Wednesday July 14, 2010

For Bill Gates Even Improving World Health is about Population Control

By John-Henry Westen and Patrick B. Craine

NEW YORK, July 14, 2010 ( – A relatively little-known video made last year provides a fascinating look at billionaire Bill Gates and his philanthropic endeavors. In an interview with Chris Anderson of the show TED, the Microsoft mogul is asked whether by aiding the world’s sick he is not in fact “adding enormously to the problem of overpopulation in the world.”

Gates is enlivened by the question, and responds: “Okay, this is a very important question to get right because it was absolutely key for me,” he says. “When our foundation first started up, it was focused on reproductive health. That was the main thing we did because I thought population growth in poor countries is the biggest problem they face.”

“You’ve got to help mothers who want to limit family size, have the tools and education to do that. That’s the only thing that really counts.”

What got Gates into funding general health, and not only reproductive health, was the finding that, as he puts it: “the key thing you can do to reduce population growth is actually improve health.”

Gates admits that it seems counterintuitive, but explains that parents in impoverished nations are having many children in order to “have two kids survive to adulthood to take care of them.”

Gates noted that the highest population growth is concentrated in countries with the “worst health conditions.” He explains: “the more disease burden there is, the more kids they have to have to have that high probability. So there’s a perfect correlation, that as you improve health, within a half generation, the population growth rate goes down.”

Contrary to Gates’ fears about overpopulation, however, demographers are in fact increasingly concerned about a worldwide depopulation as the world (and especially the West) experiences the effects of plummeting birthrates following the advent of the contraceptive mentality handed down from the sexual revolution.

In fact, in February, University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan decried the promotion of abortion as “women’s health” in the Third World, telling Canada’s National Post that it “seems to be based on the now discredited theory that poverty in the Third World is based on overpopulation.”

“I don’t think any serious scholar believes that anymore,” he added.

While many population control advocates say cutting the Third World population would solve the hunger epidemic, the Popular Research Institute, which specializes in population issues, has noted that world food experts, such as the World Food Program, say there’s no shortage of food, but a problem of distribution. PRI emphasizes that the real problems leading to hunger are poverty, war, natural disasters, environmental exploitation, and poor agricultural infrastructure.

See the video interview with Gates here.


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