Monday, 8 August 2011


From the First Industrial Revolution in England to the present, Malthusian (Rev. Thomas Malthus 1766-1834) arguments as a pretext for grossly unequal income distribution, rise in poverty amid economic growth, and to deflect focus from a socially unjust political economy to the issue of  there are 'too many people, too few resources' in the world.

This is not to say that managing population growth is imprudent, but that the theory is a pretext for a problem that the political economy has caused. Today, the same Malthusian argument is used after UN and many government and non-government organizations are warning that during this century the population will grow disproportionately higher than the available natural resources, and such conditions may result in social unrest.

The projections for the rise in the population from the current 7 billion to 11 billion by the middle of the 21st century, and the limited energy, water, and food resources will be a major source of global sociopolitical instability, especially since the exploitation of natural resources rests primarily in the control of Western multinational corporations. Considering that the US has just under 5% of the world's population but accounts for 25% of the world's consumption, or 5% more than China and India combined whose population is more than seven times higher than the US. It is troubling, if not the ultimate social injustice, that 12% of the world's population in North America and Western Europe currently accounts for 60% of the world's private consumption spending, while one-tird of the world people living in Asia and sub-Sahara Africa account for just 3.2 percent of the world's private consumption.

Some are optimistic that urbanization in Asia and Africa will result in higher living standards. While it is true that no rural-based economy has reached high income levels, and that rich countries are urban, it is not true that all urban countries are rich. If that were the case, Latin America with a large concentration of its population in urban areas should have been as developed as US and Canada. In the first decade of the 21st century, the average annual  urbanization growth was 2%, while in the Middle East and Africa it was 3%, and in Asia Pacific 2.7%. Concerned about rapid population growth and the lack of resources to meet the rising demand, the UN has warned about a global labor market recession especially in the underdeveloped nations and possible social unrest.
UN figures show that 324 cities with a population of over 750,000 has a rise of 20.0% in the last decade, with Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America as leaders. Currently at one billion people, Africa will see a doubling of its population in the next half century, thus accounting for 20% of the world's population. Multinational corporations are counting on a continued surplus labor force that will keep consumption expanding horizontally, while keeping wages low.

Western regimes in the service of finance capital are only concerned about social unrest that would jeopardize the integration of the high-population areas of Africa and Asia into the capitalist West or capitalist Chinese economy currently second in the world and destined to become first mat some point in the 21st century. All of this assumes political stability, which is unlikely if the current integration model based on very low consumption and grossly uneven income distribution continues.

The International Labor Office (ILO) released a study in September 2010 indicating that people in 36 of 72 countries had less confidence in their government than they did before the 2008-2011 global recession. This was months before the Islamic uprisings that have many long-term and short-term causes beyond the current global recession. Moreover, the ILO has argued that the labor market recession is also linked to widespread social unrest throughout Europe from Slovenia to Ireland and Portugal. The International Monetary Fund, guardian of finance capital, has also warned that social inequality, jobless economic growth, and global imbalances - geographic income inequality - will mean political instability and perhaps war if such conditions continue.

The solution to preventing social unrest is not merely a jobs-creation economy throughout the world, but an economy that provides good paying jobs and opportunities for upward social mobility and government that abides by social justice and does not violate basic human rights. Are the regimes forced to accept US-style neo-liberal capitalism capable of delivering a socially just society, and are multinational corporations and banks willing to accept lower profits for the sake of social and political stability?

Just as no one believed that social unrest would spread so suddenly and so wide across North Africa and the Middle East, it is inevitable that social unrest will spread to sub-Sahara Africa that has suffered the lowest living standards on the planet from colonization to the present. Western neo-colonialism under the mask of globalization and neo-liberalism will be the cause for future sociopolitical instability in Africa and other parts of the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is easily established by simple math that Malthus was wrong. Hence, population and food supply projections based on this formula were skewed during the First Industrial Revolution in England and are off the charts now by the UN.

One elephant in the room is the influx of people from the Orient to urbanized areas in Africa namely the Chinese. These variables are not hidden or merit investigation to be uncovered. Population projects were conclusively agreed upon in 1997 especially between Egypt and China, so might a large population project concentrated in Africa a simple factor to include?

This effects the whole of the region, some areas more than others.

And while the people in the United States appear to be the larger consuming element, history shows clearly that the people are quick to share food and now face the ultimate challenge: how to appropriately handle illegals coming into the country enmasse.

By ignoring these two exclusive factors (in a grossly skewed formula) will result in a grossly wrong conclusion.

And this is why those with knowledge and free will to choose the more positive and excellent message (based on facts and not myth) continue to rise up and speak freely about the Good News.

There is bread, but, its the creeps that keep moving the cheese that need to be held accountable and face justice. And they will.

There is a place where your neighbor is free to break bread with you. But to the creeps, we still bare arms and tyranny will not prevail, he who steals food for his own ends.

It is called America.