thumbnail of One plus one equals three; 3; Always Room For More?
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
It'll. Be equals three. Hundred seventy people. It took two centuries for that figure to double. It took only one century to double again. Today there are well over three and a half billion of us sharing this planet. Demographers tell us that by the year 2000 the world population will swell to almost seven billion. This series of programs is about this problem
about what happens because one plus one equals three or. Four. You have a little statistics are accurate. A new American is born every 8 seconds. Between now and the end of this program. Approximately two hundred and ten babies will start their lives in the United States. By next week at this time. Seventy five thousand six hundred will have been born in our country alone. During the same time the next seven days just under 36000 will die in the United States. A little simple subtraction reveals that we will therefore gain a population of approximately 40000 in our country alone in just the next seven days. Alas equivalent of adding a city the size of Las Vegas Nevada to our nation every three weeks. How much longer can we keep up our growth at this rate. Just how serious is our population
problem. Dr. Alan Guttmacher the president of Planned Parenthood world population. Is one of the best known and most widely respected experts on population problems. In a novel the vial interview he talked about the outlooks that are most widely held on the world population problem. Well I think you can say that there are three points of view. There's a point of view that man is a remarkable adaptable creature. You give him a challenge and he makes a proper response. Therefore don't get upset about it. Keep on increasing. And in some way man will blunder through and meet this challenge. Therefore stop belaboring people about smaller families zero population of things of this variety. This is unnecessary quoting to the school. Then of course there's a second group
largely the communist countries who claim that the population problem to be sure is. Important perhaps serious but that its gravity is greatly enhanced and multiplied by the imperialist West by the mismanagement Political of the West that in communist countries you simply divide the relatively evenly things that you have and they claim that the problem is largely a problem above production distribution and utilization of world's goods and the new communist country. You can manipulate these things and so balance them that the gravity of the population increase will not be seen as the third group who feel that the problem is
immense serious dangers. This group can probably be split into two sections and even b.s.. The anti's would say well let's see if we can stem the growth of our population on volatile with voluntary means. That means let's give everybody an effective contraception. Let's see that everybody has available abortion safe inexpensive nondiscriminatory and let a sterilized people who feel they've had enough children. So these are voluntary means you can handle the problem. On the other hand there are some very important people like Carly Hume Kingsley Davis and Judith Blake and Garrett Harden who feel that this
voluntary system has struck up and the only way that we can possibly manage this hideous problem is by coercive means get tough. Now my own point of view is with the three a group. I think the problem is intense serious and severe. I think that civilization is seriously threatened. But I feel that we have two very valuable decades from 1900 in 1990 and if we can't stem the rate of growth of world population by 1990 and then I think the situation has become so desperate that coercive means will have to be employed. But my hope of course is that we can do it through voluntary means. You would say then that you're an optimist when it comes to the population problem. No I would say I'm a realist. Right now.
The problem is not intense or severe enough for most people to accept coercive means. Certainly in a democracy like India or the United States. Yes and autocracy is like China. And I say that. They have be a tremendous robber perhaps and then be able to control the birthrate. He would probably I would turn the government if you attempted to do things very drastic. On the other hand if there were increases as dramatically as it is now is it population wise then 190 people would be in a different mood. My own feeling is we have these two decades to try to do it by none Dorsy means and I think that if we tried to coerce now it would be a
richer one possibility. He said the birthrate following the government would fall. Not a good marker stand of concern might be termed moderate. Dr. Paul I like Dr. Paul Superman aka James Kitzmiller. And a wide variety of others. Thanks Massa more dismal picture. Just faced with the way we have. Should we be successful. First choice. Leading to a gradual decline to a level we can support that will not solve all of human problems. There will still be racism. There will still be war there will still be destruction of the environment unless we tackle them at the same time. All population control does is buys you a ticket to try and solve our other incredibly difficult problems. If you don't have Population control of yours you might as well forget about all the others because then we won't even have a chance. Now I could go on the wall discussion what the statistics
are of population growth but I suspect most of you are already familiar with them. Let me point out just one number which came to my attention recently. In all the wars of the United States is fought in the revolution 1812 Mexicans civil. Oh yeah. Fleiss. I think that any. Cursory examination of the overwhelming amount of evidence that has been gathered together by a wide variety. Academic and professional groups indicates that we are faced with a serious urgent problem. As a result of overpopulation. I don't think there can be any question about this. But then our.
Current relationship with our environment is seriously endangered by this. This single most important problem facing the world today. If I sound rather discouraged and hopeless about this and it's true I really feel. Very very discouraged about the whole population situation because as you know when you're talking about family planning and limitations of births. And the kinds of things that we need to do drastically to cut down the population growth and bring populations back to a reasonable manageable level. Then we're talking about appealing to people who can understand the necessity of doing this. And therefore we're talking about intelligent educated people actually if you look at the countries like the United States and Russia and France and England and generally speaking the more developed countries. Where the education rate is higher. It has been a lot easier to control the birth rate because eventually
people see and understand and realize the necessity of doing this. When you're talking about. Controlling such a basic biological urge for the good of mankind. Then you have to appeal to the intellect rather than to the senses. And this can be done in a country where education or intelligence levels are high enough when you're talking about appealing to millions of people that can't even read and write. I think it's a very difficult task and this is why I feel so discouraged and almost hopeless about the problem of population control in India China parts of Africa and that. Education is really our only hope. I don't think we have the time to do the education we don't have the time to educate a generation in 10 years or in 20 years. We just don't have that time in 20 years there will be twice as many Indians as there are no. We now have approximately 600 million Indians in the subcontinent and in 20 years at the present growth rate 20 to
25 years. There will be one billion two hundred million I have no idea what we're going to do or how we're going to feed these people in 20 years. Not everyone is as concerned as doctors are like. SILBERMAN in Kitzmiller. At another end of the spectrum of concern are men such as Dr Julian Simon professor of economics at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Science can only reveal one of the implications of various policies. The judgment about which policies are good or bad and which policy should be chosen rests squarely upon your values. Whether you think that is better for a country to have a population of 50 million human beings with a thousand dollars per year per capita income. Or 100 million human beings at seven hundred fifty dollars per your income is strictly a matter of what you consider important. Therefore a judgment that population growth is too fast or too slow is not a
scientific judgment but rather a value judgment. It might be a good thing to add here that it takes courage today for a man to stand up for an unpopular idea. And Dr Simon is doing just that. In a climate of environmental concern saying that we do not face an overpopulation problem in bringing down upon yourself a mountain of abuse. This matter of verbal abuse is however a side issue. The primary problem is this. Do we have a population problem. Will there always be room for more and more people. Dr. Paul Sears one of America's most distinguished senior ecologists but is opinion conscious like in an interview with Louise Geissler. Yes well I remember join the school of thought that thinks the human race is as a limited time. I think it's later than we think I'd admit that. But it has great resilience. You know a lot of capacity to adjust itself but I would agree with Harrison Brunn I heard
from Brown is a very able scientist. It was in Washington now and long ago he said that if a real crisis comes and an absolute disaster that those cultures which are in the simpler agrarian state stage would have a much better chance for survival than one that's highly urbanized you know and dependent on elaborate technology like a room as our own is. And I'm inclined to agree with that. What about this increasing population that we are at least hearing a great deal about Paul era like. Dr common or at least to some extent. Are telling us that we are going to have to do something about our population growth. Do you believe that the increasing population just the sheer numbers of Americans particularly. Are endangering our environment. Well I am not doing any good.
We've got to consider the margin of safety yet I suppose although I would like to see our rate of population increase slowed down a great deal I think it I think that it's dangerous to be any biologist would tell you that no form of life that he's ever known anything about can go on multiplying without eventually coming to terms nature has the last word. And we all feel that that's likely to be to regard to human beings it always has in the past. When the country wears out its welcome with. The members who are diminished by means of hunger disease or other means. And I would feel that there is that danger with us but. I wouldn't set any time limit on it I'm awfully glad these men. Who are very very competent scientists brought up about it I'm glad they're getting people stirred up. But I would I don't know enough about
it and I don't think anybody does really say well now we get 10 men and 10 years and then the. Boom will be lowered Well I don't know. Have any kind of guess is that your educated guess is that you would respect. Given any kind of indication of the kind of population the Earth can support. At varying levels of. Standards of living. Well I did a paper some years ago on the relation between numbers and resources. And in it I think I was able to show that. The effect on the environment and pressure on environment is not a simple relationship. Of numbers to space. There is a relation of course. But it. Much depends on your way of life and your values. And we did a tremendous lot of damage to the United States in North America during the 1870s
1980s when we stripped of forests and killed off the bison and exterminated the passenger pigeon and started a lot of euro's news terrible and polluted our streams and then there were a half or a third as many people as there are now less than half as many. And you know a lot of damage a few people. On the other hand you take a densely populated country like some parts of western Europe. Very densely populated and they take pretty good care of their resources. So it varies you see with the values and I wouldn't want to say how many people a country can support in general I'd agree with my. Friends and I do. Yeah well Mr and Mrs Dave wrote a little book called Too many Americans. And they are in their opinion. We've got about more now than we can really take care of. And when you go into the American cities and see what these poor kids what kind of a life they're having no chores nothing to do.
Except raise. Misty if you have a feeling that in some places at least they're certainly far too many and they're too much concentrated. Dr. Sears expressed concern about on environment and the number of people they can sustain within our planet's cycles of life. But accommodating a projected total population capacity for the earth. Is not only a question that can be answered by balancing food production and distribution stacking more and more housing units upon one another. Building more and more schools finding new sources of air and water. Now what is all these things. There are a myriad of other sticky picky petty ordinary everyday problems that must be faced. Take the matter of getting a confused magazine subscription Billings straightened out. Larger populations mean larger subscription less the larger the subscription list the harder it is to communicate with the people in charge and straighten out errors. Growing population also means much more serious problems. How many more people will our world take in terms of sewage treatment food housing. A
great variety of numerical guesses are made. Some say we already have too many people. Some say we could handle 30 million almost 10 times our current world population. Who is right. Well we don't know. To a large measure how many the world can handle is going to be determined by the living standards and individual demands. As reporters on this problem. We can do little to add to this answer ourselves we will therefore turn to two spokesman with opposing views. In speaking before the now famous Northwestern University environmental teach in now to Paul Hare the author of the population bomb. And a population zoologist had this to say. Beginning last century when two million Irish family offering only every. Right next to starvation. All of a sudden there was a screaming revolution from the Western Hemisphere. I was playing solitaire you go right. Towards the middle of nowhere China there were no you know I am
living I want to tell you oh it came a funny little fungus and the potato disappeared and sold it to me. When we die of starvation and two million morrow had to emigrate and now there are four million Irishman living in poverty in Ireland there are many many instances like this. I don't want to bother to recount to one of them what it all boils down to the same thing. Unfortunately we're not the all mouth who's Ian's post was exactly right. It is quite true and importantly true that there are many things that we could do to increase the nutritional level of people around the world aside from going trolling the population we could for instance distribute the food more equitably. We for instance in the over developed countries still steal protein from a protein star. People of the underdeveloped countries we have about the 5 favoring in the protein we take one sixth of the world's fisheries product it would be full of protein starch. We that is the overdevelopment trees and feed it to our pigs and to our pets and so on. There is a
lot we could do to make food. More equitable to increase productivity in some areas and also to avoid losses after food has been harvested no less. There is absolutely nothing we can do which will keep food production with a population of even 3.6 billion people let alone sustain the growth rate which means that we have to feed clothe and house 70 million more people every year that is another United States every three years. Essentially I think we need very very dramatic changes here in the in the rest of the world. And since I'm here I think this is the place to stop this or excuse me. Let me point out a couple of very fundamental things when you talk to people about population. Controlling a certain number of people's minds this means control for somebody else. Oh we're going to have the Indians have fewer kids where the blacks are going to have fewer kids. All the Indonesians are going to have fewer kids because that's where the problem really is. What is the birth of the average
white American child goods roughly 50 times the stress on the environmental systems of this planet. As for the birth of the average child in Calcutta the birth of the average American child was roughly three hundred times the stress on the nonrenewable resources of this planet as the average baby born in Indonesia. Similarly with society the activities of the affluent of the white middle class although their birth rate happens to be slightly lower on the average just like you even say the blacks the activities of the make their population growth much much more serious as far as. The environment of the world the condition of all of humanity is concerned. Those who think that population control consists of passing out condoms in ghettos because that is where it is. If people want for instance the blacks in this country to reproduce at exactly the same rate as the whites they have a very simple mechanism by which they can do it. All you have to do is give the blacks exactly equal opportunities economically
already eth. The thing I want to be done is a very complex execution fundamentally of course we have to institute population control of all that is among our own among the whites in this country and then hopefully among other groups in this country. And we in the United States are finally recognized as economist every economist has pointed out that population growth is a drag in every way that we are far beyond the economies of scale. If we add that extra 500 GNP the president was talking about it will be the last world was GNP ever sees I can assure you that we have to get our population under control and then we have. Not to pull or like sense of urgency is not shared by Dr Julian Simon an
economist on the faculty of the University of Illinois in our banner there I would vote against any United States policy that would coerce people not that children including any taxes on children greater than the social cost of the children. I do record I want to as I do accord the community the right to make such a decision if there's a consensus. I believe however that if people in this country recognize that this decision is a matter of values and if they recognize that science does not prove that we're overpopulated or on the road to overpopulation then people in the US will not choose to grow as members of their own group not to have children. And here we must be where the danger is so that even if people believe that more of their own kind are a good thing then they put their weight behind policies to reduce the birth rate of other groups. The poor are people of other races or people in other countries and there's danger there is no protection that I know of except political action and self defense. All of this does not mean that I am in favor of people having as many babies as physiologically
possible. Another avenue value for me is my belief that it's good for people to be able to decide how to run their own lives as much as possible. And individual self-determination is quite consistent with giving people maximum information about birth control because information increases people's power to have the number of children they want to get what they want. It's also consistent with legal abortion and it's consistent with public health and nutrition measures to keep alive all the children the people wish to bring into the world. I'm unqualifiedly in favor of these policies to increase the individual's power to choose to control the family size he achieves. Furthermore I agree that on balance some countries populations may be growing so fast that a reasonable man might want to slow it down. Now the Indians decide that increased economic Rathore per person is worth the price in slow population growth. When I'm there I applaud most programs that will help them achieve their goals. I especially sympathize with the labeling poor
people to feel that their future and the future of their children will be economically better than their present. It's good to be able to believe that individuals and society have a chance to get ahead economically. The high population growth could frustrate these aspirations and expectations in countries poor countries which would be very cruel disappointment and therefore if people decide that they wish to. In those countries to make the choice in favor of slow population growth so they can have a greater expectation of realizing those aspirations then I'm. That's fine with me. When I'm strongly against however is restaurateurs telling Indians that science proves that fewer Indian births are a good thing unconditionally. That's a lie. That's an abuse of science. Well summarize now. The main drawback of a country either in more developed or less developed. Having more rather than less babies today
is that there be less physical and agricultural capital per worker in the nation near future. This implies lower income per worker. This effect might be reversed in the longer run. If the population increase causes changes in the mode of production and social organization neither natural resource scarcity nor pollution offers any arguing against population growth. I can see. Individuals and societies must decide on the basis of their values whether they wish to have more short run income per person or more people. Science gives no answer to this question. And even more surely there can be no purely scientific warrants for a policy of course and to force people to have small families instead of thinking about the population explosion quotes as a disaster. I like to think about is the triumph of human productive powers have increased to the extent the world can now sustain life for more people than ever before. It seems to me that life is the finest end of life.
Where do Dr Simon's remarks leave us. Will there always be room for more. Well no of course not. If our population does continue to grow as it shows every likelihood of doing there must be an end to that growth sometime. The question is are we at that point now. Have we passed it. Are we approaching it. For an assessment of one aspect of the population growth problem. Or the matter of crowding. Join us next week at this time. You have been listening to one plus one equals three for. Finding. A series of programs about the problems we face because of our growing population. Your host for this program has been Dennis Corrigan. This is the national educational radio network.
One plus one equals three
Episode Number
Always Room For More?
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-r49g8r8r).
No description available
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-5-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “One plus one equals three; 3; Always Room For More?,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “One plus one equals three; 3; Always Room For More?.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: One plus one equals three; 3; Always Room For More?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from