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Page 942-3: A "Planetary Regime" should control the global economy and dictate by force the number of children allowed to be born

Toward a Planetary Regime
Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime?sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment. Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans. The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market.

The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries' shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits. This passage is not particularly noteworthy except for the inclusion of the odd phrase "pronatalist attitude," which Holdren spends much of the book trying to undermine. And what exactly is a "pronatalist attitude"? Basically it means the urge to have children, and to like babies. If only we could suppress people's natural urge to want children and start families, we could solve all our problems!

What's disturbing to me is the incredibly patronizing and culturally imperialist attitude he displays here, basically acting like he has the right to tell every ethnic group in the world that they should allow themselves to go extinct or at least not increase their populations any more. How would we feel if Andaman Islanders showed up on the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. and announced that there were simply too many Americans, and we therefore are commanded to stop breeding immediately? One imagines that the attitude of every ethnic group in the world to John Holdren's proposal would be: Cram it, John. Stop telling us what to do.
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admin  [Jul 16, 2009 at 04:12 AM]