~ COULD FAMILY PLANNING CURE TERRORISM ? ~
Edition 7 - March 2008 (Updated 10/28/08)
Prior Editions: Ed. 1 of August 2004 // Ed. 2 of May 2005 // Ed. 3 of November 2005 // Ed. 4 of June 2006 // Ed. 5 of September 2006 // Ed. 6 of August 2007 //
~ TABLE OF CONTENTS ~
Table (1-A) -Effect of Population Growth Rate on the Probability of Civil Conflict
Go to "The Controversy over U.S. Support for International Family Planning: An Analysis"
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Terrorism at the hands of Muslim fundamentalists has its origins in the superposition of the world's highest population growth rate and some of the world's most degraded environments. Economies in which per-capita GDP has fallen 60% during the past two decades cannot afford the cost of the infrastructure growth (44% of GDP) needed to accommodate these high population growth rates. Wretchedness and hope-deprived environments like these offer fertile grounds for fundamentalist clergy with their own religion- and power-oriented agendas. Huge populations of unemployed young men are easily convinced that terrorist training is the only available proxy for the absence of hope. The history of conflict in the Middle East makes matters worse. The only governments that can survive in such environments are brutal, oppressive ones. Religious fundamentalism poses an ever-increasing threat to all governments of the Muslim world. While the West's rage at the "terrorism" (low-capital-intensity warfare) inflicted upon it is understandable, a strategy of military retaliation in this environment offers no potential for positive outcomes, only zero or negative outcomes. If one examines the history of wars over the past century one finds that wars almost invariably arise out of an environment of extreme duress. Arguments and historical evidence are compiled supporting the contention that strategies with more of a "pre-emptive brother's-keeper" orientation aimed at the roots of the duress are more likely to succeed than high-capital-intensity warfare that is ill suited to urban environments. Aiding the Muslim world's growing interest in family planning would have two effects: (1) It would strike directly at the underlying causes of duress out of which "terrorism" arose and (2) It would create a less antagonistic atmosphere in relations between the Muslim world and the West. While the substantial economic and political benefits of such a strategy could take several decades to become evident, the positive effects on Muslim perceptions of Western policies in the Middle East could become apparent far more quickly.
Chapter (1) - INTRODUCTION
[1-A] - Links Among Population Growth, Capital- and Infrastructure Scarcity and Terrorism
[1-B] -Counter-Productivity of a Military Response to Terrorism
[1-C] -The Muslim World Through the Lens of Environmental Determinism Theory
[1-D] -Possibilities for Democracy in the Middle East
[1-E] -Demographic Aggression Along the Muslim World's Periphery
[1-F] -Educating Muslims in an Environment of Infrastructure Deprivation
[1-G] -The Muslim World in an Era of Globalization
The growth in the severity and number of terrorist attacks, worldwide, in recent years has produced responses long on outrage and short on analysis - by victims and terrorists alike. The bulk of the world's supply of terrorist are Muslims, mainly Islamic fundamentalists, and mainly of Middle Eastern origin. Even as early as 1993, the greatest threat of a major war was seen as stemming from a collision of Western arrogance, Muslim intolerance and Sinic assertiveness (93H1). Note the following:
Section [1-A] - The Links Among Population Growth, Capital- and Infrastructure Scarcity, and Terrorism
Economist Lester Thurow (95C1) contends that each 1%/ year in population growth rate requires a capital investment of 12.5% of a nation's GNP (GDP) to expand its infrastructure (educational-, industrial-, commercial-, and transportation- infrastructure, plus housing, land development, utilities, judicial and regulatory systems, etc.). So a population growth rate of 3.5%/ year requires about 44% of GNP in infrastructure expansion costs (developing world class infrastructure in the developing world, developed-world-class infrastructure in the developed world). This is money that few, if any, Muslim nations have. Even Saudi Arabia, with its oil wealth, is running large national deficits and is unable to keep up with the infrastructure needs of its rapidly growing population plus the huge and growing costs of keeping terrorists at bay. This translates into severe shortages of financial capital and a resultant lack of investment in human capital (e.g. education), jobs and hope, among numerous other things necessary for a transition to developed-world status. The U.S. CIA (00C1) concluded that a key driving trend for the Middle East in the next 15 years will be population pressure. They point out that, even now, in nearly all Middle Eastern countries, over half of the population is under age 20. "In much of the Middle East, populations will be significantly larger, poorer, more urban and more disillusioned" (00C1). The CIA report concludes that "linear trend analysis shows little positive change in the region, raising the prospects for increased demographic pressures, social unrest, religious and ideological extremism and terrorism directed both at the regimes and at their Western supporters" (00C1).
Note the huge difference of opinion between the CIA and the President it worked under. The president sees terrorism as a product of "evil" terrorist leaders directing "evil" terrorists, both categories of whom could be eliminated by militarily subduing this "evil." The CIA, on the other hand, sees terrorism as a product of an environment - a product likely to be perpetuated as long as the environmental characteristics of the Middle East continue or worsen. The CIA views (viewed?) terrorism through the lens of environmental determinism theory (See Section (4-A) of Ref. (05S1).). President Reagan renounced environmental determinism around 1980, and this viewpoint has strongly influenced the Republican Party's environmental-, population-, and foreign policies to this day.
James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank during 1996-2005, frequently expressed views similar to those in the CIA study (05G1). He offered apocalyptic views of what would happen if world poverty and the lack of equity and social justice were not urgently addressed, e.g. "Unless we look seriously at the issues of poverty and equity, the chances of stability on our planet are very remote." and "A thousand billion dollars spent annually around the world on military spending (05U1) and around $60 billion on development- and humanitarian aid is a huge imbalance. And we think we are dealing with the issue of peace" (05G1). His suggestion that an environment of ever-increasing poverty and hopelessness breeds terrorism annoyed many, including President George W. Bush who nixed a third 5-year term for Wolfensohn (05G1). This was in spite of the fact that views similar to those of Wolfensohn and the CIA have been expressed by UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, by Egyptian President, Hosmi Mubarak, and by Pakistan's President, General Pervez Musharraf (See below).
A study by Population Action International (04P1) has made the relationship between population growth rate and the probability of civil conflict fairly quantitative. The results of their study are summarized below. These data appear to be consistent with environmental determinism theory.
Births per 1000 per year
Probability of Conflict*
*Likelihood of an outbreak of a civil conflict in a given decade
Section [1-B] - Counter-productivity of a Military Response to Terrorism
The more the West engages in military reprisals against terrorism the more wretched, hopeless and disillusioned Muslims become. Also the greater the risks are for the already scarce critical resource: capital of all types. The strategy of military reprisals is apparently to force wretched, disillusioned, mostly young folk without hope to whimper less noticeably and submit passively to their plight. But the real result is frequently to increase the number of people willing to train for, and engage in, suicidal attacks and other acts of terrorism. The West does not realize that, in the present Middle Eastern environment, the sole source of hope for many young Muslims is acts of terrorism. Environmental determinism theory would suggest that only strategies that provide alternative sources of hope have any chance of success. Both East and West need to consider the inefficiency and counter-productivity of their respective strategies and search for alternate strategies, ideally strategies that get at the roots of the problem. Former US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky stated at a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conference (http://csis.org/schollchair/020212.htm) that "history gives us absolutely no confidence that either a politics-only approach to Middle East peace or a military-only approach to terrorism is going to work." General Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan's president) said on a BBC News interview of 12/6/04 that:
President Musharraf is apparently another believer in environmental determinism theory.
Section [1-C] - The Muslim World through the Lens of Environmental Determinism Theory
Environmental (material) determinism theory (See Section (4-A) in a companion document (05S1)) predicts what the CIA study (00C1) predicts. As per-capita infrastructure shrinks and as financial capital grows ever scarcer, life becomes more wretched and cheap; the struggle for resources and existence becomes more desperate, vicious and bloody. This produces civil unrest and warfare among tribal, ethnic and religious groupings. This makes the environment less safe for financial capital, making already severe shortages of financial capital and human capital even worse. The losers in these struggles for resources, e.g. women, are reduced to little short of domestic animal status. Minorities are subject to persecution or worse. Governments, facing increasingly angry populaces and increasingly severe shortages of funds, find government increasingly hard to administer. As a result, only brutal dictators, or the equivalent warlords and theocracies, can maintain their hold on power for long (since any other law-enforcement strategy is far too expensive in capital-starved environments). Warlordism in Afghanistan created the environment that set the stage for the Taliban theocracy. That theocracy, in turn, provided an environment where training camps for terrorists could proliferate. One reason why Islamic fundamentalism is rising throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world is the social services, medical care and religious education that hard-line Islamic groups provide as alternatives to failed services of failed states (03I1). In essence, this fundamentalism is growing by filling vacuums caused by high population growth rates and the resultant dire shortages of financial capital. The tragedy is that many Muslims don't realize that these high population growth rates were largely created by the restraints on family planning imposed by the more fundamentalism-oriented Islamic fundamentalist clerics, e.g. no tubal ligation and no vasectomies. Fortunately the percentage of fundamentalist clergy taking hard-line approaches to family planning is dropping. The approval (and use) of modern contraceptives and family planning among Muslim laity is rising (08S1).
Section [1-D] -
The Possibilities for Democracy in the Middle East
In environments characterizing the bulk of the Muslim world, only the naďve and gullible could believe that democracy could work. Islamic parties, grouped under the Muslim Brotherhood, are the only force with the organization, capability and ambition to take power if democracy were to become a reality in virtually any nation of the Arab world (03I1). The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in the 1930s, helped to give birth to every Muslim radical movement from Osama bin Laden's al Qaida to the Palestinian's Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon's Hezbola (03I1). Thus any attempt at democracy would likely lead to one-time elections and triumphs for radical Islamists. It happened in Algeria in 1992, forcing the army there to void the election results and to resume its dictatorial rule. The resultant civil war there claimed more than 100,000 lives (03I1). Turkey, too, has had to use its army to avoid becoming a theocracy. It is becoming increasingly likely that the current attempt at democracy in Iraq will meet a similar fate. The only semblance of a democracy in the Arab world is in Egypt and Mali. But Egypt's democracy has a long way to go to rise to the standards of the developed world (04S1). Even then, Egypt must struggle to keep Islamic extremists at bay. Were it not for massive US aid that is used to subsidize food for Egypt's growing masses, it seems unlikely that democracy could survive for long. (Mali's situation appears to be unique to Mali (04T1).) It is ironic that the US chose to take out one of the few large Middle Eastern nations that was relatively immune from the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. Those who contend that Western values will prevail through all of this should note that the a review of 100 comparative studies of values in different societies concluded, "The values that are most important in the West are least important worldwide (89T1)." Environmental determinism theory would predict this. Modern democratic government originated in the West. When it has developed in non-Western societies it has usually been the product of Western colonialism or imposition (93H1).
Section [1-E] -
Demographic Aggression along the Muslim World's Periphery
High population growth rates in the Muslim world (with its 1.3 billion Muslims) threaten not only the stability of that world but also peace and stability in adjacent nations. The Muslim world's high population growth rates are giving rise to "demographic aggression," and this is producing conflicts all along the border between the Muslim- and non-Muslim worlds. "Islam has bloody borders (93H1)." Examples include Lebanon, Albania, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Serbia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Chechnya, Dagestan, the Caucasus, Pakistan, India, Burma, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Eritrea/ Ethiopia, Sudan and other northeast African countries, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Algeria. For those who dream of peace in Israel and Palestine, note that Israel's surface waters have been reduced to dirty trickles, and its aquifers are shrinking so badly that seawater is intruding. (3% seawater ruins an aquifer.) The population growth rate in the Palestinian territories is larger than of virtually every other Muslim nation in the Middle East - around 4%/ year. It is inconceivable that the Israelis could raise their water allocations to the Palestinians at anything like this rate. Thus Palestinian wretchedness and hopelessness must continually increase, regardless of any peace settlement, and the frequency of terrorist acts can hardly do anything but reflect that growth in wretchedness and hope deprivation. Gaza has essentially no surface waters, and its aquifers are being subject to draw-down and seawater intrusions that are even more extreme (05U2). It could be said that Israel is not doing anything to the Palestinians that Palestinian Mullahs (with their edicts against family planning) are not also doing.
Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" (93H1) provides a wealth of insights into conflicts along the borders between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Huntington predicted in the early 1990s that the "fault lines" between civilizations would be the battle lines of the future. A large majority of modern-day conflicts appear to bear him out. Huntington sees the centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam as unlikely to decline, and suggests that it could become more virulent (93H1). Even France faces the possibility of a Muslim majority. Muslims are streaming into England at every opportunity. Throughout nearly all of Western Europe, social-, economic-, and political instabilities are being generated by small but growing populations of Muslims who either aren't interested in assimilating, or are not being allowed to assimilate - depending on who you listen to. US Muslims now constitute a recognized voting block. The US INS is so under-funded and under-staffed that US borders are all but transparent to terrorists.
Section [1-F] -
Educating Muslims in an Environment of Infrastructure Deprivation
Islamic fundamentalist clergy find disillusioned Middle Eastern youth easy prey for the theological- and power-oriented agendas of the clergy. The clergy preempt what little financial capital is available for education and limit education mainly to memorizing the Koran. The US even supports such schools, e.g. a $100 million donation to Pakistan's education system, including its religious schools (madrases). The majority of Pakistan's 10,000 or so madrases are believed to have little vocational value, and many are aligned with holy warriors and sectarian parties (03U1). All this makes the already severe scarcity of economically productive human capital even scarcer, creating further downward cycles of poverty, wretchedness, hope deprivation, civil unrest, conflict etc. Who else would volunteer to become a suicide bomber but someone caught up in a society that sees the present filled with wretchedness and the future devoid of hope? Pakistan is short of educational infrastructure and lacks as many as 60,000 middle schools. The average Pakistani boy completes 5 years of schooling, the average girl 2.5 years (03U1). Pakistan's female literacy rate is 42%.
Section [1-G] -
The Muslim World in an Era of Globalization
In the last two decades, the Middle East's share of world trade has fallen from 13.5% in 1980, to less than 3.4% in 2000. GDP among Muslim countries dropped 25% during that time. Since the population about doubled in that 20-year period, per-capita GDP has fallen by over 60%. Being starved for financial capital and human capital in a world full of surplus unskilled labor and undergoing globalization is an especially difficult position to be in. Human capital grows even scarcer; political-, social- and economic instabilities get even worse; education degrades in quality, financial capital grows less safe, and capital-starved production facilities become even less competitive in world markets. The resulting situation is preyed upon by Islamic fundamentalists who promote terrorism as a proxy for religious warfare, sop up scarce financial capital for religious structures and personnel, focus education on memorizing the Koran, limit educational and economic opportunities for women and oppose family planning. All this make financial capital and human capital even scarcer.
Because of the lack of human capital and low quality of education, technological spillovers arising from foreign direct investment are much harder for the Arab world to come by. These spillovers are not yet visible in the Arab world (02E2). The well-known lacks of public institutions, physical infrastructure and human resource development, high business costs of corruption and far less safety for financial capital in the Arab world make it far less attractive to foreign investors. As a result, foreign investors demand far more in other terms (subsidies, freedom to repatriate investments, relaxed local content requirements etc.) Yet lowering the Arab world's high tariffs pose far greater threats to under-capitalized Arab industries. Thus globalization poses greater threats in terms of bankrupting local industries and thereby eliminating the scarce financial capital these represent. Poverty and instability also make privatization processes far less appealing to foreign investors. It has become clear to Arab leaders that all the Arab world has to offer foreign investors is cheap, unskilled labor. This is easy to see from the fact that the bulk of what little foreign direct investment there is in the Arab world is directed predominantly to petroleum-related and other natural resource activities (02E2). This translates into subsistence wages, limited opportunities for human capital formation, and little by way of technological spillover. This tells Arab leaders that globalization provides little in terms of prospects for eventually creating strong internal economies independent of export-related activities. This perspective keeps foreign direct investment out of the Arab world, compounding the negative effects of the severe financial capital scarcity of the region. All this more sharply defines the divide between the West and the Middle East.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Go to the top of Chapter (1) -Introduction
Go to the top of Section [1-G] - " The Muslim World in an Era of Globalization"
Go to the top of Section [1-F] - " Educating Muslims in an Environment of Infrastructure Deprivation"
Go to the top of Section [1-E] - " Demographic Aggression along the Muslim World's Periphery"
Go to the top of Section [1-D] - " Possibilities for Democracy in the Middle East"
Go to the top of Section [1-C] - " The Muslim World through the Lens of Environmental Determinism Theory"
Go to the top of Section [1-B] - " Counter-productivity of a Military Response to Terrorism"
Chapter (2) - STRATEGIC ERRORS
The Military Option: In environments such as those described above, the futility of responding to terrorism by military-based crackdowns should be apparent. Such responses only enhance the levels of wretchedness and hope deprivation, increase the supply and dedication of terrorists, and build upon the already negative feelings those in the Muslim world have for the West in general and the US in particular. Particularly absurd is the choice of Iraq for military attack. Probably no other major nation in the Middle East had a lower risk of being taken over by Islamic fundamentalists and their terroristic inclinations. This was widely recognized by the West in the early 1990s when an invasion of Iraq was cut short to enable Iraq to defend itself from neighbor Iran, ruled by Islamic fundamentalists. Even before that, the West supplied Iraq with arms in its war with fundamentalist Iran. Since that time, Islamic fundamentalism has only gotten stronger. Today it poses a significant threat to virtually every nation in the Middle East and North Africa that Islamic fundamentalists do not already control. Even today, the risks of Iraq becoming a theocracy run by Islamic fundamentalists, if not by Iran's fundamentalist government, are hard to ignore.
Choosing Outcomes: Virtually no basis exists for the usually stated "Exit Strategy" of creating a democracy in Iraq and possibly even in the Middle East. Call this the "Positive" Outcome. As the analysis above makes clear, the chances of a democracy developing in the region are near zero. The invasion of Iraq has only reduced those chances. There appear to be only two possible outcomes of the present conflict in Iraq after the US leaves:
The political strategy in the US now appears to be to delay the growing public realization that the "Zero" or "Negative" Outcomes are the only options. One problem with this strategy is the growing public realization that a "Positive" Outcome is inconceivable. Prolonging a bloody and expensive conflict for primarily political ends thus becomes increasingly difficult from a political standpoint.
Urban Warfare: Current difficulties with maintaining security in Iraq are easy to understand. A RAND study of the effects of demographic factors on national security (00N1) provides ample evidence of the strong effect of demographic changes on military security and conflicts. Demographic changes (mainly urbanization) are changing the nature of armed conflict globally. Conflicts are increasingly likely to be in urban settings where the US military's technological advantages in long-range precision fires and information processing are largely nullified by restrictions on movement, short lines of sight, the presence of civilians, and the inability to distinguish friend from foe. The devastating effects of the battle of Grozny on Russia provide a chilling picture of what developed nations will face increasingly often (00N1). One strategy for postponing the realization that a "Zero"- or "Negative" Outcome (defined above) are the only possible end-results of the US invasion/ occupation of Iraq is to contend that an Iraqi "police force" is being trained and armed to maintain order and stability after the US departs. Saddam Hussein maintained order and stability only by a reign of terror. It is hard to believe that the US-trained police force could ever accomplish this same mission without this same strategy (the "Zero" Outcome). The US, with its 100,000+ troops and massive, expensive, technologically sophisticated weaponry, is unable to maintain order and stability for reasons the RAND study (00N1) made clear - US weaponry is virtually worthless in urban environments, US armed personnel are instantly recognizable, while their opponents are virtually invisible. All this points to a "Negative" Outcome to the Iraqi conflict once US troops depart. Why a "Zero" Outcome (the best possible option) might become more likely by prolonging the US occupation is far from clear.
Lessons from Afghanistan: The de facto return of Afghanistan to the warlords is also making the possibility of a "Positive" Outcome there increasingly remote. Public realization of this is also growing. Recall that it was a warlord-dominated environment that set up Afghanistan for a takeover by Taliban fundamentalists with inclinations toward terrorism. An article in New Internationalist Magazine ("Afghanistan: Rule of the Rapists, 2/12/04), summarized here, makes the Afghanistan failure clear. In Afghanistan the transitional administration, led by President Hamid Karzai, has proved unable to protect women. (From 1992 to 2001 Afghan women were treated as cattle by (Taliban) fundamentalists.) The risk of rape and sexual violence is still high. Forced marriage of girl children and violence against women are widespread. Girls and women in some cities go to school and have jobs but this is not the case in most parts of Afghanistan. In the province of Herat, the warlord imposes Taliban-like decrees. Many women have no access to education, are banned from working in foreign offices, and hardly any women work in government offices. Women cannot take a taxi or walk unless accompanied by a close male relative. If seen with men who are not close relatives, women can be arrested and forced to undergo an examination to see if they have recently had sexual intercourse. Even in Kabul, women do not feel safe and continue to wear the burka. In some areas parents are afraid to allow their daughters to get educated following the burning down of several dozen girls' schools. Sexual assaults on children of both sexes are commonplace. Women cannot find jobs, and girls' schools lack basic materials. There is no legal protection for women. There are complaints that money given to the women's ministry has been taken by warlords in the Karzai cabinet. Bringing the warlords back to power has replaced one fundamentalist regime with another. The US supports the Northern Alliance, which was responsible for killing more than 50,000 civilians during its rule. Those in power today were those who imposed anti-women restrictions and started a reign of terror throughout Afghanistan. Neither opium cultivation nor Warlordism and terrorism have been uprooted. President Karzai is the nominal head of a regime in which former Northern Alliance commanders hold the real power. In such a climate, elections will give legitimacy to the Northern Alliance and its bloody rule. A CIA study covering more than 50 years reported that the Number One predictor of a country's instability was its infant mortality rate. Afghanistan's infant mortality rate is 154/ 1000 births, nearly three times higher than the worldwide rate of 56/1000 (DallasNews.com (11/04/01)).
Defense Strategy: One possible reason for the military response to terrorism is the unstated realization that a purely defensive strategy for combating terrorism is unworkable in the long term, and hopelessly expensive. Imagine defending
This is physically impossible on a round-the-clock and perpetual basis. Even controlling the entry of terrorists into the US is impossible. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants enter the US every year without detection. This is not to say there is no point in trying a defensive strategy against terrorism - only that even a mediocre "batting average" with such a strategy is impossible. It would appear then that both anti-terrorist strategies - a military offense and a domestic defense - are either counterproductive or border on the unworkable, at least in the long term.
A Four-Step Approach to Terrorism: What should have been done was to settle on the root causes of terrorism early on, and to take steps to nip these root-causes in the bud. Since this was not done, all that seems possible now is to belatedly:
Losses while root causes are eliminated will just have to be chalked up to a failure to keep ahead of the game in terms of root causes. Hopefully these will inspire badly needed critiques. Below, the first, second and fourth of the above four steps are elaborated upon. The third step is well under way and receiving broad public attention. It is the remaining steps that have been essentially ignored by nearly everyone, including the media, political parties and national leadership.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Go to the top of Chapter (2) - Strategic Errors
Chapter (3) - UNDERSTANDING ROOT CAUSES OF TERRORISM
The Links: The analysis the root causes of terrorism was laid out generally in the introduction of this document. The analysis can be summarized as follows (starting from the basics and working upward to terrorism).
Making Muslims Richer: It seems clear that the effects of reducing population growth rates in the Muslim world (the world's highest such rates) could work their way down the above list of causes/ effects and impact the supply and motivation of terrorists. "Population momentum" effects might require a generation or more for this. But this is not necessarily so. Once there is broad recognition that things are headed in the right direction, hopes for the future grow. Also, the fact that the West would be playing a "brother's keeper" role in trying to make Muslims richer and renouncing the strategy of taking revenge militarily could change attitudes toward the West fairly quickly. In Iran, where a crash program in population-growth-rate reduction was instituted over a decade ago, the increased quality of life gave Iranian lifestyles a decidedly Western character. It also produced a public opinion with a decidedly pro-Western-anti-fundamentalist-clergy outlook. Today Iran's fundamentalist clergy are forced to rule Iran at gunpoint - a precarious hold on power. Population momentum effects have only begun to die out in Iran, but the desired end effects are already visible. All that is required of the West is that it aid the Muslim world in following in Iran's footsteps. Once the average Muslim realizes that the Muslim world's wretchedness, feelings of hope-deprivation, military feebleness etc. are direct consequences of the extreme financial capital deprivation caused by the dictates of fundamentalist clergy against modern contraception, family planning, tubal ligation, vasectomies, etc. the politics of the region could change dramatically over a far shorter time-frame.
Carrying Capacity Issues Could be Overcome: It is also clear that the badly degraded croplands, irrigation systems, grazing lands, forests, surface waters and ground waters of the Arab world cannot support the present populations of these lands. Reviews (07S4), (07S5), (07S6), (07S7) of the global literature, some 900 pages in total hardcopy length, on the degradation of the world's croplands, irrigation systems, grazing lands and forests, plus an analysis of the sustainability of the world's outputs of food, wood and freshwater (08S2), provide ample data on this point. However it is probably not necessary to bring the population of the Muslim world and the carrying capacity of Muslim lands into balance before the rate of creation of terrorists can be significantly reduced. The carrying capacity of the land in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong also cannot support the current populations. But active family planning programs beginning in the 1960s enabled these nations to develop the financial capital and human capital sufficient to create dynamic, technically advanced industries that enabled them to sell manufactured goods on the world market in return for food and fiber and thereby change from developing nations to, or nearly to, developed nations in terms of wages, etc. The Muslim world could, with very little help, follow in the footsteps of these five nations. (See Section (4-C) and Ref. (08S1)) As population growth rates fall, personal wealth and well-being increase. This decreases the cost of containing instabilities, allowing more oil revenues to be spent on human capital development and industrial development. This oil advantage could produce a climate unsuitable for terrorist development far faster than from a purely family-planning approach in the Middle East.
Alternative Understandings of the Root Causes of Terrorism: No one should stoop to simplistic "good vs. evil" explanations of terrorism. Nor should anyone attribute terrorism to "bad leadership" in the nations from which terrorists seem to originate. Thus issue was examined in great detail in this paper's companion document (05S1). There it was shown that "bad leadership" is an effect of the wretchedness that is borne of the financial capital starvation that is caused by population growth. (The common misconception is that "bad leadership" is the cause of this wretchedness.) However other cause-effect analyses do need to be taken seriously. Perhaps the most comprehensive examination of these analyses was done by Milanovic (05M2).
Milanovic examined the various theories as to why the poorest countries are failing to catch up, economically, with the rest of the world -which is what some current theories of the effects of globalization say should be happening. In fact, the poorest countries have been falling further behind the middle-income and rich countries. The median per-capita growth of the poorest countries during the past 20 years has been zero. Milanovic examined the following popular possible explanations of this:
The first three of these explanations were shown to offer no statistically significant explanation for why the poorest countries have been failing to catch up with the rest of the world during 1980-2002. The main reason for this failure was found to be the fourth explanation - involvement in wars and civil conflicts (05M2).
What Milanovic failed to do was to consider population growth rates as a fifth possible explanation for the failure of the poorest countries to catch up with the rest of the world economically. Nor did he examine what possible effect population growth rates may have played in the greater likelihood of poor countries being involved in wars and civil conflicts. Had he done this, he would have noted that the region of the world with the highest population growth rate (the Muslim world) was the scene of the overwhelming bulk of the world's wars and internal conflicts. He would also have noted that the region of the world with the second highest population growth rate (Africa) was the scene of the bulk of the remaining wars and internal conflicts. His conclusion would then have almost certainly have been that wars and civil conflicts are the main reason why the poorest countries are falling further and further behind the rest of the world (as he did conclude) but also that population growth was the primary cause of these wars and civil conflicts (which he did not do because he failed to consider that possibility). Milanovic's conclusion about wars and internal conflicts is virtually useless in terms of devising strategies for addressing the problem. On the other hand, a conclusion as to the effects of population growth rate could have led to a number of inexpensive and effective strategies for solving the economic problems of the world's poorest countries.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Go to top of Chapter (3) - Understanding Root Causes of Terrorism
Chapter (4) - ELIMINATING ROOT CAUSES OF TERRORISM
[4-A] - Changing Views in the Muslim World toward Family Planning,
[4-B] - Contrasting the Views of the New World and the Old,
[4-C] - A "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" Strategy,
Section [4-A] - The Muslim World's Changing Views toward Family Planning and Contraception --
The contents of this Section [4-A] are now contained in a separate document (08S1) with the same title as above.
To go to that document click here.
Section [4-B] - Contrasting the Views of the New World and the Old
The New World View: The evidence given in Ref. (08S1) suggests that the old Islamic clerical view that contraception is immoral is now in a state of rapid decline within the Muslim laity, and even among Islamic clergy. Islamic clergy (at least in Iran) once considered population growth to be good, i.e. essential for building the "Armies of Islam". But it is becoming clear that the amount of cannon fodder a nation can field is less important to military prowess than the amount of financial capital available for investing in sophisticated military technology, so population growth (and its resultant need for infrastructure capital) is more likely to weaken a nation militarily than to strengthen it. The reversal of ideologies seems to be spreading slowly among Islamic clerics. Perhaps they realize that the laity could conclude that the wretchedness, social-, economic-, political-, and military instability (and military weakness) they have endured for centuries are consequences of the personal wealth- and power-related agendas of the clergy instead of being solely the fault of the West. Were that to happen, the politics of the Middle East could undergo major changes, and fundamentalist mullahs (which tend to be active recruiters of terrorists) could be in trouble.
Christian clergy once held the same negative views on contraception and family planning as many fundamentalist Islamic clerics hold now. However those views died out among the Protestant clergy over four decades ago (at least in the U.S.). Catholic laity now have views and practices on contraception and family planning that are almost identical to those of Protestants. However it may take a few new popes before the Catholic clergy come to the same view (86M1). The reason why the ideology reversal occurred sooner among Christians is probably because Christianity occupied the world's newer, more temperate, and hence less degraded and more fertile lands. Thus the Christian laity was wealthier. As a result, the clergy had less power over them, forcing the clergy to fall in line with the views of the laity sooner.
The devastating effects of population growth on living standards, financial capital creation, human capital creation, and natural capital are becoming broadly recognized worldwide. At the first world population conference in 1974, African nations saw international family planning as a sinister plot by the West to keep Africa weak. Over the next two decades, African nations did a complete about-face and now actively support international family planning programs. The Far East and Europe have been active supporters and practitioners of family planning since the mid-20th century. The tide is turning. In the last hundred years, no nation on Earth has moved from the poor- and less developed status to prosperous and developed nation status until it reduced its total fertility rate to 2.3 (97P1).
The Old World View: Perhaps the last holdouts unable to recognize the negative aspects of population growth are the Vatican and the Republican Party leadership in the US. President Reagan renounced environmental determinism theory in the early 1980s. As a result, President Reagan stated, at the 1984 Second UN International Conference on Population in Mexico City, that population growth is a "neutral" phenomenon (01N1). To the extent that population growth could be considered a problem, "market forces" would solve that problem. These same views and resulting policies have persisted within much of the Republican Party to this day. All Republican presidents since Reagan have stated this same view, and their population-, environmental-, and foreign policies have reflected this. All this raises an interesting question. Could resistance to expanded support for family planning in the Middle East come more from Washington than from the Middle East itself? Arguments disputing the Republican ideology are given in a companion document (05S1).
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Section [4-C] - A "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" Strategy
Supporting family planning in the Middle East could be the most effective strategy for reducing or eliminating terrorism. It gets directly at the roots of terrorism and allows for the accumulation of financial capital and human capital, both of which are essential if the Muslim nations of the Middle East are to achieve developed world status. Military measures only make matters worse in terms of increasing wretchedness, hope deprivation, risks to capital, and increasing levels of social-, economic-, political- and military instability. Recent experiences in Iraq and Palestine show this clearly. Also family planning is much cheaper than military action, and it's getting cheaper as technology advances, e.g. quinacrine sterilization that is expected to reduce the cost of female sterilization (the world's most popular form of contraception) by 90% (06I1) (07S2). Also it holds the potential for greatly improving relations between the Middle East and the West - and doing so quickly. An analysis of the financial benefits to both the Middle East and the Western world is available in a companion document (Section [5-A] of Ref. (05S1)). That analysis shows that investing in family planning would be a profit-making venture, not an expense, for both East and West.
Family planning reduces the huge costs of creating the infrastructure needed to accommodate population growth. This, in turn, reduces the huge shortages of financial capital and human capital that currently prevents the Middle East and the rest of the developing world from achieving developed world status. These capital shortages are what ultimately cause the wretchedness and hope deprivation that creates a willingness to engage in terrorism. In addition, improved relations between the Middle East and West could produce major added benefits for both. Serving a "pre-emptive brother's keeper" role in making Muslims prosperous cannot help but enhance the image of the West in the Middle East, besides expanding markets for Western goods and services. Also "image" effects work rapidly, while clearly identifiable economic benefits would take over a decade. Improved East-West relations would also make the Middle East safer for financial capital, resulting in additional financial benefits for both East and West. Perhaps most important of all, at least in the long run, would be the slowing or reversing the degradation of the natural capital of the Middle East, i. e. its croplands, forests, grazing lands, irrigation systems and fisheries.
Some may be quick to point out that causing the Middle East (or any other part of the developing world for that matter) to prosper increases demands for energy and other natural resources, with obvious effects on prices. However this eventuality is bound to happen anyway, since nearly the entire developing world now has falling fertility rates (07S2) and understands the link between capital scarcity and population growth. By assisting developing world governments and NGOs in their family planning programs, the developed world increases the rate at which total fertility rates decline. This reduces the eventual population levels at which populations stabilize, and this reduces the rate of natural capital degradation and depletion. This is the only real solution to the problem - bite the bullet and proceed quickly to not only slow population growth but also to reduce steady-state human populations. This is something that now lies within the realm of the possible now that the cost of averting births has dropped to such low values (05S1) (07S3).
Others may point out that helping the Muslim World to prosper also helps it to increase its military might, given that the capital-intensiveness of military power has grown far greater than its labor-intensiveness. But making Muslim nation economies more capital-intensive causes them to see greater risks in engaging in warfare. As nations grow richer there appears to be a natural tendency to become less warlike. All the nations that have graduated from developing world status to developed-world status during the past century are now militarily benign. Wars tend to be fought over resources (common sources of the problems that create states of extreme duress that provide the environments from which wars are precipitated. The richer a nation (i.e. the more capital-intensive its economy is) the less desperate it is for resources (since it can more easily afford to simply buy them on the open market) and the greater the risks to its huge capital infrastructure associated with going to war.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Return to the top of Chapter (4) -- "Eliminating Root Causes of Terrorism"
Return to the top of Section [4-B] - "Contrasting the Views of the New World and the Old".
Return to the top of Section [4-C] - "A Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Chapter (5) - A CRITIQUE OF THE "BROTHER'S KEEPER" STRATEGY
[5-A] -The Political Environment,
[5-B] -Faulty Views and Ideologies,
- - - - [B1] Cornucopian Ideology,
- - - - [B2] The "Bad Leader/Bad Government" Ideology,
- - - - [B3] Misapplication of Adam Smith Economics to the Real World,
- - - - [B4] Environmental Determinism Theory
[5-C] -The "Brother's Keeper" Strategy in Perspective,
- - - - [C1] Testing "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper,"
- - - - [C2] Incompetent Brothers' Keepers,
- - - - [C3] Worse than Incompetent? ,
- - - - [C4] "Informalization" of the Developing World's Work Force,
- - - - [C5] Religion and "Pre-emptive Brothers' Keepers" - The Changing Landscape,
[5-D] -Where a "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy" Might have Produced Better Outcomes,
- - - - [D1] The Developing World Generally,
- - - - [D2] The Gaza Strip,
- - - - [D3] Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Rwanda,
- - - - [D4] Communist Insurgencies,
- - - - [D5] Class Warfare in Latin America,
- - - - [D6] Russia,
- - - - [D7] The First Half of the 20th Century,
- - - - [D8] China's Demographic Aggression,
- - - - [D9] Poor U.S. Women,
- - - - [D10] Nepal,
- - - - [D11] Peace-Keeping and Emergency Aid,
- - - - [D12] The Middle East,
- - - - [D13]~ The Rural-to-Urban Migration and the Informal Economy in Developing Nations
[5-E] -The "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" Strategy's Potential
Section [5-A] - The Political Environment
Acts of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists seem unlikely to diminish over time under the current US strategy (as pointed out by numerous friends of the US noted above). Mistakes in responding to terrorism could wind up putting fundamentalist mullahs and Islamic extremists in control of the entire Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, creating problems for the West that are far more difficult and serious than those the West faces today. So US responses to terrorism ought to be critiqued to determine if future responses could be made more effective and less error-prone. Previous sections of this document have pointed out some of these mistakes and have pointed to a better strategy. Sections below elaborate on the strategy. However, any national strategy for responding to terrorism must pass through the political process, so any critique must examine this process to identify political constraints on strategies for dealing with terrorism.
Fruitless and counter-productive strategies of recent years should perhaps have been expected, given the knee-jerk rage, devoid of logic, analysis and coherence that consumed the national psyche early on. It is so easy to blame the present Executive branch and its advisors and leaders within the president's party in the Legislative branch. But the mood of the times demanded military action. Anything else would have been seen as weak and indecisive. But at least some evidence of logic, analysis, and a coherent strategy should be in evidence by now, over six years after 9/11/01. Aside from deck-chair rearrangement (e.g. a "Homeland Security" agency), reports of information-flow problems within national security agencies (which have been known and on-going for decades), and pious but absurd hopes of establishing democracy in Iraq and the Middle East (where a suitable environment for democracy is a long way from becoming a reality) no significant departures from strategies born of knee-jerk rage are yet in evidence.
The time delay problem appears to be a result of the fact that the US is trapped in a de facto war that has no exit strategy that would not reveal the pointlessness and counter-productivity of continuing the war after no evidence of weapons of mass destruction could be found. The real political errors were made years earlier however. Anti-US sentiments have been growing in the Middle East for decades. The 60% drop in per-capita GDP during 1980-2000 in a region of rapid population growth and badly degraded natural capital should have set off alarm bells somewhere. That did not happen, except for some CIA and RAND reports (00C1) (00N1) that ran afoul of Republican ideology. US humanitarian- and development foreign aid has been largely focused on trying to accommodate population growth rather than to reduce it. The fruitlessness of this approach (throwing $60 billion/ year at a $1200 billion/ year problem) has led to the tragic conclusion that such foreign aid should be reduced rather than being better-focused. The process of reducing foreign aid has been ongoing since about the mid-1990s.
In recent decades the ills of the developing world have been increasingly attributed to "bad leaders" or "bad government." This view has justified reduced foreign aid, reduced aid for international family planning, and applying more military-oriented responses to those developing world problems that appear to threaten the national interests. Iraq is but one of a number of possible examples. Sections [4-A], [4-B] and [5-B] of a companion document (05S1) argue the case against the "bad-leader-bad-government" hypotheses in considerable detail. This argument is also briefly summarized below. All responses to the bad-leader-bad-government theory have turned out to be counter-productive. The situation was made even worse by the Reagan administration's cornucopian theories and arguments that population-related problems, if any, could be handled via free-market mechanisms. These theories have persisted within the Republican Party to this day, and have never been challenged directly by the Democratic Party. These elements of the public mindset and the resulting political environment have produced a nation incapable of any sound understanding of the problems of the developing world, and this has produced increasingly isolationist attitudes. All this should be seen as at least an unindicted co-conspirator in the events of 9/11/01.
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Return to the top of Chapter (5) "A Critique of the Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Section [5-B] - Faulty Views and Ideologies
[5B1] Cornucopian Ideology,
[5B2] The "Bad Leader/Bad Government" Ideology,
[5B3] Misapplication of Adam Smith Economics to the Real World,
[5B4] Environmental Determinism Theory
Here we examine the faulty views and ideologies of the Reagan administration and subsequent Republican presidents that lie at the heart of the errors in responding to terrorism. In a companion document (05S1), Sections [4-A], [4-B] and [5-B] examine these views and ideologies in greater detail. Below is a summary.
Part [5B1] - Cornucopian Ideology: In the early 1980s the Reagan administration argued that the scale of natural systems is vastly greater than the scale of human activity. This renunciation of environmental determinism theory implies that human activity cannot significantly degrade natural systems and thus that concerns over over-population are baseless. This Cornucopian viewpoint provided the basis of Republican Party foreign policies, environmental policies, and population policies to this day. This view is also is a necessary prop for the post-Carter Republican view that population is a "neutral" issue, and that any problems related to population could (would) be solved with market forces. The view also requires a second theory that attributes the problems of the developing world to "bad leadership." Such an theory would argue that merely removing Saddam Hussein would delight Iraqis, cause the US military to be welcomed in Iraq with open arms, and cause democracy to bloom forth with little guidance from the West. The Cornucopian ideology is also needed to refute any connection between high population growth rates in the environmentally degraded Arab world and the willingness of Muslims to volunteer for suicidal terrorist attacks. This produces the view, frequently stated or implied by all post-Carter Republican presidents, that terrorism is simply an "evil" without rational or physical basis.
A massive body of scientific and technical literature refutes Cornucopian ideology. The key facts, figures and summaries of arguments and analyses contained in a small portion of this scientific and technical literature are briefly summarized in five reviews of the global literature on the degradation of croplands (07S4), forestlands (07S7) (07S7), grazing lands (07S6), irrigated lands (07S5) and fisheries (07S8) totaling about 900 pages in hardcopy units. In addition, an analysis of the sustainability of the world's outputs of food, wood and freshwater has also been done (08S2). Also, a recent type of analysis computes the ecological "footprint" of Man - the average amount of productive land and shallow sea appropriated by each person for food, water, housing, energy, transportation, commerce and waste absorption. The current world population, living at the current standard of living, has a total footprint of about the Earth's total area of productive land and shallow sea (02W1) - not a very small fraction of this area as the Cornucopian ideology suggests (07S9). Another type of analysis computes what fraction of terrestrial Net Primary Production (NPP) (the known rate of photosynthesis on Earth) is consumed directly or co-opted because of human activity (86V1). After correcting for some errors (07S9), this analysis computes that about 90% of terrestrial NPP is consumed directly or co-opted by human activity - not a small fraction of NPP as the Cornucopian ideology contends.
Part [5B2] - The "Bad Leader/ Bad Government" Ideology: Post-Carter Republican presidents had to explain the problems of the developing world as simply a matter of bad leadership and/or bad government. This enables them to refute arguments that over-population and/or population growth may explain the problems of the developing world. (See Section [4-A] of a companion document (05S1)) This is one of the arguments that enable them to oppose, or reduce, US support for international family planning. The ideology also enables them to blame Iraq's ills on Saddam Hussein instead of problems with population growth and natural capital degradation. This makes democracy sound like a real possibility for Iraq, making it easier to justify invading Iraq. The CIA obviously attaches far greater importance to population issues as the cause of the problems of the Middle East (00C1), but the second Bush administration apparently ignored this warning, like it ignored the CIA's warning that the US would not be welcomed in Iraq with open arms. The ills of the developing world have also been attributed to over-population and population growth by such entities as the World Bank, the RAND Corporation (98B3), (00A1), (00N1), (00U1), the National Security Agency, numerous government agencies of developed and developing nations, about 70% of the American people (See Appendix B of a companion document (05S1)), an even larger fraction of the rest of the developed world, and probably a larger fraction of non-governmental organizations globally.
Attributing the ills of the developing world to bad leadership or bad government is confusing cause and effect. It is the ills of the developing world that make government increasingly difficult to both administer and finance and hence "bad". Arguments for this are given in much greater detail in a companion document (05S1) in Sections [4-A] and [4-B]. Among the numerous arguments there:
Part [5B3] - Misapplication of Adam Smith Economics to the Real World: President Reagan stated, at the 1984 Second UN International Conference on Population in Mexico City, that population growth is a "neutral" phenomenon (01N1). "To the extent that population growth could be considered a problem, "market forces" would solve that problem." These same views and resulting policies have persisted within much of the Republican Party to this day. Relying on free-market economics in general has been a fundamental principal of the Republican Party for decades. The problem is that this idealization is only applicable to a market in which all "externalities" have been "internalized", i.e. all government- and public subsidies have been eliminated and willing buyers and willing sellers negotiate at arms-length. Only then does a free market have any potential for maximizing economic efficiency. The problem is that the real world economy and environment is full of subsidies - government and public. In such situations, blindly applying free market economics leads to absurd results. In many cases free market approaches would not even pass muster within the Republican Party. In international family planning and other population-related issues, conditions for a free market are rarely encountered. Declaring that, if any of the Middle East's problems are population-related, they can be solved with a free market approach is a grotesque absurdity. More details on the free market issue and examples of non-internalized externalities are given in Section [4-B] of a companion document (05S1).
Part [5B4] - Environmental Determinism Theory: The linkage (See Section [C-3] ) between population-related problems in the Middle East and an environment conducive to creating terrorists is one application of environmental determinism theory. The theory is described in Section [4-A] of a companion document (05S1). Anthropologists (77H1) find that material determinism theory offers explanations for a large range of evolutionary changes in human culture - the structures, traditions, and policies of family-, social-, economic-, religious-, and political units. This theory says that evolutionary changes in human cultures reflect, primarily, adaptations to changing forms and degrees of environmental stress. While few people are familiar with the theory, indirect evidence indicates that something on the order of 70% of Americans would find agreement with the theory (See Appendix B of a companion document (05S1)) and probably a far larger fraction of those outside the US would agree with it. The Cornucopian belief that natural systems are vastly larger than human systems would suggest that environmental determinism theory is applicable to nothing and explains nothing. The long-term Republican belief in the "bad government" theory of the developing world's ills has obviously met dead-ends in Afghanistan and Iraq if not also Palestine, as well it should, being wrong. The current administration's simplistic explanation of terrorist acts as "evil" has gut-level appeal. Also it gets around having to delve into environmental determinism theory (or anything else) to understand the origins and root causes of terrorism in order to develop effective strategies for responding to it. The public reaction to the events of 9/11/01 was one of rage, so war was the obvious choice of responses. This may have been good politics but it is unlikely to set the stage for getting at the heart of the problem and developing effective strategies for reducing terrorism.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Return to the top of Chapter (5) - "A Critique of the Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Return to the top of Section [5-B] - "Faulty Views and Ideologies".
Section [5-C] - The "Brother's Keeper" Strategy in Perspective
[5C1] Testing "Brother's Keeper,"
[5C2] Incompetent Brothers' Keepers,
[5C3] Worse than Incompetent? ,
[5C4] "Informalization" of the Developing World's Work Force,
[5C5] Religion and "Brothers' Keepers" - The Changing Landscape
The response to terrorism proposed in Section [4-C] involves assisting governments and NGOs in the Middle East in their active, on-going efforts at promoting family planning in order to hasten the trends in family planning already evident there - and to earn the good will of the Muslim world. As Section [4-C] (bottom) notes, the sizeable economic benefits to the Middle East in terms of greatly reducing the shortages of financial and human capital could take a decade or more to become evident. However the resultant change in Middle East attitudes toward the developed world could reduce interest in terrorism faster. The present image of the US is one of a powerful world leader with a strategy of attempting to beat the Muslims of the Middle East into submission by force of arms so they won't dare be a party to terrorism and, instead, submit passively to ever-deeper levels of wretchedness and hope deprivation. Experiences thus far in Afghanistan and Iraq, if not also Palestine, demonstrate that this strategy is not likely to work, and is more likely to be counter-productive. An alternative strategy of helping Middle Easterners to prosper and to be more hopeful carries with it improved East-West relations. It might appropriately be called a "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategy. It would also benefit the Middle East by making the region safer for, and more attractive to, foreign direct investments, further reducing the severe shortage of the crucial resource - capital of all types.
Some may think of the "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" strategy as a sort of novel, untried approach to conflict resolution. This is not the case. Environmental conflict resolution has been studied extensively. It has been found that the basis for all effective conflict prevention is deeply rooted in approaches that detect potential conflicts in their early stages and that take action early-on to address the root causes of the conflict long before tempers flare, positions harden, and acts of violence and armed conflicts occur. That strategy even has a name - "Upstream Environmental Conflict Resolution" (03O1) (06H1). Those two attributes characterize all of the examples (See Section [5-D] below.) of what "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategies might have accomplished in terms of eliminating or reducing conflicts. Even courses in management training argue that good managers ought to address conflicts within their area of responsibility in depth, head-on and early-on. In the case of terrorism, how "in-depth" is it to conclude that acts of terrorism are nothing but acts of "evil?" How "head-on" is it to take out a government with few, if any, clear links to terrorism? And how "early-on" are many years of awareness of the growing antagonism of Middle East Muslims toward the West before undertaking any sort of response?
Part [5C1] - Testing "Brother's Keeper": One is tempted to examine "pre-emptive brother's keeper"-type strategies of the past to determine how well they have worked. The problem is that there have been so few of them. The Marshall Plan following WWII is perhaps the most noteworthy example of such a strategy. It is generally believed to have been extremely successful. Other examples might include the developed world's programs of loans and development- and humanitarian aid to developing nations over the past four or so decades. These have gotten mixed reviews. Much of the developing world is now saddled with huge loan repayments that many could wind up defaulting on. These repayments are also causing extreme economic hardship that may more than offset the benefits from what the loans were invested in. Much doubt has been expressed, particularly in the US, that development- and humanitarian aid to developing nations has done any significant good. This, plus the erroneous belief that "bad government" is the cause of the ills of the developing world, is perhaps why the amount of development- and humanitarian aid given by the US has been dropping over the past decade.
Part [5C2] - Incompetent Brothers' Keepers: Before one concludes that the developed world's programs of loans and development- and humanitarian aid are examples of "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategies gone awry, these programs need to be examined to make sure the "brother's keeper" was/ is not guilty of mismanagement. Developed nations have been handing out about $60 billion per year in development- and humanitarian aid to the developing world in the most recent decade. But the problems this aid was meant to address have been largely those associated with accommodating the infrastructure- and other needs required by the developing world's 1.3%/ year population growth. These needs total about $1200 billion per year for the developing world as a whole (05S1). Those who wonder out loud why development and humanitarian aid doesn't seem to be working need only compare $60 billion to $1200 billion to understand why. Had the aid been focused upon slowing the rate of population growth instead of accommodating it, the analysis in Section [5-A] of a companion document (05S1) suggests that this aid would have been extremely successful. Some numbers: The global population growth rate is about 78 million per year, almost entirely in the developing world. The cost of averting a birth through a family-planning/ maternal-health-care approach is roughly $60. The cost of averting one birth via a purely family planning (contraception) approach is a fraction of $60. The cost of averting a birth via "social-content documentary drama" (soap opera) broadcasts via radio or TV in developing nations is something on the order of $10 (05S1). The cost of averting a birth via quinacrine sterilization is on the order of $3 (07S2). (The cost of averting a case of AIDS by this strategy is a few dollars.) So the cost of stopping population growth in the developing world ranges from about $0.8 to $8 billion/ year, depending on the strategy chosen. Had the $60 billion/ year in foreign aid been allocated 90% to infrastructure development and 10% to birth aversion (instead of spending 97% on accommodating population growth and 3% on slowing it), the $60 billion/ year foreign aid program would have been heralded as an unqualified success since it would have freed the developing world of a burden of $1200 billion/ year in actual and foregone infrastructure expansion costs. Much of the aid and loans to developing nations went to current consumption, e.g. food, bus rides and corruption. No competent banker would lend money for current consumption. Clearly, declaring the developed world's "brother's keeper" loan/ aid programs to be failures is not fair. Had the developed world managed these loan/ aid programs competently they would have been extremely successful.
Part [5C3] - Worse than Incompetent? In recent years several analyses have appeared that compile evidence for their conclusion that US foreign loan policies were not well-intended errors that just were not up to the tasks they were expected to address. Instead they were deliberate strategies aimed mainly at benefiting the US to the detriment of developing nations - a sort-of Robin-Hood-in-reverse strategy. See a book by John Perkins (04P2) and an analysis by George Monbiot (05M1). The resultant wretchedness, hate and resentment generated in parts of the developing world could have contributed to the terrorism inflicted on the West over the past decade or more.
The IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) used the leverage they had via their loans to developing nations and globalization treaties to impose some extreme hardships on developing nations. They forced developing nations to devalue currencies, privatize state infrastructure and services, remove import controls and food subsidies, charge consumers the full cost of health- and education services and generally downsize the public sector. All this was designed to make these economies more "efficient" and thereby enhance the economic well being of the citizenry involved. These imposed policies are often collectively termed "Structural Adjustment Programs - SAPs. Some nations (e.g. Chile, China, Viet Nam) were able to avoid serious harm by instituting policies that ran counter to the "free trade" spirit and intent of globalization treaties and to the demands of the IMF et al. Other nations were devastated. (See Section [4-C] of Ref. (07S9).) It is interesting to note that protectionist tariffs and subsidies were the mechanisms used by today's wealthy nations to climb from agriculture-based economies to economies based on urban, high-value goods and services (03C1). The UN's major study of urbanization (03U2) concluded that the main single cause of increases in poverty and inequality in developing nations during the 1980s and 1990s was the "retreat" of the state (i.e. privatization). The middle class disappeared, and the brain drain to oil-rich Arab countries and to the West increased dramatically (95B1). In Africa, SAPs resulted in capital flight, collapse of manufactures, marginal or negative increases in export income, drastic cutbacks in public services, soaring prices, and steep declines in real wages (97R1). SAPs devastated rural smallholders by eliminating government subsidies and pushing them into global commodity markets that were dominated by First World agribusinesses (which were/are often subsidized by developed-world governments) (00B1). Developing world economies tend to be predominantly (e.g. 70%) agriculture-based. Hence, during the past few decades, SAPs were one of the causes of mass migrations to the wretched slums that ring nearly all large urban areas in developing nations. (See data below.) It is interesting to note that in South America during 1970-1990, food supplies per capita increased by almost 8%; yet the number of hungry people increased by 19%. In South Asia during 1970-1990, food supplies per capita increased by 9%; yet the number of hungry people also increased by 9% (00R1). In contrast, China (not affected by SAPs), the number of hungry people dropped from 406 million to 189 million during 1970-1990. (00R1).
It might not have been so bad had some efficiencies actually been produced. But privatization was frequently accomplished by selling off state-owned industries to people who were well-connected politically. They frequently became billionaires as a result of their ownership of a monopoly. Carlos Slim, owner of Mexico's Telmex, is the world's richest man ($59 billion). Mexicans pay well above average for landline, cellphone and Internet access. Numerous other Mexican industries have also become monopolies, with similar effects of consumers (07P1).
Some Data on the Scale and Trends for Slums Ringing large Urban Areas in the Developing World:
One should hasten to note that the developing world's subsidies of food, education, health-care, utilities, etc. were financed largely by borrowing from external sources. Hence they were not sustainable and were bound to collapse anyway. The real mistake was that the IMF, World Bank and WTO viewed these subsidies as "bad economics" caused by "bad government" (at least according to one author of Reference (03U2)). They therefore concluded that, by removing these subsidies, developing world economies would become more "efficient." This, they allegedly believed, would improve the lives of developing world folk. The real cause of the external loans and the subsidies they financed was the extreme capital scarcity cause by the costs of infrastructure growth necessitated by population growth. So it would have been just as hard for developing world folk to pay the unsubsidized cost of food, health care, education and utilities as to repay their massive external debts. Both options were impossible, so SAPs and trade liberalization simply bought the non-sustainability issue to a head sooner, but otherwise accomplished nothing for those nations having nothing to offer the global marketplace but unskilled labor.
Numerous experts knew that "bad governments" were only marginally relevant, and that the demands of population growth were both the main culprit and the cause of "bad government." Billions of people have been paying a terrible price over the past two decades for this largely ideology-based error. What is even more tragic is that population growth and the bulk of the resultant developing world ills could have been greatly reduced by relatively insignificant investments in contraception, family planning, and the marketing of the virtues of small families etc. Substitution of ideology for analysis has almost certainly contributed significantly to environments dominated by wretchedness and hope deprivation - environments where terrorists are easy to recruit. The actions by the IMF, World Bank and WTO, assuming they were well-intended, have got to be the worst and farthest reaching blunder by a "brother's keeper" ever committed.
Part [5C4] - "Informalization" of the Developing World's Work Force: This is not the first time a brother's keeper-related blunder of such an extreme magnitude has been committed. During the late Victorian globalization (1870-1900) a huge number of subsistence peasantries of Asia and Africa were forcibly incorporated into the world marketplace. Millions died of famine, and tens of millions more were uprooted from traditional lifestyles. Latin America saw the creation of a huge class of increasingly wretched semi-peasants and farm laborers who lacked any sort of secure means of subsistence (01D2). The major UN study of urbanization (03U2) concluded that, in modern times, instead of becoming a source for growth and prosperity, SAPs and trade liberalization (globalization) have caused cities of the developing world to become "dumping grounds" for surplus populations working in unskilled, unprotected, and low-wage "informal" service industries and trades. The huge growth of this "informal" labor sector was concluded to be a direct result of trade liberalization (globalization) (p. 40 and 46 of Ref. (03U2)). This global informal working class is now almost one billion strong: making it the fastest growing and most unprecedented social class on earth. According to the UN study of urbanization (03U2), "informal" workers are now about 40% of the economically active population of the developing world. (Labor laws and standards do not protect members of the informal labor force.) In Latin America, both state employees and the more formal work force have declined in every country of the region since the 1970s. At the same time, the "informal" sector of the economy has dramatically expanded (03P1). If someone is looking for a cause of the leftward drift of Latin American politics in recent years, they might want to ponder the effects of the growth of the informal sector there. The huge contacts to sell oil and other natural resources of Latin America to China portend significant effects on the US. An inexpensive pre-emptive brother's keeper approach to US relations with Latin America might have avoided all this.
The UN study of urbanization (03U2) estimates that 90% of urban Africa's new jobs over the next decade will come from the "informal" sector. This same study cites research finding that "informal" economic activity now accounts for 33-40% of urban employment in Asia, 60-75% in Central America and 60% in Africa. Incomes generated from informal enterprises usually cannot support even a minimum living standard. Informal enterprises involve little capital investment, virtually no skills training, and few opportunities for expansion into a viable business since the needs of bare subsistence require any capital that is created.
As the world becomes more urbanized, the "informal" sector of the developing world's economy continually increases in size. At the same time, this same urbanization process causes the West's sophisticated military weaponry to grow increasingly useless. The net result is that the expensiveness and riskiness of military strategies continually increase, and all those with real or imagined grievances against the West see it as growing increasingly vulnerable.
Almost half of the world's population works in "informal economies." These people generally lack birth certificates, legal addresses or, crucially, deeds to their shacks and market stalls. Without legal documents, they live in constant fear of being evicted by local officials or landlords. As a result, the poor are unable to invest in, or even plan for, their future. In many countries, 80% of homes and businesses are "unregistered", while about a third of the developing world's GDP is generated in the informal economy. Would-be entrepreneurs in developing countries attempting to move out of the informal economy often face a tangle of bureaucratic requirements and high fees that discourage them from seeking legal status - or make such a move impossible. As a result, these small-scale business people can't obtain legal loans, enforce contracts, or develop their businesses beyond a narrow sphere (07A1). A far more detailed analysis of the "informal economy" of the developing world is found in Ref. (08S3) on this website.
Part [5C5] - Religion and "Brothers' Keepers" - The Changing Landscape: Even the more established Christian religions might want to take note of the growth of the "informal" sector of economic activity in the developing world. Christianity and Islam got their start by providing social welfare services during a millennium when "safety net" was an unknown concept. Modern-day fundamentalist Christian churches have, to a significant degree, forgotten their early, brother's-keeper-oriented roots, despite the admonitions of over 2000 verses in the bible. Latin America's Catholic church seems more concerned about the welfare of the quasi-feudal landlords than the region's wretched, hope-deprived peasantry and squatters. The more fundamentalist and evangelical churches in the US seem more concerned about issues such as the legitimacy of gays and family planning - issues their Bible scarcely mentions. Perhaps, as a result of this trend, a relatively new Protestant Christian denomination, Pentecostalism, has evolved. Pentecostalism has been growing into the largest self-organized movement of urban poor people on the planet - the "informal" work force. Its appeal comes from people helping each other survive in the lowest economic levels of the developing world where even the median income is barely at subsistence level. According to Wagner (97W2) "In all of human history, no other non-political, non-militaristic, voluntary human movement has grown as rapidly as the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement in the last 20 years." Pentecostalism has grown to include 25% of Christians worldwide -about 0.5 billion people (06G1). "Renewalists" (an umbrella term covering Pentecostalists and Charismatics) now comprise 49% of the population of Brazil, 30% of Chile, 60% of Guatemala, 56% of Kenya, 26% of Nigeria, 34% of South Africa, 44% of the Philippines, and 5% of India (06G1).
The growing popularity of groupings like Pentecostalism is just a reflection of what people do naturally as their situations grow more wretched and more hope-deprived - they seek out groupings of similarly situated people in hopes of bettering their condition and gaining the strength in numbers that they need for redressing their real or imagined grievances. In essence, they resort, out of desperation, to a "brother's keeper" strategy. The informal economy of the developing world appears to be destined to grow to on the order of two-thirds of the developing world's economy (08S3). As that happens it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the real or imagined grievances of those people being forced to remain in the informal economy. Such a large domain of extreme duress represents a significant danger to the remainder of the developing world's economy. A strategy of beating these wretched and hope-deprived people into submission in the apparent expectation that they will submit more passively to their ever-worsening condition is probably not going to work. A pre-emptive brother's keeper is likely to work far better and cost a lot less.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Return to the top of Chapter 5 - "Critique of the Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Return to the top of Section [5-B] - "Faulty Views and Ideologies".
Return to the top of Section [5-C] - "The Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy in Perspective."
Section [5-D] - Where "Brother's Keeper" Might have Produced better Outcomes
[5D1]~ The Developing World Generally, [5D2]~ The Gaza Strip,
[5D3]~ Africa - Land of Opportunities, [5D4]~ Communist Insurgencies,
[5D5]~ Class Warfare in Latin America, [5D6]~ Russia,
[5D7]~ The First Half of the 20th Century, [5D8]~ China's Demographic Aggression,
[5D9]~ Poor U.S. Women, [5D10]~ Nepal,
[5D11]~ Peace-Keeping and Emergency Aid, [5D12]~ The Middle East,
[5D13]~ The Rural-to-Urban Migration and the Informal Economy in Developing Nations
Finding other examples of past "brother's keeper" strategies and evaluating the results is difficult because of a shortage of such examples, good or bad. The only alternative is to seek out examples of situations where "brother's keeper" strategies were not used but where the known circumstances would allow a comparison with the more brutal, indifferent, and revengeful strategies that were used. Below are some examples.
Part [5D1] - The Developing World Generally:
A number nations have made the transition from developing nation to developed nation or nearly so. These include South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong (98B3), Tunisia (03N1), Barbados and the Bahamas (04R1). They all made the transition during aggressive efforts to reduce birth rates (98B3) (03N1) (04R1). It has also been found that, in the last hundred years, no nation on Earth has moved from developing status to developed status until it reduced its total fertility rate to 2.3 (97P1). All this would suggest that all the developed world needs to do to eliminate the
that characterizes the developing world is to help that world achieve total fertility rates of something around replacement level, or even a little above that. This effort need not be a slow or expensive process. Research at the University of Sao Paulo Brazil studying TV-Globo's "telenovelas" and their impact, found that telenovelas have been the principle force driving Brazil's total fertility rate down from 3.4 in 1989 to 2.3 in 1996 (97P1). Telenovelas (or "social content serial dramas" or "soap operas" as you prefer) cost only a few dollars per birth averted - a small fraction of the cost of averting a birth by any other means, except possibly quinacrine sterilization (07S2). The humanitarian and development aid that the developed world gives to developing nations is largely (97%) devoted to the hopeless task of accommodating population growth and only minimally (3%) on reducing population growth. Diverting just a small fraction of population-growth-accommodation funds to population-growth reduction could go a long way toward eliminating the ills mentioned above. Yet trends in US foreign policy, and even World Bank policy, in recent decades have been in the opposite direction.
The Middle East has the world's highest rate of unemployment. Africa has the world's second-highest rate of unemployment (10.9% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 10.4% in North Africa). These data do not include the large numbers of working poor ("informal" labor) and those who have given up trying to find employment and are therefore not counted (05A1). Note the correlation: The Middle East, besides having the world's highest rate of unemployment, also has the world's highest rate of population growth, and the largest portion of the world's armed conflicts. Africa, besides having the world's second-highest unemployment rate, also has the world's second-highest rate of population growth and the world's second-largest portion of armed conflicts. All this is not coincidence. High population growth rates result in a dire scarcity of financial capital since any financial capital creation is absorbed in the costs of the infrastructure needed to accommodate population growth. The scarcity of financial capital translates into scarcities of transportation systems, communication systems, electric power systems, human capital and sound legal systems - all of which are essential for attracting capital from external sources. The lack of capital, external or internal, thus translates into a lack of jobs, which translates into high unemployment rates. The resultant desperate poverty produces desperate struggles for the basic necessities. Desperate folk soon develop organized groups centered on common religions, tribes, ethnicities, etc. to further their pursuit of necessities by increasingly bloody means. The result is high levels of armed conflict and decreasing levels of safety for capital investments of all types. Could all this be prevented by a brothers' keeper approach, i.e. by small investments in family planning services in Africa? Results from Tunisia strongly suggest it could. (See Section [4-A] .) It is also interesting to note that during the past 6 years, the number of African nations in conflict fell from 13 to 5 (06W1). Africa's population growth rate has also been dropping during this period. Africa's per-capita GDP has been rising by 1.5%/ year during this period (05A1). However this has had no effect on African standards of living (05A1) for reasons that are explained elsewhere in this document. It is also instructive to note that, of the 41 countries designated as "heavily indebted poor countries" by the World Bank, 39 fall into the category of high-fertility nations, where women, on average, bear four or more children. Similarly, the 48 countries identified by the UN as "least developed" are expected to triple their population by 2050 (02H1).
Part [5D2] - The Gaza Strip:
Gaza receives an annual average of 33 cm. of rainfall, 117 million m3/ year. Much of this is lost to evaporation, so the sustainable productivity of Gaza's aquifers is around 65 million m3/ year (05U2). Ref. (05U2) tallies the inputs to, and outputs from, Gaza's aquifers. This data (from 1995) is obsolete, given the huge population growth rate in Gaza (about the highest in the Muslim world). If the return flows and abstraction rates are corrected to an estimated 50% population growth since 1995, the drop in groundwater table would, in 2005, be 74 million m3/ year (vs. 2 million m3 in 1995) assuming no increase in brackish water inflow. Such drops in the groundwater table suggest significant increases in brackish water inflow, which endanger the integrity of the aquifer (See below). The population of Gaza is expected to nearly double between 2000 and 2020.
Ground water in Gaza, (sustainable productivity: 65 million m3/ year) is Gaza's only source for fresh water. At present, more than 100 million m3/ year are pumped from these aquifers. This is resulting in the invasion of seawater into Gaza Strip aquifers. Many hydrologists believe that the Gaza Strip aquifers have already passed the point of no return (05U2). Tests show increased salinity levels to, in some cases, greater than 1500 p.p.m. of chloride, making the water unsuitable for drinking (1993 data). Salt levels today must be much higher.
Contemplate now the proposed peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians in the light of the above. Within a decade or so, Gaza's only water supply will be too salty for human consumption or even irrigation. Do the Israelis really believe that, after the peace treaty goes into effect, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are going to die by the thousands from salt-water ingestion without putting up some sort of struggle? Do the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip really believe that a program of terrorism has any conceivable hope of solving their water supply problems? Israel is certain to have serious water problems by then also. Instead of dealing in mindless, visionless, callously indifferent, unworkable peace treaties, would it not be better for the Israelis and Palestinians to face the fundamental problem together in a Brother's Keeper mode and figure out some way of financing and developing a program of family planning that could bring Gaza's population down to a level that is in harmony with its aquifers? Not just the water problems could be solved. The problem of infrastructure funding could also be solved, enabling Palestinians to develop the human capital they need to contribute something other than unskilled labor to a global marketplace that suffers from a glut of such labor.
Part [5D3] - Africa - Land of Opportunities:
In the formative years of Zimbabwe, for whatever reasons, white farmers got all the level, bottom-land farmlands, while black Africans got steep, rocky hillsides to farm - where extreme erosion rates on low-grade, highly erodible tropical soils severely limit cropland lifetimes. Considering Zimbabwe's high population growth rate and badly degraded environments, the hunger and the recent bloody conflicts over croplands were easily predictable. And it is far from clear that any government, however capable, could have prevented the bloodletting. When black farmers recently (2003-04) took over the better farms of deposed (shot?) white farmers, they lacked the capital and know-how for capital-intensive agriculture. The result: even more hunger, starvation and a counterproductive prohibition against owning land. An aggressive family planning program early on could have provided some, if not most, of the financial capital to black farmers that would have enabled them to develop the human capital needed to get non-agricultural jobs in urban areas. Instead, their only option was/is to migrate to the huge, wretched slums ringing essentially all of the large urban areas in the developing world. There the only option is the informal economy.
African soils are, by nature, poor in terms of both organic matter and nutrients. Food production per capita has been dropping in Africa since the 1970s. (Foreign food donations cover only 20% of the food deficit (02K1) and one third of the 590 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are chronically undernourished.) Yet, inorganic fertilizer consumption in Africa is less than virtually anywhere else in the world. In the 1990s, inorganic fertilizer consumption in China was 240 kg./ ha/ year, 110 in India, but about 8 in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, some Sub-Saharan African soils have nutrient losses exceeding 60 kg./ha/ year of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (02F1). Essentially, Africans are mining the minerals in their croplands, virtually insuring a continuation of falling food production per capita (and per acre). The reason for this is that inorganic fertilizer prices in Sub-Saharan Africa are six times greater than in Asia, Europe and North America. On the basis of hours of labor to purchase a tonne of fertilizer, that factor of six increased to roughly 60. The low investment in transportation infrastructure is the cause of much of the problem. Much of Africa has less than 10% of the road density of India or China (02F1). These infrastructure problems result from a shortage of financial capital. This can be traced to high population growth rates (2.5%/ year in Africa) that create huge demands for infrastructural capital that is needed to accommodate this high rate of population growth.
Sub-Saharan African farm soils are also poor in organic matter, but African farmers cannot raise livestock (manure source) because of high population pressures on the land. Also, instead of putting manure and crop residue into soils, people must burn them for fuel because they cannot afford to import fossil fuels - yet another consequence of population pressures (02F1). Shortage of organic matter in soils reduces drought resistance and increases inorganic fertilizer runoff. For this and other reasons, low organic matter worsens the economics of inorganic (inorganic) fertilizer consumption (02F1). Shortages of organic matter and nutrients also greatly reduce the efficiency of water use, making the economics of irrigation marginal (02F1). So in theory, there is still much untapped potential for inorganic fertilizers in Sub-Saharan Africa. But the reason it remains untapped is high population growth rates that require huge amounts of financial capital to pay for the infrastructure growth needed to accommodate that population growth.
Norman E. Borlaug contends that Africa's grain productivity could be doubled or tripled in three years (02K1) - probably through increased consumption of chemical fertilizers and increased use of genetically improved crops that increased fertilizer consumption allows. Africa's present food deficit, plus its expected population doubling over the next 3-4 decades, demands at least a tripling. Borlaug seems to be suggesting that African farmers should stop being so dumb and import more fertilizer - at a price about 60 times greater (in tons per hour of labor). Borlaug should perhaps first ask American farmers how much inorganic fertilizer they would use if the price increased by a factor of 60. The only workable approach is to reduce population growth rates so that financial capital supplies can be increased, enabling improved and expanded transportation infrastructure to be built. A slight shift in the way developed-world development- and humanitarian foreign aid is allocated would do the trick.
In Ethiopia, foreign lenders' emphasis on miracle strains of grains and obliviousness to the cost of getting food to market via inadequate transportation infrastructure has resulted in agricultural price collapses in good years and food shortages in bad years (03T1). The result: croplands lay idle while millions starve because farming has become a money-losing business in both good crop-years and bad. These are just a few reasons why Africa is unique in that food production per capita has been falling for over three decades. This is probably one reason for the social-, political-, economic-, and military instability (and the high frequency of civil conflicts) in Africa. Misallocation of financial capital and the lack of financial capital as a result of high population growth rates lie at the bottom of all this too. Inept brother's keepers cause those in the developed world to question the value of foreign aid, resulting in a downward spiral that would be so easy to reverse if the brothers' keepers could just get their acts together and stop blaming African farmers for the incompetence of others.
The latest (1994) of several genocides in Rwanda claimed over 900,000 people - 14% of Rwanda's population. The overwhelming majority of them were Tutsis, but in northwestern Rwanda at least 5% of the residents were slaughtered even though there were no Tutsis. Rwanda contained 2040 people per square mile, twice the population density of the Netherlands (a nation that has far better soils, far more fertilizer, and far greater ability to import food). The average Rwandan farmer worked 0.07 acre of land with agricultural practices not far removed from those of the Stone Age. Much of this cropland is on highly erodible, rocky hillsides because that is all that is left. Rwandan farmers could not afford organic or inorganic fertilizer for the same reasons as those mentioned above. By 1990, 40% of Rwanda's population was living on less than 1600 calories per day - famine level. A team of Belgian economists concluded that the outbreak of fighting "provided a unique opportunity to settle scores or reshuffle land properties, even among Hutus." It is not rare to hear Rwandans argue that the war was necessary to wipe out an excess population and bring numbers in line with the available land resources (04D1). The developed world could easily have gotten itself entangled in a messy peacekeeping operation. It would have been far less risky and far cheaper and far better for everyone if the developed world could have taken on a pre-emptive brother's keeper role early on and provided family-planning programs as soon as the natural resource issues became obvious. Also - better late than never.
Part [5D4] - Communist Insurgencies:
A problem with a context similar to that in Zimbabwe (noted above) also occurred in the post-World War II Philippines. This led, in the 1980s, to groups like the Marxist New People's Army that threatened US interests (00N1). Many communist insurgencies in Latin America in recent decades are probably of the same or similar origins:
More recently, many left-leaning Latin American governments (2004-2006) were voted into office by popular elections. These events appear to have their origin in public outrage over what the voters see as wretchedness created as a result of trade agreements, i.e. globalization and expansion of the informal economy (08S3). The fact that this trend is so widespread suggests that the cause is also widespread - as would be the case if globalization and the "Structural Adjustment Programs" (SAPs) were at the roots of the voters' outrage.
Agricultural/ fisheries conversions throughout the developing world is reducing the need for agricultural and fisheries labor by on the order of 90% or more. In the developing world where such a huge fraction of labor is agricultural, this is a change with huge repercussions. The result has been mass migration to two destinations:
This has produced wretchedness, hope deprivation and social-, political- and economic instability, terrorism, right-wing death squads and the like. It seems like only a matter of time before this situation causes the wretched, hopeless masses to follow in the footsteps of those of like circumstances in the Muslim world. In fact, terrorism has been commonplace in nations like Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela and several Central American countries. In other nations, stability is being maintained only by oppressive left-wing (e.g. Cuba) and right-wing (e.g. Chile) governments. Nipping the problem in the bud with aggressive family planning programs like those in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore could create the financial capital needed to generate the human capital needed to facilitate the necessary migration to paying jobs in urban environments. This strategy would cost far less and pay huge dividends relative to the current strategy of callous indifference, benign neglect, and military aid to wealthy landowners, their death squads, and the governments sympathetic with them.
A long-term Maoist insurgency has been growing increasingly active in a region extending from the southern tip of India northeast into Nepal (06S1). The backdrop is all too familiar (See the list above.) except for one terrible twist (See below). This insurgency seems to be escalating from terrorism to civil war, especially in Nepal (06S1) where 92% of urban Nepalese live in slums (03G1). Fighting has cost many thousands of lives and required financial expenditures that badly drain local governments and cost upper-caste landlords dearly for private militias (06S1). It now seems that the Maoists may pose as great a challenge to India's economic health as the far more talked-about Islamist insurgency in disputed Kashmir (06S1). Most of the Indian economy is thriving, meaning that if the Maoists could acquire the job skills (human capital) they could get reasonably good jobs elsewhere in India. All this would suggest that this is a perfect locale for an active family planning program that would make financial capital available for investment in human capital that could eliminate the wretchedness, hope deprivation and malnutrition that produced the insurgency several decades ago, and that continues to lie at the heart of the insurgency's sustainability.
A grotesque dysfunctionality in India's agricultural system is probably a major cause of India's Maoist insurgency. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other lenders have been forcing the Indian government to reduce wheat-consumption subsidies for India's poor (02W2). However India's powerful farm lobby has been persuading the government to increase wheat production subsidies by buying wheat at ever-increasing prices. The results of subsidizing production, while removing subsidies for consumption, should have been immediately obvious: increasing production, decreasing consumption, falling water tables, depleting soils, rotting wheat, hunger, starvation and wheat storage costs that exceed the amount the Indian government spends on agriculture, rural development, irrigation and flood control -combined (02W2). Half of India's children are malnourished; 350 million Indians go to bed hungry, and pockets of starvation-deaths surface regularly (02W2). India's rotting wheat surpluses (53 million tonnes per year) could significantly reduce, or eliminate, these hunger/ starvation problems. The inability of India's poor to purchase grain at artificially high prices probably stems largely from the glut of unskilled labor. These gluts, in turn, come from India's high population growth rate and the huge capital/ infrastructure costs of financing this growth (including education - human capital creation). Public education in India exists in name only. Private schools (infrastructure) are the only way of avoiding illiteracy - an option than many cannot afford.
India's Maoist-inspired terrorism and (more recently) civil war might never have happened were the insurgents not so malnourished. Pressures by the World Bank, the IMF and others to eliminate subsidies on food are a common component of the SAPs mentioned at the end of Section [5-C]. At the same time, developing world agriculture is increasingly being taken over by multi-national agribusinesses with ever-increasing amounts of political muscle. So one should watch carefully for a replication of India's problems with insurgencies throughout the developing world. The growth in the number of democratically elected, but left-leaning governments in Latin America might be a good place to look. In the short run, the answer to India's problem is to eliminate subsidies on both production and consumption - or subsidize them both. In the long run, reducing India's population growth rate and probably even its population is the only way to deal with insurgency issues, not to mention soil-erosion issues, aquifer-draw-down issues, overgrazing issues, deforestation issues, over-fishing issues, irrigation-system salinization issues, cropland urbanization issues, and numerous others.
Part [5D5] - Class warfare in Latin America:
Class struggles have been on-going for centuries in Latin America. The result has been high risks for capital investments, unemployment, death squads, torture chambers, communist- and left-wing insurgencies, quasi-feudalism, violence, civil war, poverty, illiteracy, social-, political- and economic instability, land confiscation (by rich and poor), the largest gap between rich and poor anywhere in the world, and numerous other forms of wretchedness. High population growth rates in an environment characterized by low productivity tropical soils are at the roots of all this. Opposition of the Catholic Church to modern contraceptives contributes to high population growth rates (and some of the world's highest rates of abortion). High population growth rates require huge amounts of financial capital to finance the infrastructure expansion required by population growth. The resultant shortage of financial capital and hence of human capital produces huge rewards for those who have such resources, and the inability of those who lack it to develop the human capital and investment capital they need to escape from the massively over-populated pool of unskilled labor and to earn more than subsistence-level wages that typically result from such labor surpluses. One result is that land in Latin America is more unevenly divided than anywhere else on the planet (06R1). Another result is the economy's focus on natural resources, resulting in a lack of interest on the part of the political power structure in investments in public education, making all of the above problems even worse (05L1). Latin America has also historically relied on monopolies and franchises, leaving few opportunities for entrepreneurs to advance through hard work and innovation (05L1). Mexico's focus on promoting family planning during recent decades has reduced fertilities significantly, resulting in the beginnings of a Mexican middle class and hints of the trend spreading beyond Mexico (06K1). Brazil is also making significant progress along these same lines.
The leftward drift of Latin American politics in recent years is probably largely a consequence of the above plus the imposition of "Structural Adjustment Programs" (SAPs) by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO and the growth of the "informal economy." This drift increases the risks inherent in natural capital ownership, particularly in areas such as oil-, gas- and cropland ownership. One recent account (06R1) described Bolivian landowners having to convert their homes to armed fortresses as the government pursues a process of shuffling ownership rights affecting 20% of Bolivia's land. People on both ends of the class spectrum are being shot in the ensuing struggles over land. Venezuela is also promoting land "reforms." Previous Bolivian attempts at agrarian land reform in 1953 and 1996 failed. Centuries of history have shown that both sides of Latin America's class struggle have the capability to inflict significant harm on the other, but without achieving any permanent solution to the region's ills. It would seem that a far cheaper, less painful alternative would be to institute aggressive family-planning programs to reduce the huge cost of infrastructure growth that population growth demands. This would provide a means of funding human capital formation, enabling more of the lower class to find non-agricultural jobs in urban areas, and to begin the process of middle-class formation and the transformation to developed world status.
Argentina has always thought of itself as Latin America’s model for egalitarianism (08L1). In the 1990s its public sector was privatized by "Structural Adjustments Programs" (SAPs) imposed by the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO) and the economic situation deteriorated. The financial crisis of 2001 (the rapid currency devaluation that also devastated much of southeast Asia and much of Latin America – except Chile that rejected SAPs) pushed 50% of Argentina’s population into poverty. Argentina’s national currency collapsed; savings accounts were wiped out. All this made Argentina much more like the typically "segmented" (stratified) societies common in the rest of Latin America. Some attribute Argentina’s lingering income disparities to a decline in the quality of public education. At the peak of the 2001 crisis, half of all jobs in Argentina wound up in the "informal" sector. As was the case elsewhere in the developing world, few jobs in the informal sector provided benefits, protection, or true prospects for mobility. The situation could be permanent; since privatization of the public sector (imposed by SAPs) in the 1990s usually changes public education to private education. Students’ families must therefore pay directly for their children’s education or see their children remain uneducated. Today, 25% of Argentina’s population lives in poverty – quite a comedown for a nation that once prided itself in an egalitarian ethos (08L1). The purpose of SAPs was to make the Argentina's economy more "efficient" and therefore more likely to be able to repay its loans from external sources. What was accomplished was the exact opposite. A far smaller amount of aid in the form of family planning services would have made investments in infrastructure (e.g. a better system of public education) more affordable by eliminating the costs of infrastructure called for by population growth. This would made repayment of external loans far more likely.
An interesting case study (04C1) describes some amazingly successful efforts by a wealthy businessman to pull his region of Venezuela out of the quagmire described above. Harvard Business School and 10 other business schools in Latin America and Spain are using the businessman's experiences as case studies. He invests about 1% of the profits from his business into projects that provide education, housing, medical care, jobs and other forms of capital-creating economic development to the poor. While other wealthy oligarchs watch their land being overrun by hordes of squatters, their businesses going bankrupt, and their capital of all types dwindling away in a sea of political, economic, and social instability, the more altruistic businessman enjoys good relations with the poor, stability, and large and growing profits as a consequence of his largess. It would appear that a "brother's keeper" approach to Latin America's social, economic, and political problems may be far more profitable than the more traditional militaristic approaches.
Part [5D6] - Russia et al:
Feudalism probably lies at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from "pre-emptive brother's keeper". So it is of interest to examine some histories of feudal systems to try to determine whether there have been any real beneficiaries. In Russia, feudalism ended, appropriately, the same year as slavery was abolished in the US. Extreme class distinctions and the resultant wretchedness, hope deprivation and rage lingered far beyond that official end however. One result was the communist revolution. Millions were shot or sent to slave labor camps in Siberia. Russians, blinded by rage, fell easy prey to wild-eyed notions that owners of financial capital need not be compensated for their contribution to the GDP. This resulted in even more wretchedness and a Cold War that cost the entire world staggering sums in terms of military expenses, wars and bloodshed. Can anyone name any group or class of people in all this that might have benefited, relative to a long-term "pre-emptive brother's keeper" policy?
Feudalism in northern Europe ended centuries before it ended in Russia. Even though class distinctions are still evident there today, these were rarely strong enough to cause extreme gradients in wealth that would threaten political stability. Private ownership of small farms produced a strong soil conservation/ land-use ethic that is still the world's best. Had feudalism lingered longer, the resultant land degradation would probably have resulted in a far bloodier, more wretched history for the region - possibly similar to that in Russia. In Southern Europe, feudalism lasted longer; the soil degraded more, thus the lower living standards that persist to this day. It seems clear, even in Europe, that the long-term, lingering effects of feudalism are such that there is really no group or class of people that have enjoyed a significant net long-term benefit from feudalism relative to a system far less brutal, callous and indifferent.
Part [5D7] - The First Half of the 20th
After WWI, Germany was assessed "war reparation damages" by the winners of WWI. Many have concluded that these reparation costs threw the German economy into a disastrous decline that created a social-, political-, and economic climate that made Germany ripe for a take-over by the likes of Adolph Hitler. If so, these "war reparation damages" would have cost the entire world a staggering cost in terms of WWII - vastly in excess of the reparations paid or assessed. This offers another instance where a "pre-emptive brother's keeper"-oriented policy would have been far better that the vindictive policies that held sway. There are other theories as well, and perhaps all are speculation. But some background information suggests that the global situation was ripe for just about any perturbation to send the world plunging into violent global conflict. The global situation in the first half of the 20th century was clearly unsettled. Japan was expanding in the Far East and Southeast Asia. Communists took over Russia and expanded into Eastern Europe and China. The depression staggered the US. WWI enveloped much of the developed world of that time and the war drums for WWII were beating. The aggressive military actions of Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan were almost certainly desperate quests for natural resources.
All this was probably not a chronological coincidence. The world's population was expanding rapidly, peaking out in the mid-1960s. Contraception technology was in an early stage of development. The first family planning program (India) did not start until 1952. Contraceptives were illegal in the US until 1965. Abortion was illegal nearly worldwide until the middle of the 20th century. Large-scale use of chemical fertilizers did not begin until around the 1950s even though the technology was developed early in the 20th century. The development of large-scale irrigation systems did not begin until around the same time. The "green revolution" was of little significance until the 1950s. These three driving forces were responsible for nearly all of the growth in agricultural productivity in the second half of the 20th Century. This could explain the relative calm in the second half of the 20th century, and why communism and its appeal collapsed then. All this suggests that war reparations could well have been the match that lit the fuse on the largest bomb of violence of the first half of the 20th century, although there were other matches, fuses and bombs. Another match could well have been the collision of global population growth with the severe limits on the ability of the food/ fiber production system to expand then. But whatever matches lit the other fuses, the times were clearly ripe for violent change. The situation called for cool heads, "pre-emptive brother's keeper" policies and an understanding of material determinism theory (which may not have existed then). All of these were clearly in short supply throughout that period.
Perhaps the first sign of "pre-emptive brother's keeper" occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. International Planned Parenthood Federation, then other private foundations, then the UN, then the US, then other developed countries, then some international organizations such as the World Bank all began funding family planning services to developing countries for the expressed purpose of reducing population growth rates. These efforts met with suspicion by some developing nations at the 1974 population conference, but this was long gone by the 1994 conference. Unfortunately another "match" appeared at the 1984 conference in the form of President Reagan's derision of population concerns, supported by bizarre cornucopian ideologies and the false premise that market mechanisms could solve population-related problems. The first two bombs of the 21st century have already gone off - the first in the US, and the second in the world's most volatile region, the Middle East. Despite all that, there was no 2004 population conference, ending the string that began in 1974 or earlier.
Part [5D8] - China's Demographic Aggression:
China's population growth is occurring in an environment under extreme pressures to produce, as witness the soil erosion, overgrazing, deforestation, aquifer draw-downs, surface water overuse, and high rates of desert growth and expansion occurring there. For example, human pressures on China's land, mainly in the form of overgrazing and deforestation, have caused China to lose 36,000 square miles to desert since the 1950s (04H1). These pressures forced Chinese to migrate to other nations in quest of food, fiber and water and forced China's leaders to take harsh measures to suppress the growing social unrest. Consider the following examples of demographic and environmental aggression.
Future Chinese territorial expansion could hardly go anywhere else but to Taiwan, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, India, Outer Mongolia, Russia, and other areas where wars could be precipitated. These wars could readily involve the US, and cost the US vastly more that the money saved by denying the Chinese the funds they need for family planning services in China's vast rural interior where poverty continues to run rampant. Over-population and population growth have made life cheap in vast regions of the Far East. Western policies that are based on the notion that human life is dear only serve to make human life in the Far East even cheaper and population growth even faster. All this poses ever increasing risks of the West being forced to taking harsh and expensive measures to stem the tide of China's demographic aggression into regions already over-crowded.
Part [5D9] - Poor U.S. Women:
It is not just the peace, living standards and stability of the developing world that suffer from the illogical contempt for international family planning in the minds and voting records of US leaders. The "pre-emptive brother's keeper" philosophy is also being weakened even for poor women in the US. A key source of family planning services for poor and low-income women and teenagers - Title X of the Public Health Service Act - is withering away. During the period 1980 to 2000, appropriations for Title X decreased 58% in inflation adjusted terms (01D1). This is in spite of the fact that the savings to taxpayers from Title X exceeds, by a factor of 4.4, the costs of Title X. These savings take the form of reduced costs of providing medical care, welfare benefits and other social services to pregnant women who would otherwise not be pregnant. Publicly funded family planning services in the US prevent an average of 1.2 million unintended pregnancies each year, including 516,000 abortions (95G1). About 76% of pregnancies to poor US women are unplanned (95G1). Title X budget reductions fly in the face of increasing numbers of women without health insurance. Among women of reproductive age, the number of uninsured rose by 1.2 million between 1994-99. As many as 30% of women in their 20s - the peak years for both childbearing and the need for contraception - are uninsured (01D1). Even worse, the introduction of long-lasting hormonal methods, such as the contraceptive implant, Norplant, and the injectable, Depo-Provera, which have extremely low failure rates, have much higher up-front costs (01D1), making real budget cuts even harder to endure. Clearly a greater focus on "pre-emptive brother's keeper" would:
This is a sad commentary on, and a compelling indictment of, US government ideology.
Part [5D10] - Nepal:
As noted in Part [5D4] above, the Maoist insurgency that has swept from Nepal to the southern tip of India is now evolving from terrorism into civil war. But civil war has been ongoing for a decade in Nepal; it is just now spreading southward. Let's take a look at Nepal to try to understand why civil war nucleated there, and to understand how the entire process might have been nipped in the bud with a little foresight and some "pre-emptive brothers' keeper" in Nepal.
Only 21.7% of Nepal's land is arable. Nepal's population in 2005 was 27.7 million. Nepal's median age is 20.1; Nepal's population growth rate is 2.2%/ year; Nepal's life expectancy is 67; Nepal's Total Fertility Rate is 4.19 children (a 2005 estimate) (Contraceptive use was 3% in 1976.). Nepal's literacy is 45.2%. Nepal is among the poorest, and least developed, countries in the world. About 40% of Nepal's population lives below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of Nepal's economy despite the severe shortage of arable land. It provides a livelihood for over 80% of Nepal's population (typical of the poorest of developing nations) and accounts for 40% of Nepal's GDP. Nepal's unemployment rate in early 2006 was 42%. Mostly as a result of Nepal's civil strife, 100,000-200,000 people are internally displaced in Nepal. ("Report on Nepal," CIA Factbook (March of 2006).). Nepal's government's long-term approach to dealing with the situation has taken the form of a long-standing, feudally oriented dictatorship, a common approach to situations of this nature throughout the developing world. Had the powers-that-be given the issue a little thought, they would have realized that as Nepal's population increases further and further beyond the carrying capacity of the land, the agricultural workers could only sink ever deeper into wretchedness and hope deprivation, requiring ever-increasing efforts on the part of the feudal landlords and dictators to keep everyone in line. Social, political, economic and military instabilities are invariably the outcome of such styles of government. Just take a look at the histories of Central American countries.
It would be so much better for everyone if relatively small amounts of money were spent on family planning services to minimize the costs of the infrastructure needed to accommodate population growth - a population growth that the very limited amount of arable land cannot support. This would have provided financial capital needed to create the human capital needed to offer something beyond unskilled labor to the global marketplace, enabling Nepal to import the ingredients for advancing technologically and evolving toward developed nation status. There would have been no theological problems with family planning; only 4.2% of Nepal's population is Muslim (based on the 2001 census). The massive deforestation, overgrazing and cropland erosion characterizing Nepal's agriculture could have been largely avoided, making agriculture more stable, productive, and capable of employing (and feeding) more people. The owners of capital, internal and external, would have found a far safer environment for their investments, making everyone - labor and capital - more prosperous. It is understood that there has been a family planning program in Nepal since around 1991. But based on the total fertility rate and population growth rate mentioned above, it must have an insignificant effect.
Part [5D11] - Peace-Keeping and Emergency Aid:
Donor-nation expenditures on international peacekeeping and emergency humanitarian aid cost the West about $10 billion/ year (ENN Direct (10/15/99)). Again, over-population and population growth are a large share of the root causes necessitating this aid. For example, Serb leader Milosevic was told around 1991 that the Kosovars have said they will win their battle against the Serbs "in bed". (Kosovo's birth rate then was 9 children per family - a rate Serbs could not match.) It was predicted that Muslims would soon be a majority, not only in Kosovo, but also in Belgrade. (Santa Barbara (CA) News Press (4/24/99)) (Kosovo went from 98% Serbian Christian to 99.5% Albanian Muslim in less than 70 years.) Milosevic apparently saw Serbia being backed to the wall, and felt compelled to defend Serbia in the only way Milosevic knew. Instead of assuming the issue was none of its business, the West could have provided a few decades of family planning services to that region. The cost would have been a small fraction of the costs of waging war against Serbia and then enforcing the peace in the region for many years.
All the while, Albania sends boatloads of wretched, hungry, desperate, largely Muslim refugees to Italy, Greece and wherever else it believes their boats can sneak past the border guards. The overpopulation in Muslim Albania has been obvious for decades, as has been the changing attitudes toward family planning in a rapidly growing portion of the Muslim World (08S1). All those border patrols on guard for interminable decades are probably costing the West far more than the family planning that could do so much to greatly alleviate, if not eliminate, both the cost problem and the wretchedness problem.
A study by Population Action International (04P1) has made the relationship between population growth rate and the probability of civil conflict fairly quantitative. Their results are given in Table 1-A above. They tend to support the linkage between the war in Kosovo and Kosovo's huge population growth rate.
The correlation between external debt and population growth rate is also strong. Of the 41 countries designated as "heavily indebted poor countries" by the World Bank, 39 fall into the category of high-fertility nations, where women, on average, bear four or more children. Similarly, the 48 countries identified by the UN as "least developed" are all expected to triple their population by 2050 (02H1). The linkage between external debt and wretchedness is fairly obvious, and environmental determinism theory readily links wretchedness and civil conflict.
A few years ago, two studies by the National Security Agency and one by US Army Intelligence found a solid link between the ratio of younger men to older men and violence in general. Such violence may take the form of internal (criminal) violence or external violence in the form of war or terrorism. As a result of very high fertilities (i.e. high population growth rates), this young-men/ old-men ratio is now very high in the Middle East. The situation there is exacerbated by high Arab unemployment rates, e.g. around 30% in the Saudi middle class (also a reflection of high population growth rates). Since it is difficult to marry without a job, this translates into a lot of dissatisfied single young men, including the educated middle class. This may be why we have seen so many educated terrorists.
Part [5D12] - The Middle East:
During WWI, the Europeans imposed the boundaries of a new "nation-state" system on the Middle East. The boundaries served European interests (keeping the region militarily weak) but ignored the geography of the language, ethnicity, culture and history of the region (06M1). Since then both the Middle East and the West have paid a huge price in terms of both bloodshed and money as a result of the social, political, economic, religious and military instabilities in the region. Recall that a state is a government with a sovereign right to rule over a given region: a nation is a group of people held together by a common language, ethnicity, culture or history. Some examples: Kurds and Palestinians found themselves divided among numerous states occupied by people with whom the Kurds had no common language, ethnicity, culture or history. After WWII, the "states" of Syria, Iraq and Jordan were created, but in each case the residents of each state had no real sense of belonging together as a nation. Their real loyalties remained with the sects, ethnic groups, tribes and families in which they were born (06M1).
The current tragedy that is Iraq shows all too clearly the consequences of imposing huge mismatches between state boundaries and national boundaries. The very concept of an "Iraqi" security force to pacify Iraq is an utter absurdity - there are no Iraqis from which to create such a force, just Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, who are more loyal to their own than to the artifact called Iraq. The same absurdity occurred two decades earlier when the Reagan administration tried to create a Lebanese army. At that time there were no "Lebanese" - only Christians and Muslims. Had those WWI Europeans played more of a "pre-emptive brother's keeper" role and divided up the Middle East along boundaries defined by the languages, ethnicities, cultures and history of the region there would have been no gassing of Kurds, no torture of Shiites, no problems with creating a security force to pacify the region, and no need for western troops to remain long after toppling Saddam Hussein. There still could have been intense friction among the well-laid-out nations of the Middle East, but remember, this is a region with the world's highest population growth rates and the world's most degraded croplands, grazing lands and forests as a result of millennia of intense, excessive, and poorly managed human pressures upon the land. But these frictions too could have been averted with a little "pre-emptive brother's keeper" in the form of family planning services that could have freed up the financial capital needed to create the human capital needed to achieve developed-nation status instead of theocracies run by mullahs who see "education" in terms of memorizing the Koran.
Part [5D13] ~The Rural-to-Urban Migration and the Informal Economy in Developing Nations:
In the 1990s, many political scientists grew concerned that rapid urbanization and city growth in developing countries, coupled with increased urban poverty, often led to civil violence in cities that threatened national political stability (93H1) (96L1). Some analysts predict that urban poverty will become the most significant and politically explosive problem in the 21st century. Without policies that redress social inequalities, claim some demographers, urban areas will experience escalating crime and violence punctuated by sporadic riots and increased terrorism (92H1). It has been pointed out that the most wretched, oppressed and discriminated-against people of the developing world's urban inhabitants are the members of the "informal" economy who are mainly farmers who have migrated to the wretched slums ringing most of the large urban areas of the developing world (08S3). The driving forces for this mass migration are mainly the following:
It has also been noted that the formal part of the economies of developing nations are not growing. Virtually all economic growth occurs in the informal economy (08S3). This leads to the conclusion that the "informal" economy of the developing world must ultimately become about two thirds of the economy of the developing world. (It is currently roughly a third of the developing world economy.) At this point, those in the informal economy (for whom daily survival is an extreme challenge) will hold a 2:1 majority against a formal economy that presently subjects those in the informal economy to all manner of abuse and discrimination, and that creates barriers that insure that those in the informal economy will never advance to the formal economy (sort of a caste system). As noted earlier in this document, warfare tends to originate in environments of extreme duress, be it capital-intensive warfare or labor-intensive warfare (usually referred to as "terrorism"). The developing world economy (with about 80% of the world's population) is thus becoming an extremely ripe environment for warfare (as the political scientists noted above realized).
The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran is frequently cited as an example of how urbanization can generate political and military turbulence. In the decades preceding this revolution, population growth rates in Iran were several times higher in urban than rural areas, mainly because of rapid rural-to-urban migration. Young migrants became more educated yet remained poor, creating a large population of frustrated urban youth, who mobilized to overthrow the Shah in a dramatic revolution. A similar scenario has been envisioned for African countries (96K1). It should be noted that urban residents are much better situated to riot than people in rural areas. Also, demographic changes (mainly urbanization) are changing the nature of armed conflict globally. Conflicts are increasingly likely to be in urban settings where the developed world's military's technological advantages in long-range precision fires and information processing are largely nullified by restrictions on movement, short lines of sight, the presence of civilians, and the inability to distinguish friend from foe (00N1).
Most urban growth in developing countries in recent decades has been attributed to natural (birth) increase. Nonetheless, population policies aimed at reducing urban growth in most developing countries have focused almost solely on restricting in-migration and, indirectly, altering geographic distributions of populations. Such migration-oriented policies have included eligibility requirements that limit people's ability to move (in China and Ethiopia, for example), rural development schemes to encourage people to stay in rural areas (Malaysia and Vietnam), and land colonization schemes meant to attract settlers to newly developed areas (as in Brazil and Indonesia). With rare exceptions (such as South Africa under apartheid) these migration-oriented policies have failed to curb the pace of urban growth. In contrast, policies that accommodate migrants from the countryside and assimilate them to the more modern social norms and behaviors of urban areas have more effectively curbed urban growth by reducing migrant fertility (98B1).
This more optimistic perspective also maintains that any urban area with good management capabilities can absorb large population increments without diminishing human welfare or the quality of the environment (94C1). The key to success, they say, is a commitment to adopting policies that, among other things, maintain infrastructure, increase productivity of the labor force, and alleviate poverty. A frequently cited example of urban managerial success is Curitiba (in Brazil), which through innovations to encourage use of buses rather than cars, land use regulations that conserve green space, and other measures, has avoided the degradation experienced in most other cities of comparable size in developing countries (92R1). These optimistic perspectives may be less than realistic in most cases. Maintaining infrastructure in situations of rapid population growth creates huge demands on financial capital that are impossible to accommodate in most developing countries (06S2). In situations where urban population growth is driven by wretched rural farmers driven off the land into rural slums and from there into the informal economy, the demands for infrastructure growth needed to meet the needs of population growth are virtually impossible to meet.
Three of the four driving forces for rural-to-urban migration listed above can easily be seen to have their origins in population growth. What is less clear is that SAPs also have their origins in population growth. SAPs were imposed because developing nations were financing things like health care, education, bus fares, wages in government departments, food, etc. with money borrowed from external sources, e.g. the IMF. This is clearly non-sustainable, and it places the developing world's repayment of their several trillion dollars worth of borrowed funds at considerable risk. As a result, the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO made the ideology-motivated blunder of imposing SAPs on developing nations in order to make the economies of these nations more "efficient." Had they realized that the source of the problem was not inefficiency but population growth, they could have provided small amounts of funding for family planning and contraception. (The cost of averting a birth in developing nations is only a few dollars (07S3).) This would have put the developing world on its way to developed-world status and greatly increased the likelihood that loans to developing nations would be repaid. What the World Bank et al did made these loans even less likely of repayment. The false ideology behind their tragic blunder is examined in Ref. (06S2). It is not to late however to avoid making this same blunder in attempts to avoid more-than-likely warfare between the informal and formal economies of the developing world that the experts noted at the top of this Part are so concerned about.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Return to top of Chapter 5 - "A Critique of the Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Return to top of Section [5-B] - "Faulty Views and Ideologies".
Return to top of Section [5-C] - "The Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy in Perspective."
Return to top of Section [5-D] - "Where "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" might have produced better outcomes"
Section (5-E) - The "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" Strategy's Potential
The above historical conjectures offer compelling arguments for placing greater emphasis on "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategies and correspondingly less on the more commonly employed strategies that one might characterize as more brutal, callous, indifferent and expensive - and less effective. The list of but a fraction of the potential benefits from a more "pre-emptive brother's keeper" approach to the past (20th) century is impressive:
Reactive vs. Proactive: World military spending during 2003 was $956 billion, nearly half of it by the US (up 11% since 2002, and up 18% since 2001 (04S4)). The bulk of this spending was motivated by concerns that could have been, or could be, reduced by a more "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategy. The growth rate of military spending, particularly in the US, should be a good indicator that military approaches to the world's problems are either not working or are being grossly over-used. The above case studies offer further evidence of this failure or over-use. They also offer alternatives. The reason why military solutions are overdone appears to be that serious political problems are often associated with alternative "pre-emptive brother's keeper" approaches. Situations that call for "pre-emptive brother's keeper" are not usually identified or acted upon until extremely adversarial relationships have developed. When that happens, cool-headed analyses of the underlying problems, followed by development of carefully focused "pre-emptive brother's keeper" strategies, are not likely to be politically acceptable (e.g. the events of 9/11/01), regardless of the lessons learned from the past.
Go to Table of Contents ~
Return to the top of Chapter (5) - "Critique of the Brother's Keeper Strategy"
Return to the top of Section [5-B] - "Faulty Views and Ideologies".
Return to the top of Section [5-C] - "The Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper Strategy in Perspective."
Return to the top of Section [5-D] - "Where "Pre-emptive Brother's Keeper" might have produced better outcomes"
Chapter (6) - REFERENCE LIST
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~ 90W1 World Bank, World Development Report 1990: Poverty (New York: Oxford University Press for the World Bank (1990));
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~ 92R1 Jonas Rabinovitch, "Curitiba: Towards Sustainable Urban Development," Environment and Urbanization 4(2) (October 1992): pp. 62-73.
~ 93H1 Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations," Foreign Affairs, 73 (Summer 1993) p. 22. Also see Kaplan, "Cities of Despair."
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~ 00U1 (Author Unknown) "Opinions that Count: How Swing Voters in Congress view Global Population Issues", RAND, RB-5041 (2000) http://www.rand.org/publications/RB/RB5041/.
~ 00W1 World Bank, World Development Report 1999/ 2000 (2000).
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~ 01D2 Mike Davis, "Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World," London (2001) pp. 206-209.
~ 01N1 Larry Nowels, "Population Assistance and IFP Programs: Issues for Congress", Congressional Research Service Issue Brief IB96026 (2/21/2001) 10 pp.
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~ 03C1 Ha-Joon Chang, "Kicking Away the Ladder: Infant Industry Promotion in Historical Perspective," Oxford Development Studies, 31(1) (2003) p. 21.
~ 03G1 Global Urban Observatory, Slums of the World: The face of urban poverty in the new millennium?, New York (2003) pp. 33-34.
~ 03I1 Youssef M. Ibrahim, "Democracy in Iraq? Be careful what you wish for", Pittsburgh Post Gazette (3/30/03) (written earlier for the Washington Post).
~ 03K1 Winter King, "Illegal Settlements and the Impact of Titling Programs," Harvard Law Review, 44(2) (September 2003) p. 471.
~ 03N2 Gautam Naik, Vanessa Fuhrmans, Jonathan Karp, Joel Millman, Farnaz Fassihi and Joanna Slater, "Fertility 'Revolution' Lowers Birth Rates", Wall Street Journal (1/24/2003).
~ 03O1 R. O'Leary and L. Bingham, (Editors), The Promise and Performance of Environmental Conflict Resolution. Resources for the Future, Washington DC, (2003) p. 51.
~ 03P1 Alejandro Portes and Kelly Hoffman, "Latin American Class Structures: Their Composition and Change during the Neoliberal Era," Latin American Research Review, 38(1) (2003) p. 55.
~ 03T1 Roger Thurow, "Behind the Famine in Ethiopia: Glut and Aid Policies Gone Bad", Wall Street Journal (7/1/03).
~ 03U1 "Dollars to Help Pupils in Pakistan", Los Angeles Times (4/14/03).
~ 03U2 UN-Habitat (The UN's Human Settlement Program) "The Challenge of the Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003," London (2003) (the first truly global audit on urban poverty)
~ 04C1 Jose de Cordoba, "As Venezuela Tilts Left, a Rum Mogul Reaches Out to Poor", Wall Street Journal (11/10/04).
~ 04D1 Jared Diamond, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed", Viking (2004) 576 pp.
~ 04H1 Chris Hawley (Associated Press) "U.N. to combat growing deserts", Pittsburgh Post Gazette (6/16/04).
~ 04P1 Population Action International, "How Demographic Transition Reduces Countries' Vulnerability to Civil Conflict" in PAI's publication The Security Demographic: Population and Civil Conflict After the Cold War, (2/11/04) http://www.populationaction.org/resources/factsheets/factsheet_23_securityDemog.html.
~ 04P2 John Perkins, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2004) 264 pp.
~ 04R1 William Ryerson, "PMC-Ethiopia's two radio serial dramas are causing great behavior changes", Ethiopian Reporter (6/16/04). Contact William Ryerson, President, Population Media Center, 145 Pine Haven Shores Road, Suite 2011, P.O. Box 547, Shelburne VT 05482.
~ 04S1 Gerald F. Seib, "Arab Democracy: The Real Question Resides in Egypt", Wall Street Journal (6/16/04).
~ 04S4 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data as reported in "Global military spending soars", Pittsburgh Post Gazette (6/10/04).
~ 04T1 Yaroslav Trofimov, "Islamic Democracy? Mali finds a way to make it work", Wall Street Journal (6/22/04) p. A1.
~ 04V1 Michael Vatikiotis, "China's Growing Clout Alarms Smaller Neighbors", Wall Street Journal (6/16/04) p. A12.
~ 05G1 Michael Gawenda (Herald Correspondent in Washington), "Poverty tsunami: Wolfensohn departs with a stark warning", Sydney Morning Herald (5/26/05).
~ 05L1 David Luhnow, John Lyons, "In Latin America, Rich-Poor Chasm Stifles Growth," Wall Street Journal (7/18/05), p. A1.
~ 05M1 George Monbiot "I'm With Wolfowitz: Have we forgotten what the World Bank is for?" The Guardian, (4/5/05) www.monbiot.com.
~ 05M2 Branko Milanovic, "Why did the Poorest Countries Fail To Catch Up?" Carnegie Papers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Number 62 (November 2005) 31 pages. http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/CP62.Milanovic.FINAL.pdf.
~ 05S1 Bruce Sundquist, "The Controversy over U.S. Support for International Family Planning: An Analysis", Edition 6 (October 2005)(Unknown), Global military spending passed $1 trillion in 2004 for the first time since the Cold War, nearly half of it by the US, according to the Swedish Peace Institute (Wall Street Journal (6/8/05) p. A1).
~ 05U2 (Author Unknown) "The Water Conflicts in the Middle East from a Palestinian Perspective", Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (2005) www.arij.org/pub/wconflct/ (visited 4/29/05).
~ 06G1 Lauri Goodstein, "Pentecostals booming in developing world," Pittsburgh Post Gazette (10/8/06) (reporting on a survey released on 10/05/06 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life - http://www.pewforum.org/surveys/pentecostal/)
~ 06H1 Samuel P. Huston, "Management of Water Scarcity and the Application of Conflict Resolution: Cases of India and China," Dissertation, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford (2006).
~ 06I1 International Service Assistance Fund, press release of 6/22/06. (Contact ISAF at 919-990-9099 or visit www.quinacrine.com)
~ 06K1 June Kronholz, John Lyons, "Smaller Families in Mexico May Stir U.S. Job Market," Wall Street Journal (4/28/06) p. A1.
~ 06M1 Christina W. Michelmore, "Two bad choices in Iraq," Pittsburgh Post Gazette (10/15/06), p. H1.
~ 06R1 Monte Reel, "Two Views of Justice Fuel Bolivian Land Battle," Washington Post (6/20/06).
~ 06S1 Somini Sengupta, "In India, Maoist Guerrillas Widen 'People's War'," The New York Times (4/13/06).
~ 06S2 Bruce Sundquist, "The Controversy over U.S. Support for International Family Planning: An Analysis," Edition 7 (June 2006) 90 pp.
~ 06W1 Paul Wolfowitz (President of the World Bank Group), 2006 Annual Meetings Address to the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group on 9/19/06 in Singapore.
~ 08L1 Sarah Miller
Llana, "Class Divide Hardens for Argentina’s Growing Poor," The
Christian Science Monitor (1/7/08.))
~ 08S1 Bruce Sundquist, "The Muslim World's Changing Views toward Family Planning and Contraception," Edition 2 (March 2008)
~ 08S2 Bruce Sundquist, "Sustainability of the World's Outputs of Food, wood, and Freshwater," Edition 1 (March 2008)
~ 08S3 Bruce Sundquist, "The Informal Economy of the Developing World: The Context, The Prognosis, and a Broader Perspective," Edition 1 (March 2008)
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