometrist, Oxford University, has done a massive calculation of world land-types by their production capabilities, and found that if farmers were to use the best present methods, the could raise enough food to feed 35.1 billion people at the sumptuous present day diet of the American people (see Kasun p. 34). It will not happen, of course. If farmers would produce food for 35 billion people next year, less than 6 billion consumers would be there to consume it; mountains of food would rot, or feed crows and rodents; and farmers would likely lose their shirt when prices would collapse. But as the market expands, production can expand on a parallel front, or slightly ahead of it as living levels rise.

From my own limited experience on the family farm, I can realize why food production does not race far ahead of population needs. Farmers do not raise food to "feed the world" but to make a living. They try to guess about future prices - corn, beans, wheat, others - calculate added value in the form of finished beef, pork, milk, eggs, then make decisions about investment in labor, machinery and chemicals. When and where the prices are right, production rises. But excessive production has dogged American farmers for some decades already. The government offers contracts to keep some of the land out of production, and that sometimes pays better than raising crops; farmers calculate whether net income from certain acreage will be greater if they work the land or contract it to the government to keep it out of production. We have arrived at the age where overproduction of food is a problem which governments must reckon with and keep under surveillance and control. And world agricultural expansion is just now crossing the threshold of vast future potentials.

The world potential agricultural land is about 9.3 billion hectares, of which 15% is now under crops. By using the best present methods of agriculture on only 3% of the latter, we could even now outdo total world agricultural production (see Robert L. Sassone, Handbook on Population, 1978 ed., p. 56).

An ever smaller percentage of workers is engaged in agriculture. Of 104.9 million persons in the labor force in the USA in 1980, only 2.3 million were engaged in agriculture (See Statistical Abstract of The USA,1986, p.400). One person produces the food for about 50 people, with a surplus for export. This frees 98 percent of the labor force to do other things: to engage in other primary or extractive industries, namely forestry, fishing and minding; in the secondary employment group (industrial) of construction and manufacturing; in the tertiary group (services to primary and secondary industries) of transportation, communications, public utilities, wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance and real estate, services and government, and finally in the quaternary group of services for their own sake (see Kahn pp. 52-53). All this means that we have better roads, schools, hospitals, more entertainers, inviting tourist industries, excellent baseball and football teams, and Olympic games to entertain entire village earth. In Japan, for example, the shift of the labor force from primary to secondary and tertiary industries has been dramatic since 1948:

Percentage distribution of employed persons by industry in Japan
Year Primary Industry Secondary Industry Tertiary Industry
1948 49.0 23.8 22.7
1958 32.8 27.1 40.1
1978 11.7 34.4 53.7
1990 JST 1991 p. 786 7.2 33.6 58.7
JST 1991 p. 786

Japan now has its own peculiar food problem: too much rice. Japanese delegates are forever haggling with Americans at trade meetings: Japan tries to block rice imports from entering Japan, where government supported rice prices protect embattled farmers; politicians in Japan do their best to keep out imports and so hold on to the vote of the volatile farmers.

In Japan, hydroponic farming produces sweet melons, grapes, strawberries, out of season products, with enormous yields, but also with price tags which cater more to gourmet restaurants than to the supermarket. When prices become competitive in the future, I foresee that hydroponics will gain an increasing percentage of total food production; yields are higher, made-to-order crops are grown, and man controls the environment. Hydroponics need not intrude upon present croplands, since deserts with maximum sunshine are ideal for it, if only water is made available. Desert land is comparatively cheap, but is also distant from the market. Desalinization of water for hydroponics in the desert will be an added expense, fixing the barrier where it becomes competitive with conventional agriculture. Because hydroponic culture uses less water, fertilizer, pesticides and others than conventional culture, since the environment is closely controlled and the nutrient water is re-cycled, it is now competitive for only a limited market of special products. However, in Kahn and Associates expect that farmers will expand the role of hydroponics in growing cash crops in the future: "We expect that technological advances, economics of scale, conservation of water and nutrients, the sheer size of world income, and alternate uses for land can make wide-scale hydroponics feasible and competitive during the next century, especially because of its potential for obtaining four or more crops per year" (Kahn, p. 130).

Because hydroponic culture has fixed high costs, it caters to contract and fixed price markets rather than to fluctuating open market prices. Some of the plants in Japan are highly automated, including temperature and moisture control, density of the chemical solutions, opening and closing of windows and ventilators. The area of glass room facilities in Japan increased from 626 hectares in 1970 to 2,028 in 1990; and green house area increased in these two decades from 8,508 to 40,944 hectares (ibid. p. 164; while 244,000 farm households plus 619 establishments were engaged in glass house and green house horticulture (Japan Statistical Yearbook 1990. p. 164).

From this and more we have confidence, that barring war, inept government, and catastrophe, there is no real end in sight for food production. Quite to the contrary, to keep a lid on over-production looms as a chronic problem in various countries which requires constant monitoring and regulative measures. This trend will only increase in future, as farming becomes more mechanized and therefore efficient. In Japan, for example, the number of households engaged full time in agriculture is in steep decline, from 3,086,000 in 1950 to 599,000 in 1980 (JSY 1983, p. 149); and to 591,551 in 1990 (JSY 1991, p. 152). The index of labor productivity, including all industries, climbed just as steeply, from an index of 15.4 in 1960 to 132.7 in 1990, indicating that a laborer produced 8.6 times as much in 1990 as in 1960. The corresponding index of labor productivity of foodstuffs and tobacco increased from 54.8 to 104.7 (Ibid. p. 113). Fewer people produce not only more goods from year to year, but also goods of higher quality.

Weather conditions affect food production to some extent, but on a global basis bad weather here is balanced by good weather elsewhere; war and incompetent government can cause real hardship; by and large, however, when market dynamics have fairly free play, market demands, which are expressed effectively in prices, are the main factors which set the pace of increased food production, and of investment in the food raising industry.

Where there is a scarcity of food today, this problem does not arise from limits of the earth's food production capacity, because that capacity expands readily to increased human endeavor in an ascending scale of productivity. In the area of food, the earth's carrying capacity is limitless, as limitless as the horizon which recedes as we move forward into the centuries ahead. Population numbers which will not cause food shortages tomorrow, nor a thousand years hence, if these populations develop their human resources sufficiently, live in human solidarity and peace, and obey the ten commandments in sufficient measure.


The Philippines, with 60 million people living on 300,000 square kilometers, has less than half of Japan's population of 123 million, living on 378,000 square kilometers. But you have a great advantage: your population increases at a rate of 2.4 percent, as contrasted to decelerating Japan's 0.5 percent and heading towards zero and a negative growth. And God has given you the calling to be a people specially His own, with 80 percent Catholic, and a good many of the others are baptized.

I know, and am ashamed of the fact, that American population imperialists are baiting you with money, to practice birth control. Don't take the bait, even if it costs you an economic martyrdom. Money is not worth your inheritance, as Esau learned. The serpent in Paradise tells lies, as Eve and Adam learned.

Yours is the only nation in Asia with a predominantly Catholic population. Think of your future one hundred years from now, when Japan, if present trends continue, will be an old folks home, when China will have many men unable to marry because they killed their women; when the Philippines can be a bright nation, a city on the mountain, a sign and sacrament of salvation to Asia. The words of Leonard Simonde de Sismondi (1771-1842) come to mind, who wrote that a society should fulfill its destiny:

The object of society is not fulfilled, so long as the country occupied by this society, presents means of supporting a new population, of enabling it to live in happiness and abundance, whilst yet those means are not resorted to. The multiplication of happiness over the earth, is the object of Providence; it is stamped in all his works, and the duty of men in their human society is to cooperate in it (Political Economy, 1837-38; reproduced in "Sismondi on Population" Population And Development Review, September 1990, pp. 557-570.


Julian Simon examined resource futures much as Colin Clark studied food futures. At the Mexico City World Population Congress in 1984 Mr. Simon explained to those willing that production of resource products for the free market responds to market dynamics much as food production does. Demand raises prices, justifies greater investments in production, exploration, technological improvements, and research. When one produce becomes overly expensive, this invites more efficient production methods, or substitution. I asked him flatly whether we are going to run out of something. No, he said, because if something is too expensive we do without it, or find a substitute, or make something cheaper.

In reference to all kinds of energy, Julian L Simon and Herman Kahn concluded:

The prospect of running out of energy is purely a bogeyman. The availability of energy has been increasing, and the meaningful cost has been decreasing, over the entire span of humankind's history. We expect this benign trend to continue at least until our sun ceases to shine in perhaps 7 Billion Years (The Resourceful Earth: a Response to Global 2000, Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, Inc. 1984, p. 25; quoted in Kasun p. 41.)

When population propagandists come with figures of limited of "known reserves of petroleum," etc. remember that it is only the known reserves whereof they speak, those which companies or governments use or have surveyed. When these fall short and competitive prices justify investment, exploration for still unknown sources gets underway. Companies which have ample known sources at hand for the next twenty years have no incentive to invest in exploration of future resources to satisfy idle curiosity. The continuous process of finding more "known reserves" is powered by market dynamics. No one knows the figures for "unknown reserves" which the Creator has stored up. And the figure for "known" reserves must be further qualified by adding: reserves whose recovery meets current market prices. Dig deeper, scrape from the ocean floor, use less concentrated veins, and even the "known" reserves expand exponentially.

Even so, we know that extremely large deposits of coal remain in the USA and throughout the world, enough for a thousand years, possibly more than twice that (Colin Clark, cited in Kasun p. 41). In Japan mines are closing down, the supplies not justifying non-competitive mining. One highly placed technician of computer giant in Japan volunteered the opinion, as we were racing along the bullet train, that solar batteries orbited in wide areas in space could become a chief source of energy in future. Beamed harmlessly to earth, causing no pollution, it can produce the electricity we need. The investment would be so enormous, however, that no single nation could do that alone. It would have to be an international venture. He is a knowledgeable man, and was not speaking in jest.

To examine the individual resources needed for our industrial processes would be a wearisome process for us, and is not necessary. We usually measure by prices paid whether products are needed, and in supply. If prices rise, current supplies may be depleting; if prices drop, supplies are plentiful, even glutted. Jaqueline Kasun reports as follows on price trends:

*There is very little probability of running out of anything essential to the industrial process at any time in the foreseeable future. Over the past decades there have been recurrent predictions of the imminent exhaustion of all energy and basic metals, none of which has come about.... Economists gauge the availability of basic materials by measuring their price-changes over time. A material whose price has risen over time (allowing for changes in the average value of money) is becoming more scarce, while one whose price has fallen is becoming more abundant, relative to the demand for it. Two major economic studies of the availability of basic metals and fuels found no evidence of increasing scarcity over the period 1870-1972 (reference 40). And in 1984 a group of distinguished resource experts reported that the cost trends of non-fuel minerals for the period 1950-1980 "fail to support the increasing scarcity hypothesis" (reference 41). Julian Simon has recently noted the trend of decreasing scarcity for all raw materials:

An hour's work in the United States has bought increasingly more of copper, wheat, and oil (representative raw materials) from 1800 to the present. And the same trend has almost surely held throughout human history. Calculations of expenditures for raw materials as a proportion of total family budgets make the same point even more strongly. These trends imply that the raw materials have been getting increasingly available and less scarce relative to the most important and most fundamental element of life, human work-time. The prices of raw materials have even been falling relative to consumer goods and the Consumer Price Index. All the items in the Consumer Price Index have been produced with increasing efficiency in terms of labor and capital over the years, but the decrease in cost of raw materials has been even greater than that of other goods, a very strong demonstration of progressively decreasing scarcity and increasing availability of raw materials ("Global Confusion, 1980...: The Public Interest, No. 62, Winter 1981, p. 11). Quoted in Kasun, pp. 39-40).

That we who happen to live in developed economies enjoy a higher level of material living standards today than humankind did a hundred years ago, not even the most ardent overpopulation propagandists can deny. We have both: more people, and a more affluent living standard. That it would have been impossible to achieve this higher standard without the increase of population is also true, I believe, but this is not the place to follow that line of argumentation. Herman Kahn and associates expressed well how we are, in fact, living better today than in the past:

Thus science and technology - which in Western civilization removed poverty, illiteracy, hunger, frequent and severe disease, and short life spans for the majority of people and created for them instead relative affluence, improved health and medical care, longer life expectancy and a sense of increasing power - now appear to some groups to raise a general threat to the continuation of our civilization...(Herman Kahn and others, The Next 200 Years, William Morrow and Co, Inc. New York, 1976, p. 164).

God has created enough resources, including human resources, to enable a major part of the human race to become immensely wealthy today, living at a far better material standard than when Christ lived in Nazareth 2000 years ago. That the level of living differs dramatically from nation to nation, in "north" and "south" is a challenge to human solidarity, but the very existence of a gap in living conditions can be made into a dynamic factor for quicker development. Kahn and Associates describe ten factors by which the dynamics of the gap operate to slowly emulsify living levels around the globe. They expect that by the end of the 21st century almost all societies will have a gross national product greater than $2000 (1976 value) per capita. They point out that gaps in living levels may continue to grow arithmetically even as all pick up the pace of development, but this gap is not perceived as a disaster:

As far as we can tell, arithmetic differences (as opposed to ratios) in per capita product will general increase for the next 100 years, with (of course) many exceptions. But this should not be disastrous either morally or politically since there are very few peasants, workers or even businessmen in developing nations who care much about gaps (whether arithmetic or geometric), no matter how much intellectuals, academics and some businessmen may profess to. The major objective of most people is to increase their own safety and improve their own standard of living and their own capabilities. When they make comparisons, it is usually with others at their socioeconomic level or with those who have recently been at their own or a lower level (Kahn, 49).

Transnational companies are even now circulating peoples, technologies, products, and capital from nation to nation around the globe, contributing to a further emulsification of diverse economies, and raising expectations. What is critical for development, in my view, is formal school education, and this is tied up with hygiene and nutrition. As Mother Teresa explained, when children of the slums first come to school, they are not in a learning condition unless sufficient nutrition and physical health allow them the quiet, calm, and strength to absorb what is being taught. In the same way it must be said that the most advanced technology cannot be absorbed by a people who do not know reading, writing and arithmetic, and who are not minded to keep the ten commandments. Church and school, therefore, have a very important function in capacitating peoples to develop and improve their levels of living.

The Olympic Games bring cheers from "north" and "south" together -more than half the world population watches them - and as we get to know each other better, we are also learning to help each other more. Knowledge about technology which developed during two centuries in developed countries, can be transferred to developing countries during one generation in school classrooms; multi-national companies can bring sophisticated technologies to new economies in the time it takes to set up facilities and train technicians and laborers. We are experiencing a betterment of living levels around the globe in areas not isolated by violence, ideologies, tyranny, and lack of educational opportunities. If it can be said that the rich become richer, it can also be said that the poor are becoming rich by interacting functionally with the rich, thereby acceleration their rate of developmental growth.

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