VIEWSn/ -Sx-cM^’r-r^ n/••• ^ < ^ ^ ^ h ‘ ‘ -‘?’ ‘ ^ ^ – ^n/’ I /t/’P’.^ /i*nj>- -iW4ii – J t’i’ ‘nConspicuous Benevolence andnthe Population BombnThe one certain thing about population control is thatnwe do not yet know how to achieve it. That needs a bitnof explaining. If human beings do absolutely nothing aboutncontrolling their populations, nature will do it for us, simplynbecause the world — our wodd — is limited. Sure, a fewnhuman beings might eventually be shipped off to the stars inna spaceship, but this could never be a feasible way in whichnto deal with unhindered population growth. At the presentntime, worid population is increasing by a quarter of a millionnpeople per day. At a cost of tens of millions of dollars pernastral passenger, we will never be rich enough to “solve” thenpopulation problem that way.nNever mind: nature will solve the problem for us. Thenhigh death rate in countries like Ethiopia, the Sudan, andnBangladesh will (if we sit on our hands) ultimately be greatnGarrett Hardin is professor emeritus of human ecology atnthe University of California at Santa Barbara. His latestnbook, The Population Maze, will be published in 1992.n18/CHRONICLESnby Garrett Hardinnnnenough to produce zero population growth (ZPG). Atnpresent, all that nature is producing is misery. Bangladesh,nwith an area the size of Iowa, has a population 38 times asngreat, and each year it adds another lowa’s-worth ofnpopulation. As miserable as conditions are in Bangladeshnnow, they are slated to become worse before ZPG sets in.nThat’s not the kind of population control we are looking for.nSome of the European models appeal to us more. Fromntime to time one country or another has been in thenZPG-mode — for a few years. Hungary. East Germany.nAnd recently, apparently, Italy. How did they manage to donthis? Not by government fiat: the unsought answer was anhousing shortage. A newly married couple moving into antiny apartment with his or her parents was told in nonuncertain terms, No babies! By the time they could get annapartment of their own the most fertile years of married lifenwere past. A housing shortage is a great contraceptive — innEurope. But not, obviously, in most tropical countriesn(whatever the reason).n