(Headline by Catholic Herald)
4 November 2011
In writing about the increase in world population to seven billion, Mr Stewart Sexton tells us “there are plenty of optimists who say that we can readily cope, and plenty of pessimists who say we can’t.” (Letter October 14) He is quite right. We can be optimistic about most of the world, which has taken Thomas Malthus’ warnings to heart and has controlled its population, and pessimistic about those countries – now almost confined to Africa and the Greater Middle East and a few Catholic countries – which are allowing their populations to continue doubling every few decades.
David Coleman, Professor of Demography, University of Oxford, put it like this (The Times 11 Oct 2011): “We are (almost) all Malthusians now. Well over half the world’s population practices “prudential restraint” in the modern guise of family planning, protecting family and society from the poverty and want that follows from excess growth and numbers. Those that are slow to do so suffer the consequences.”