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Issue #1921      June 29, 2020

Under socialist planning there’s no “plague of people,” the world holds plenty for all

The theory is bobbing up regularly in the capitalist press lately that the world has too many mouths to feed and that it would not be such a bad thing if an atomic war or a black death wiped out a few of the allegedly “excess millions.”

There’s a “plague of people” – “an epidemic of men” wail the capitalist ecologists.

An ecologist deals with the mutual relation between plants and animals and their environment.

According to these gloomy (and false) prophets we’re heading straight for mass starvation unless the human race is decimated by some means instead of continuing to multiply.

Some of the means of decimation are suggested by Lord Bertrand Russell, hailed by capitalists as the “greatest of living thinkers.”

“Birth control is not the only way of stopping the population from growing,” says Russell. “War, hitherto, has proved disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological warfare may prove more effective.

“If the Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation the survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full.”

This despair cult has been trotted out by capitalism’s greatest thinkers (read apologists) since the days of the Reverend T R Malthus (1766-1834).

But is it scientifically true that the world is “too full?”

Definitely, no !

The simple fact is that the early capitalists had to have an apology or “explanation” for the capitalist paradox of poverty amidst plenty – and Malthus filled the hill.

He came up with a theory that human mouths multiplied faster than the earth’s ability to feed them.

Bacteriological weapons and atom bombs were not available then; contraceptives were still crude and unreliable so Malthus got the bright idea of separating working men from their wives to keep down the population.

Indeed, the Reverend held that procreation was too good for the poor!

Today, revolt is rising among the hungry millions of Asia and unemployment and want is spreading through the capitalist lands of the Western world.

In “explaining” this, one of America’s disciples of the despair cult William Vogt, actually laments that cholera plagues are not still decimating Asiatic populations the way they used to because of the practice of purifying water.

Vogt bemoans that Africa is “over-populated” and expresses fears that some meddling medical men will launch a DDT attack on the deadly tsetse fly and so reduce the native population’s high death rate.

Vogt justifies this human approach with the claim that the world has “too many mouths.”

But back in his capitalist homeland, the American Government complains of “too much food” and stores away eggs, wheat and grain galore to rot in warehouses, abandoned ship hulks and remote caves.

Such capitalist madness is mercilessly assailed by Soviet writer M Ilyin in his pamphlet “The Earth And Man.”

Ilyin shows that under a socialist economy there is no Malthusian fear of rising population, that quite on the contrary the rapid development of the earth’s resources far outstrips the people’s food requirements.

Basing his assessment on the actual experience of production under socialism, Ilyin points out that harvests could be increased four-fold in size while vast areas of untitled land throughout the planet could be placed beneath the plough.

Taking a conservative estimate, ILyin says: “But let us suppose that average world harvest yields will increase only two and a half times over and the cultivated area will be trebled. In that case our Earth will be able to provide ample food for not only 900 million (as American “experts” claim) but for 6600 million.”

“This means,” Ilyin continues. “That even today, without any startling scientific discoveries, man is in a position to wipe out hunger from the earth even if its population trebles.”

The facts are that under socialism, where capitalism’s greedy quest for “immediate profits” no longer stifles national development, vast stretches of desert, tundra and tropical forest are being turned into arable, food-yielding areas.

As Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinsky has pointed out, atomic energy is being put to work on this task of paving the way to abundance for all by “levelling mountains, changing the course of rivers and watering deserts.”

“There is work without end to be done on Earth,” says Ilyin, “yet the capitalist world has 45,000,000 unemployed, who do not know where to find work that would save them from starvation.” In contrast to the despair cult of capitalism, Ilyin’s “Earth Ana Man” inspires the reader with a bright hope for humanity’s future – and backs it all with solid, scientific fact.

Ilyin gives socialism’s ringing answer to capitalism’s philosophy of hunger, war and death. “No, hunger and poverty are not inevitable,” he says. “They are unknown in the land of Socialism and they will disappear in every land when all the peoples tackle the job of the planned, scientific re-making of Nature, when the man of Labor comes to look on planet with the eyes of a master.

Tribune April 1954.

Next article – Victory, progress are Curtin’s memorials

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