April 09, 2010

Increasing equitability by culling the poor

I quote in full a letter to Science by Arthur H. Westing:
The special section on Food Security (12 February, p. 797) presents various technological fixes to address the problem of sustainably and equitably feeding the 9 billion humans now projected for 2050. However, population controls are not mentioned as a possible strategy. Suggestions for reducing demand are essentially limited to eating less meat and more insects, as well as establishing good governance and eliminating pervasive worldwide corruption. Why not make reduced world population a central part of the proposed mix of solutions for the future?
In the long term there can be as many humans as the food industry can support, and no more. Natural fecundity and mortality ensure this is the case in the absence of any "solutions." But the key to Westing's idea is to eat "equitably." So he is in fact arguing: "if you will not be able to eat as well as I do you do not deserve to live."


  1. Maybe (unlikely, I know) he's saying "I couldn't survive on what you (they) eat so I'm going to die".