Here’s a scary news item: The BBC reports that in Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India, the government advertised 368 lower-level clerical jobs and over 2.3 million people applied. Two point three million! The requirement was only a grade school education, but the applications came rolling in from college grads and even PhDs. They estimated that it would take four years to sift through that many applications, if anyone were even inclined to do so.
The reason this is scary is because of the migrant crisis currently unfolding in Europe. Do the math: this human tsunami is fed largely by 22 million Syrians, 32 million Afghanis and 6 million Eritreans. That’s 60 million people in the home countries, sending waves of desperate people across the Mediterranean, looking for hope in Europe. They have decided they can’t make it work in their homeland and will risk everything to get out. What happens if impoverished Indians take a page out of this playbook and head to Europe too? There are 204 million people living in Uttar Pradesh and 10 million of them are unemployed. The population of India as a whole is over a billion people with an enviable 5% unemployed–but that’s 50 million people out of work. How many of them are now watching the reports out of Austria and Germany and weighing their chances?
At the risk of sounding like a cliche, let me hasten to say that I have nothing against Indians. The point is not India, it’s overpopulation, and it affects most countries in the developing world. Of course there are civil wars fueling the Syrian and Afghani exodus, but there is unrest in parts of India too, and as this latest story shows, there are just not enough jobs. It’s hard to make ends meet even for well-educated people. The chaotic scenes on the borders of the EU are a dress rehearsal to what’s coming if and when the economies tank in other countries and the multitudes decide that the place to be is a First World Country. We’re going to see problems we never dreamed of because there are too many people and too few resources.
Let me correct “we never dreamed of.” Back in 1998 Allen Hammond of the Worldwatch Institute suggested there were a couple of possible scenarios for the 21st century: One was “Market World” where lowered trade barriers would bring prosperity to everyone no matter where you lived in the world. That’s the pie-in-the sky direction we’ve been steered by capitalists who run most governments. But what we’re seeing now is what Hammond feared: “Fortress World” where the “have” countries are throwing up walls and arming them with whatever they’ve got to keep the “have nots” out, lest the tidal wave of hope and misery crashing up against its borders overwhelm them.
What’s the answer? We desperately need some new ideas for peace in the world and I’ve written before about the need to partition Syria, the Ukraine, Libya, South Sudan. But even without that, there has to be some quick thinking about what to do when populations move en masse. It’s astonishing that no one seems prepared for this as the number of people in the world continues its staggering, exponential rise.
The long-term challenge has to be to lower the birthrate before the next wave of desperation is launched. And yet, it’s just at this juncture that Planned Parenthood is under attack and being defunded in many places in the United States. The latest salvo came in the Republican debate from Carly Fiorina and others, and as is so often the case, the facts were wrong (see Factcheck.org).
Friends, we need Planned Parenthood! If we don’t want to use fetal tissue for research, let’s make some laws about that, but it’s madness to do away with an organization that is like a levee keeping the population of the world in check! Starvation, social unrest, the rise of hate-groups and hate-political parties, war–all are tied to overpopulation. Here in New Hampshire the legislature defunded Planned Parenthood last month. Get out your checkbooks and make up the difference!