Bio - Ethics

Reflections on Political Ecology

Escher illustration


Reflections on Political Ecology[1]


A. Khoshkish


We cannot command nature except by obeying her.

                                                           Francis Bacon, NovumOrganum






A. The Material


Man, by his own definition, is an animal living on the planet earth. He is an omnivorous mammifer who is adapted best to a savannah type of climate. Except for certain physiological adaptations such as a greater number of perspiration glands in warmer climates or fat deposits in colder weather which make him more resistant to certain tolerable climatic fluctuations (Coon, 1954), he would not have been able to survive in many parts of the earth. Yet man managed to explore and inhabit practically the entire surface of the planet, and this by artificial means, i.e., by unnatural processes. The natural process for a naked man in the Arctic would be to freeze to death and in the tropics to die of exposure.


Beyond gathering food and hunting, man used the skin and wool of his victims for warmth, domesticated animals, constructed shelters, and developed agriculture. Of course, the interference of man with nature for his survival has had its natural repercussions. Some species of animals have been hunted to death, while deforestation and. erosion of soil have turned arable lands into arid deserts and dried up rivers, as happened with the desert of Bahawalpur in northwestern India and the once mighty Hakra River flowing through it (Tinker, 1966).


Nature, however, kept man under control. Disease and famine managed to keep man within reasonable numbers. Man himself also gave a hand to nature by indulging in self-extermination through wars. Malthus called these positive checks! The fittest under the circumstances, depending on the situation, survived. Man had few pretensions of harnessing nature and was conscious of its existence and its awe.


The curve of world population growth by the year 1800 looked like this (Presiden’s Science Advisory Committee Report, 1968):


Then part of mankind started to overdraw on nature's deposit. Science, technology, and medicine enabled man to explore and use nature as a tool for progress. "Progress towards what?" you may ask. We are in the habit of using this word as a goal in itself. As if it had majesty of its own. In fact, in the last analysis progress boils down to the drive for ever better satisfaction of man's animal needs: to spare him from death as long as possible and lengthen his survival, to bring him comfort and spare him from hardship, to give him more leisure and satisfy his curiosity and his drives for amusement. The technological age made it possible for man to look for progress towards these ends through material well-being.


Before this age, beyond their material efforts limited by nature, the mass of men, be they kings or serfs, searched for the extension of their survival and comfort, and for answer to their curiosity, in metaphysics rather than physics. Alchemy and magic were more psychological supports than material help, while Heaven secured survival after death and solaced those who lacked material comfort in this life.


The European industrial revolution seemed to bring with it the Promised Land right on earth, at the beginning for the few, and more recently for the multitude. The curve of world's population growth then became like this (PSACR, 1968):


Nature seemed to be there for exploitation. Its generosity was considered as endless and its passivity the very salt of the earth. Viewed in this way, all progress needed was more men to exploit nature and to be exploited. So the growing population which was the consequence of progress was a welcome factor. Population meant more labor force, bigger markets, more profits-in short, more power! And power is of interest to politics! Progress was the thing. It was strived for and promised. Whether in the name of Adam Smith or Marx, the politician promised longer and healthier survival, better comfort and more leisure.


Through progress the boundaries seemed unlimited. And if injustices existed in the distribution of wealth today, they would be remedied tomorrow, be it through equal opportunity for all under competitive free enterprise or to each according to his needs under communism.


B. The Ethical


The revolutionary pace of industrialization and its social consequences brought into the forefront dimensions of ethical concern more related to the human conditions arising in the modern technological world. Whether under the banner of Christian charity or social justice, these ethics were to serve as vanguards against those aspects of human shortcomings such as the exploitation of other men, which were likely to be amplified in the process of progress and production.


The social pattern evolved parallel with scientific explorations and technolo­gical development. The patriarchal and corporative texture of the society changed into a paradoxical combination of egocentrism and ethnocentrism, individualism and nationalism; one giving more autonomy and fluidity to the units within the group; the other creating a framework for regimentation and integration. Both were instrumental to progress and production in their economic takeoff, and to power politics, internal and external. Even social philosophies like communism, which preached internationalism and put empha­sis on the communal duties rather than individual rights and incentive, had to revert to patriotism and recognize the need for individual initiative and satisfaction in order to keep progress and production, at a certain stage, going.


Family, however, remained the basic cell of the society. It provided bases for control, supply and early socialization of the population. It also provided the appropriate store for basic social and moral values. After all, even though progress made longer life possible, it was through procreation and offspring that man could secure his continuation. And the political system promised a better future and better education for the coming generations. The Malthusian theory was discredited by the colossal possibilities technology and science could offer. Together with apple pie and the flag, motherhood became one of the American trinities, while the Soviet Union bestowed the title of Heroine of the Union to her productive mothers!


Matter seemed to dazzle the spirit. Religion, which has been the harbor of hope in times of intermittent abundance, was now giving place to machine and technology which promised perpetual affluence. Now on occasions of man-made catastrophes like war did gods become momentarily popular. The church, however, served the purpose of sanctifying the institutions like family and procreation which complemented the new ethics. In some instances its basic doctrine did clash with the new trends. The precept of renunciation did not quite fit in with the drive for material gain, and the concept of loving your neighbor was not quite in tune with profitable bargaining for cheap labor.


The church thus compromised between blessing the useful and overlooking the hypocritical. Some systems like the Soviets tried to dispense with the church altogether but encountered difficulties. They apparently did not believe in Dostoyevsky when he said that "man cannot bear to be without the miraculous, he will create new miracles of his own for himself and will worship deeds of sorcery and witchcraft, though he might be a hundred times over a rebel, heretic and infidel." (Dostoyevsky, 1880)


Speaking of miracles, however, progress did seem to present one worth worshipping, and material gain did become a goal for its own sake. In the words of Stewart Udall, the Gross National Product became the American Holy Grail.[2]  The new divinity was of such a forceful impact that it succeeded where over two hundred years of colonization and Christian missionary work had failed. Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucians in the developing countries were modifying and rejecting their convictions and traditions to embrace the gifts of western civilization in the name of progress. They were accepting the denomination of “developing”[3] in the technological and economic sense, relegating spiritual heritage to the background. After all, their goal, too, was longer and healthier life, more comfort, and better leisure. Heaven, Brahman, and Nirvana were good for times when you could not do better on this earth.


Indeed, for a while progress through production seemed to be man's ultimate answer to his questions. Had mother earth been generous enough to give what man asked for and had she been indulgent enough to swallow whatever waste man threw into her, it seems that at some point man's voracity would have been satiated.


When economic development reaches the stage where attractive social motivations are offered to individuals, the curve of population growth levels off.[4]  This reduction in population growth is also due to better education and socialization, teaching among other things the use of contraceptives (Notestein, Kirk and Segel, 1963). Diversification of pastimes and entertainment is another factor, and finally, according to some biological theories, the protein-rich diet accompanying development reduces the briskness of movement of reproductive cells at a certain age and contributes to population control (Notestein, Kirk and Segel, 1963). It seemed, therefore, technologically feasible to close the gap between the rates of increase in food demand and food production in the developing countries, thus permitting them an economic take off theoretically followed by leveling off of population growth on the basis of the criteria enumerated above.[5]





A. The Material


But then mother earth had a word to say. She called for attention. Not that nature counter-attacked. It is man's vision of struggle that makes him think that he is at war with nature: If he only could see that he is part of nature and that his birth, life and decay are natural processes within that context. At the Conference on Man and His Environment organized by the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in San Francisco in November 1969, we were presented with a grim picture of this reality: Man has found out that pesticides such as DDT are deposited in the soil and in the water undisolved for long periods of time, and end up in animal bodies that he eats. The FDA has established an interim tolerance limit of five parts per million of DDT compounds in the eatable fish. Recently Jack mackerels taken in the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles were found to contain 10 ppm of DDT. So were the Coho salmon taken in Lake Michigan? The brown pelicans, which feed on marine fish, have been wiped out of Louisiana because the pesticides in their food thinned the shell of their eggs to the point of not being hatchable (Risebrough, 1969). At the same time the pests for whom the pesticides and insecticides were originally fabricated are becoming more and more immune to them. In 1963 fifty times more DDT was required, as compared to 1961, to control insect pests in the cotton fields of Texas (Commoner, 1969). Very soon the fat American may no more go on a diet safely because the DDT deposit in his fat may poison him (Ehrlich, 1968).


The 10 to 15 per cent increase in the minute amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1900 has caused surface temperatures to rise 0.2°C and the temperature in the stratosphere to decrease by some 2.0°C (Malone, 1969). In the United States we produced a yearly amount of 125 million tons of air pollutants, including some 65 million tons of carbon monoxide, 23 million tons of sulfur oxides, 8 million tons of nitrogen oxides (Waste Management and Control, 1966). The emission of S02 will increase by 75 per cent in 1980 and another 75 per cent by the year 2000 (Malone, 1969). As much as 100 million tons of oil enter the ocean through spillage or wastage every year, and accidents like the oil leakage off the Santa Barbara shore or the pollution of the English and French beaches by Torrey Canyon are likely to increase rather than decrease in the future (Risebrough, 1969).


The yearly production of solid waste in the United States alone amounts to 3.65 billion tons! This includes, for example, food (garbage), dirt (rubbish), paper, tin cans, plastic containers, abandoned cars and trucks, demolished concrete, paints, industrial scrap metals and chemicals, asbestos processing waste, blast furnace and smelting operation wastes, coal culms banks, and animal wastes produced in concentrated operations near urban areas (Eliassen, 1969).


If we try to eliminate these 3.65 billion tons of garbage, rubbish, and waste through our technology we will create additional problems. For example, technologically speaking, our sewage treatment has indeed advanced far enough to convert the noxious organic human waste into innocuous inorganic materials that could be disposed of in rivers and lakes. But then the addition to the water of excessive inorganic products, which are algal nutrients, results in algal overgrowth destroying in turn the self-purifying capability of the aquatic ecosystem (Commoner, 1969). This is what happened to such a massive ecosystem as Lake Erie where the harvest of pike fell from some seven million pounds in 1956 to 200 in 1963.


Suppose the some six billion human beings who are expected to occupy the surface of this earth by the year 2000 reached the garbage producing capacity of the United States' present population. In that year alone the world would produce some 127.75 billion tons of garbage. That amounts to 250 tons per square kilometer of the surface of the earth-land and sea included. That would be a lot of garbage for a year. This, of course, is a human calculation of what man defines as waste and "dirty." Looking at it from the point of view of nature, we can see how man has artificially complicated his life. Of the 3.65 billion tons yearly waste product of the United States, one single item, constituting over half of it (58 per cent) is agricultural waste, including mainly animal waste (43 per cent), notably produced in concentrated feedlots near urban areas (Eliassen, 1969). While man juggles with the problem of disposing of it, nature is deprived of this beneficial organic material which is the source of, nitrates in soil and water, and the supplier of nitrogen to plants, and the animals that feed on them. Cattle which were originally grazing in the Midwest pastures and contributed to the natural recycling of the soil were moved to the feedlots near urban areas. The land was then used for intensive grain production with massive use of inorganic fertilizers which, due to their high quantity and nonabsorption by the soil, ended up in streams and lakes, increased algal growth, and created water pollution. In cases where the polluted river water is used as a source of water supply, this creates the danger of infantile diseases (Commoner, 1969).


In short, man's technology, after having damaged nature, is using it as a medium to turn against its own master. Man is no longer doing his share and in turn drawing his share from the ecosystem, but disrupting the recycling process of the whole nature and thereby threatening his very survival-the "ecological backlash."  There seem to be two dimensions to the problem. One, that there are natural limitations on man's use of his technological possibilities, and two, that there is not going to be enough room and food for the increase in population, mainly in the underdeveloped parts of the world. The two aspects of the problem were summed up in the following passages of Dr. Sterling Bunnell's paper presented to the conference.


For example, if we attempt to postpone world famine by a cram program of feed production by any and all expedient applications of modern agricultural technology (especially synthetic fertilizers and persistent pesticides) we are apt, as Paul Ehrlich has wisely warned, to wreck the biosphere with chemical pollution; if we hope to easily replace fossil fuel power with nuclear power we exchange the problems of C02 and hydrocarbon pollution for pollution by the equally dangerous and more insidious biologically active radioisotopes. If we try to extricate ourselves by conversion from fission to fusion power we may raise the tritium concentration of the world's water to a level fatal to our species. The critical mutation lead (if you are unfamiliar with this concept, consider it evidence of the inadequacy of your education to meet the requirements of survival) is uncertain before it is reached and there will be irresistible economic pressures to exceed any arbitrary limit in an overpopulating world hungry for power. Thus it seems that the problems of food production, power demands, industrialization, and waste disposal are not soluble in isolation, but only in conjunction with stabilizing population at levels which allow us to stay within the limits of environmental tolerance. A "breakthrough" on one problem (e.g. greatly increased food supply as by development of synthetic carbohydrates) could finish us off by allowing population increase to intensify other problems (e.g. pollution, oxygen balance, thermal balance, etc.).


B. The Ethical


As I drove to the airport under the hazy smoggy sky of San Francisco I had a lot of compassion for those crossing my way. I was looking into the other cars, seeing people living in the smog of the Bay Area and pondering the problems that were facing mankind. 


As I flew out of San Francisco and over the vastness of the United States, I started wondering whether the problem was there, under the little hub of pollution covering the Bay Area, indeed, little it was compared to what is left of this great country. True, 60 per cent of the U. S. population lives in 1 per cent of its land. But could the some 77,000 persons per square mile of Manhattan Island not go and live away from the smog? After all, the population density of the United States as a whole was only 50.5 per square mile in 1960 (Heer, 1968).


The answer to the question was unfortunately negative. They cannot. It is like sending the cattle in the feedlots back to the Midwest pastures. It is not profitable. Like nature's cycles man creates for himself value systems which turn into a vicious circle. The more vicious they become, the harder it will be to break from them. Our industrial civilization has created its own system: that of progress, production, population, profit, and pollution. The system is not an exclusivity of the capitalistic free enterprise; the socialist and communist regimes enjoy it as well. It is that of the materialist approach to life. We pollute Lake Erie, the Soviets pollute Lake Baikal. One should produce, which is more profitable when there is concentration of manpower and market; and consequently, one way or another, one pollutes. As we saw earlier, even if we try to treat the waste we get the ecological backlash.


Man, like Dr. Faust, has sold his soul to the devil of material progress. In the optimistic frenzy of materialist drive it was believed that despite numbered bank accounts in Switzerland, despite tax loopholes, and despite helicopters going into flames, man could make so much out of mother earth that some day the leftovers of those who are good at competitive free enterprise or state capitalism, depending where they are, would finally bring to the rest of the lot those material gadgets which would qualify them as a "two car family," or whatever the criteria of prosperity may be at the time. It was believed that the spoils and the overflow of abundance would finally reach ghettos and make the urban crisis disappear, and that despite colonial concessions, the developed could return enough charity to the developing that he would be able to satisfy his hunger.


Had nature remained passive and unlimited the question would have been: was that the desirable end? We may hypothesize an isolated situation where a country like the United States (minus its racial components and out of the context of its poor neighbors) went for unlimited material well-being under free enterprise. Would it ever get there? Not unless it changed its basic terms of reference in the meantime, because the driving force of such a system is want. You have to keep running for it, and as long as you are running you haven't reached it, and if you stop running you will never get there! At some stage of material satiation such a society would have to stop and ask the question: so what?


Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, that hypothetical isolated utopia does not exist. In the hypothetical isolation and absence of stimulants we may have imagined the young indoctrinated to follow the path of the older generations, to cherish the same values, and to keep running a long time. In the context of the real world many come earlier to ask the question: so what? And understandably enough, most of them are from "two car families" and above! We are reaching the end of the blind alley. Resources are not unlimited and discrepancies, contradictions, deprivations, conflicts, and hypocrisies are immense.


Above all, our ethics and values are questionable. We are told to tell the truth (because the child who tells the truth is better controllable), and yet we may find in the behavior of our own parents that honesty does not always pay in the way of making a profit! We are taught rectitude but may find the very ones who preach it to be unctuous. We are taught to love our neighbor and see how that love of neighbor has become a material artifact of fund-collecting, while hates and jealousies are what make the competitive world go.


We are told that sex is dirty and that we should get married and raise a family (because that is still the best way of creating responsible citizens). But then we look around us and see our parents' sexual hang-ups, the near-to-pathologic sex commerce, unhappy unions, and lack of communication between parents and children, and we wonder whether the old institution corresponds to the new realities.


The surface is being polished; the dirt is creeping in. The ethical structure of our society is not only hypocritical, it has become, in its artificiality, masturbative and prophylactic! Not only is love dirty, but also the body should not smell, the genital organs are a shame. We are denying nature its empire. The same way we take away the animal waste of the cattle, which nature appreciates, from the prairies of the Midwest and make them "dirt" in human terminology in the feedlots, the same way we are killing our sensual side and inhibiting our energies for the sake of aggressive profit-making! The use of four letter words by the younger generation is not only a revolt against the established hypocrisy; it is a means of shedding away the prophylactic culture. They are making acquaintance with their glands, bowels, and genital organs and their uninhibited functions. Incidentally, this revival of communion with the sensual side of man may help racial understanding between the young blacks and whites in the United States, as the latter start developing and appreciating the sensual side which the former have always enjoyed.


The problem is that the issues are so basic, the solutions so contrary to the established values, and the time for conversion so short that humanity finds itself in the pre-Revolutionary psychological conditions. Some pound the table of argument to the point of revolt; the others stick their heads in the sand for solution.


Those who revolt do so against the established values, but theirs is not necessarily a solution unless they are prepared to go all the way to the logical conclusion of their act. A revolt is not a cure in itself. It is the fever and the bursting of the abscess.


Thus, for example, the hippies are returning to nature. While their way of life is a reaction to the material and technological civilization, one wonders whether in the context of the surrounding technological society it can be a lasting culture and whether it can be an answer to the problem of population increase. It is likely that in the absence of a deep-rooted social and spiritual doctrine, second-generation hippies who will not have the personal experience of their parents about the materialistic civilization will succumb to its glittering polish. That is, if we assume that the first generation itself will not. The hippie experience has yet to stand the test of time. Many attempts at communal life with varying levels of organization have been made in the past, from the Brook Farm Institute to the Oneida Community, and they have not survived.


But suppose a movement for communal simple life and return to nature could create enough of a deep-rooted doctrine which enabled it to perpetuate itself and propagate its message. It will only be serving its purpose of man's salvation if, as indicated earlier, it is prepared to draw the logical conclusion of its raison d'être, i.e., total renunciation of its surrounding technological facilities. No appeal to technology and medicine for better nourishment and health, letting nature regulate their number by famine and disease. Even appendicitis, not to speak of epidemics, can kill a lot of people. Without such renunciation they are solving no problems. They are adding more. The Hutterites, following their simple communal existence have a 4.00 per cent birth rate, together with that of Cocos-Keeling Islands (4.2 per cent) the highest in the world (Eaton and Mayer, 1953; Sheps, 1965; Smith, 1960).


There are those on the other hand who foresee the solutions of man's problems through more of the same things. The more fantastic their forecasts are, the more they skip the phase of conversion and delude themselves in daydreaming. Thus, they say, the day will come when we will live in artificial satellites, extract metals from sea water and ordinary rocks, stabilize world population at about three times its present number, but solve food and health problems by radical transformation of human nutritive habits and universal hygienic inspections. Unfortunately, they don't tell us how they are going to get us there. (Ellul, 1964). Even Ehrlich, who is making more transitional proposals to solve the problems of pollution and population (such as addition of sterilants to staple food or the water supply to keep the population from procreation) does recognize that they are socially unpalatable and politically unrealistic! (Ehrlich, 1968).  It is precisely the social, economic, ethical, and political stumbling blocks which cause some to revolt against the establishment and others to shut their minds about conversion and dream about the next scene, utopia. But they offer no real solutions, and the more we beat around the bush the more it becomes obvious that the key to the problems must be found within the ethical and social contexts which are held as taboos.




“For the great enemy of the truth is very often not

the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the

 myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”[6]


Redefined, in brief, materially speaking, the problem that faces man is that on the one hand he is growing in number and on the other hand he cannot provide for the mass of humanity the comfort, energy and food that it will want. If he technically tries he will face the ecological backlash, and even if he succeeds he will face the spiritual question, "so what?" He has to limit himself in procreation and he must limit the satisfaction of his material wants. The proposition is whether instead of materially restraining himself he will not be better off if he reviews the values on the basis of which he first started on the course towards increase in population and material wants, and to see whether through an intellectual and spiritual reëxamination of his basic values he can change his basic goals.


The assumption is that the desirable end is the happiness of man. If man restrained himself in procreation and satisfaction of his material needs despite the existence of want in him toward these ends he would be unhappy. But if he came to realize and convince himself that these are not desirable goals to start with, then man would find himself in the happy state of rationally and voluntarily not wanting them and finding them superficial and irrelevant.


I say "rationally and voluntarily" in order to distinguish between myth and indoctrination as against reality and will. It is in the latter context that we should look for the solution. A close look at some of our prevailing values will not only show their anachronistic nature, but will reveal that despite the resistance and hostility of the bigots, a trend towards their critical analysis and change has already started. But the pace is slow and the attitude limited to a group of elites who because of other social motivations do not always confess their inclinations. They play the bourgeois game and pay lip service to the religious, political, and economic establishments.


The modern man should realize that the social motivations he has created for material satisfaction and bourgeois contentment have not only ceased to be sufficient for bringing happiness to man but are becoming detrimental to him.


A. Happiness and Knowledge as Values


When we look at some of the values which make the Western civilization go, such as hard work, individual enterprise, and material progress, we get the feeling that our materialistic approach to life somehow missed the Jeffersonian boat. Jefferson had a point when he paraphrased Locke and turned "life, liberty, and property" into "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."


1.      Less Temptation


Is there no better way of being happy than to procure more wealth and do better than others? Does competition really make man happy? Does it offer a means for satisfying wants or does it only provide the social incentive to produce more? Surely if progress and production as social norms could go on with no drawbacks, the artifact of competitive enterprise could make the individual a better tool for the perpetuation of those norms. But if they are going to end up in the pollution of man's body, soul, and environment is it not time to bring a halt to that frenzy?


For the consumer to start wanting less, the producer should want less. But who is the producer and who is the consumer? In 1952 only about 6.5 million, or 4 per cent of the Americans were shareholders, by the end of 1968 some 26.5 million, or 13 per cent of them held shares.[7]


Thus the logical extension of wanting less is really wanting less profit and what has become its ultimate manifestation, money. But capitalists are many. In order to reason with business we have to deal with its shareholders. It is the average shareholder, consumer, and producer, in other words, the public at large whom we have to reach and convince that wanting less is for his own good.


Of course under the present conditions of competitive free enterprise with little regulatory system of distribution we are not well justified to bring this messianic word to the some 26 million people in the United States who are below the poverty line.[8]  The sermon should not be misused as yet another gimmick to make the poor render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. The poor's want is a need, not a frivolous desire. True, it is difficult to draw a hard and fast line between what is needed and what is a superficial desire. But somewhere between the adequate amount of protein for healthy survival, or reasonable shelter on the one hand, and increased temptation to overeat apples by the addition of artificial coloring, or insertion of a semi-nude in a new super car (going 160 mph for highways mostly having limits of 70 mph) to make it irresistible on the other hand, a fairly clear line can be drawn.


We must make a new evaluation of the GNP of junk based on waste economy and conditioning of the consumer through publicity. Is the United States' GNP really comparable to that of Sweden or Germany when they produce a car to last, while the American producer makes a car to go to the junkyard? When most of the private houses in the United States are built to be torn down by the time their mortgages are paid, that is, if they have not been knocked down by a tornado or a hurricane? Not only is the production ephemeral, the consumer has been indoctrinated to want it that way.


The irony of it all is that the indoctrination of the whole population with the lure of materialistic well-being and profit-making has made the task of disentanglement a much more colossal job. Were we faced with a few capitalists, presumably well-educated and materially satiated, we would probably have less trouble demonstrating to them the imminent dangers of over-production and pollution resulting from their appetite for profit. Indeed, some come by themselves to realize that there is more to a man's life than the satisfaction of amassing wealth. Extremes such as David Owen in early 19th century England are few, but Kennedys, Rockefellers, Carnegies, or Fords have social ambitions beyond material profit. Of course, this tendency is also a shortcut direct to power.


But the system has become the peoples' golden calf. The middle-class shareholder buys shares to maximize his profit, not for doing charity. He does that elsewhere at his church or United Fund-adding to his prestige and status. He has the mentality of the common man with the "common" standards of our bourgeois civilization. He wants to be successful.


We have to get to him and tell him that he has fallen into a vicious circle. That where he is running to is nowhere and by accelerating he is only complicating life for himself and humanity. That the faster he runs the less he sees and appreciates what passes him by. It is an absurd thing to do, considering the fact that he is running nowhere. Time is short; we cannot wait for him to come to himself. The younger generation is awakening. But all those over thirty whom they don't trust are going to be around for a long time and will continue on the track set before them and in the process corrupt the young.


In short a crash adult education program to disentangle the people from obsolete myths and values is urgently needed. Granted, man has not been very successful in the past in bringing aesthetic, philosophic, and spiritual appreciation and taste to the level of the commons. But has that not been a question of lack of means to bring adequate education to all? Can the affluent society not make a try at it? There have been times of Buddhist, Judeo-Christian, and Islamic piety when societies lived in relative harmony with themselves and nature. Should man be made reasonable only by the fear of God and heaven? Is there not a possibility that man may rationally limit the use of his material wealth with moderation, distribute it better, and make little waste? Can he not come to use his intellectual and spiritual capacities and his reason to the maximum? 


The hope for some success in this direction exists in the fact that as things go, the growing number of those who live in the congested smoggy concrete jungles may come to see a point in it. It will be easier to convince a New Yorker than a rural villager that he should restrain himself in the use of his car and go for a public transportation system which will be providing facilities for all and therefore will be better distributive, more efficient, and less wasteful.


For this we will have to reverse the trend of present-day salesmanship publicity. Indeed we may have to fight it. Man should not be enticed to long for bigger, faster, and flashier cars with four-barrel exhaust pipes. He should be made conscious that every time he pushes on the pedal and creates more carbon monoxide, he is committing an unethical act-if not a crime-considering the statistics that show the increase of lung and skin diseases due to smog. If air and water are common property, it does not mean that man is at liberty to throw his garbage into them. Every time he does so, whether as an individual or as a manufacturer, he is transgressing the rights of the others who breathe, drink, and use these common properties. The driver should be encouraged to hike whenever he can. It will be good for both his own well-being and his appreciation of his social and natural environment. He should be made to use public transportation which, if he did, would permit its improvement and bring him more in contact with his fellow men.


Along the same lines people should be taught that it is unethical to induce a man to consume more than necessary and to buy what he does not need. That it is unethical to make goods of low quality, which could be made better, and longer-lasting. That it is equally unethical to replace utilities before they cease to be useful and thus create more junk. That products should not keep changing their form and fashion, creating more temptations. That even if it may be economically not profitable, wastes such as scrap iron, paper, glass, etc., should be used to avoid pollution. Many European countries with limited resources have been doing that.


I do realize that all this means less consumption, less production, less profit, and less employment. Reduction in the first three items is the desired end. As for the last item, the assumption is that a total examination of man's goals and values will permit him to realize that in a less competitive and more reasonable society there are better possibilities of social justice and redistribution, permitting all to do their share and satisfy their needs. I do realize the difficulty of bringing about such a drastic change in a civilization so totally deluded in materialistic interests and profit-making that it can hardly find judges for its high court who have not indulged in profitable transactions (viz. Fortas and Haynsworth) and its government has to lift its law on harmful products (cyclamates) and stop pursuing its action against fraudulent banking (numbered bank accounts) under pressures from appropriate lobbies.


In the present psychological state of modern man it is in a way easier to make him take sterilants in his water and staple food as Ehrlich suggests than to do away with his profit (Ehrlich, 1968). Sterilants affect his body which is already full of stimulants, tranquilizers lead, DDT, radiation, etc. What is being suggested here is to lighten his pocket. That hurts. But like the constipated child who has to take his Milk of Magnesia sooner or later, the modern man will have to take the laxative, better sooner than later.


Where is he going to start? Obviously what it all boils down to is a massive eye-opening program. The only problem is that it will need the help of those whom it is eventually going to demystify. But the issue is not as hopeless as it appears because of the seriousness and reality of the hazards involved in not undertaking it.


The conservationist movements may start a campaign similar to the one undertaken by the Cancer Society against the cigarette industry. Congress ended up passing laws against the cigarette industry and curtailing its advertisement. Are the exhaust pipes and what is connected to them or the artificial food coloring not equally noxious for human organisms? In fact, there are more laws than one thinks against abuses by the industry. But very often they are dead letters, not implemented or not properly enforced.


The campaign should in the first place, be directed against commercial advertisement and toward intellectual education of the masses. It will eventually make the politician aware of the problem and make him adhere to it when he sees the possibility of support from an awakened public. Ideally, legislative action should ban publicity and advertisement for commercial purposes, and create incentive for redirecting funds thus liberated to foundations which would make them available to mass media for the development of educational and entertainment programs under the supervision of scientific, cultural, and educational institutions.


Depending on the response from business and industry, laws can be made more or less categorical. There are, no doubt, obstacles in the way of such a project. Only a few years ago the FCC faced the strong opposition of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee for wanting to impose on the industry its own standards for advertisement on the TV and the radio. But what is suggested here is really nothing spectacular. The TV and radio programs of many countries in Europe did not have commercials on them until recently. Now they are trying the American way. The trend could have been in the other direction. Of course, in many of the European countries the TV and the radio stations are under governmental control. In the U. S. they are in the hands of business. Can we not liberate them for a while and see what cultural institutions and higher learning can do to them?


2. More Learning


The scientists should be recruited to co-operate actively in such a campaign. They should also re-evaluate their role and responsibilities within the society. They should be reminded that in the earlier days, material application of research was only an incidental part of the scientific drive. The scientist was learning for the sake of learning, although some became so involved in their drive for knowledge that they sometimes overlooked the side effects and undesirable consequences of their research and discoveries. As the tools of scientific research became more expensive with progress, and as those seeking profit and power found out about the practical uses of science for their own ends, business and government flaunted the facilities they could offer to the scientist and ended up buying his services. The regrets of J. R. Oppenheimer for having unleashed the nuclear power are well known.


In the process, the gap between different branches of science widened. The industrialist in search of profit would immediately opt for the use of technology in the automation of his enterprise or the manufacture of a new product invented by the physicist or the chemist. The works of a political scientist or psychologist pointing to the adverse social effects of the new technology could find no immediate hot buyers. Those interested in the social problems are either social scientists without means for actions, or philanthropists with limited means. The government agencies, in state controlled economies, often behave like the capitalist industrialist, and, in the free enterprise societies, lag behind in dealing with social problems and cope with them only when they become acute or when they help in reelections. The example of water and air pollution in the United States and other industrialized countries is significant.


The scientists are today in a position to act. They should first of all become conscious of their solidarity in their ultimate goal: that of simple and yet immense happiness in learning. They should develop further interdisciplinary consultative mechanisms among the physical, natural, and social sciences enabling them to have a more global approach to the effects and consequences of their scientific advancements. Those who are concerned about the adverse effects of technology and environmental deterioration can help in the establishment of this dialogue between the scientists free from governmental and business patronage. Ways and means should be examined for the control of the indiscriminate use and abuse of scientific discoveries by business and govern­ment. They should assert the rights of the scientists to control the application of their knowledge. Finally, scientists should play a capital role in awakening public interest in the appreciation of knowledge and the joys of learning as an end in itself.


Imagine investing all the money business is spending in publicity for educational purposes. Not only would it stop the creation of new wants, new brands, and new pollutants, but also it would create such a variety of means of learning that knowledge could be made attractive to the most unmotivated and unsophisticated individual.


Man does want to learn. Unfortunately in our materialist and bourgeois civilization the common man is oriented to learn for material goals, not to learn for learning's own sake. His drive for learning is then satisfied by superficialities and gossip; and thus limited and ptone to exploitation for political and economic purposes.


Imagine the day when men can spend their time learning creative art, music, painting and dancing. When they can study oceanography and astronomy, history and anthropology, savor their knowledge of flowers and animals, plains and mountains. When the man you meet will tell you about the interpretation of the prehistoric paintings of Altamira and you can tell him about the latest pictures of animal life in the deep seas. When the man you meet will no longer limit his early questions to whether you have a family and children and how much money you make: Clearly he is the product of our materialistic civilization. These are the same questions the banker asks you in order to give you credit. He does not care whether you are an honest man or not, and, under the circumstances, he is right. If you are a product of this civilization, the best way of checking on your honesty and responsibility is to see whether you have surrounded yourself with the commodities, wife, children and other belongings, which make you materially responsible and respectable. The Wall Street offices were surprised recently to find their hippie messengers more reliable than their usual bourgeois employees.


The time has come for industrialized society to realize that man is not the tool of technology, but the latter at the service of man. Man and nature are the ends. With our means for material satisfaction, let us try the contemplative happiness dear to Aristotle and Jefferson.


B. The End of the Bourgeois Family!


But so far what we have discussed has been aimed at reducing the material wants of man and thus curtailing consumption, production, and therefore the ill of pollution. Whether we have at the same time advanced any solution to the problem of population is not apparent. The modern educated man may prefer his sausages without artificial coloring and delight in the study and admiration of ancient Egyptian obelisks. Why should he stop making children? For that we have to revert back to our original proposition for the critical reexamination of our values and see whether they correspond to our modern realities. The educational programs should not only aim at the appeasement of the material wants, but also question the social myths and values surrounding them.

1. Procreation


"It is the nature of every man to love life and hate death,

to think of his relatives and look after his wife and children.

Only when a man is moved by higher principles is this not so"

Ssu-ma Ch'ien.


The higher animal that man is, according to his findings, controls his behavior more by socialization than by instincts. Thus he should be able to justify his acts and institutions socially. Should he want children? Ehrlich, by adding sterilants to staple food and water supply, wants to make of children a scarce commodity (Ehrlich, 1968). I suggest making man aware, through education, that the reasons for which he wanted children no longer exist and therefore he should no longer desire begetting them and be happy not having them. He should realize that today children are only a heavy social responsibility.


Why did man want children in the first place?[9]  In the social context, the child corresponded to an economic tool in rural areas and early industrial societies. It was also considered as a support for old age. In developed countries, these roles of children are replaced and can be further replaced by social phenomena such as social security and mobile manpower. A survey in Japan shows that while in 1950 more than 55 per cent of those interviewed answered definitely yes to the question as to whether they expected to be supported by their children in their old age, only 27 per cent gave an affirmative answer in 1961 (Freeman, 1968). Incidentally, Japan is one of the nations which have had a descending population growth rate.


In the days when man had little amusement and his entertainment was not diversified, one may well imagine the source of joy the children were. Girls who played with dolls made of cloth rejoiced to change diapers of real babies. Today their early dolls speak, wet, and walk. Nothing is left for them to imagine. And as a young married couple was saying, children would interfere with their social activities, travel, and television watching! If only we could make the contents of these events more meaningful.


Man also saw in children his own continuation after death. But in our fast-moving world, even before their teens children no longer identify with the world their parents have lived in and parents cannot recognize their own image in their progenitor. And then before maturity is reached, children fly away to become often far away acquaintances in the long life which normally awaits aging parents these days. 


Then what is left of the drive for making children? Well, people do not know for sure, but feel they should make them. It is above all the indoctrination received from the parents, which may have been justified in the past when factors reviewed above were still valid, but are no longer. People should be made to understand that it is most irresponsible to inculcate the younger generations with the drive to get involved in marriage and procreation.


No doubt there is much pleasure in holding a child in the arms, caressing its fluffy hands, looking into its big innocent eyes, seeing it smile and mimic. But one should be made aware of all the accompanying troubles and responsibilities. Just because people can engage in sexual intercourse does not make them good parents and educators. They may pass on to new generations the shortcomings of their own character and personality. Much of the generation gap the parents are complaining about is precisely due to the inefficient, permissive, gnomic, and double standard education they have provided for their children.


On the birth of a child, then, the parents should be presented with censure and condolences. Congratulations should go to them if on his 20th birthday their child is well-educated and the parents have managed to keep the lines of communication and understanding open with him!


Should, however, couples beget children while recognizing their incapacity to give them proper education and care, they should see to it that adequate arrangements are made (which they could make on a communal basis near their home base) for the competent men and women with pedagogic inclinations, know-how, and feelings to be entrusted with the care of the children at an early age. This again will not be a spectacular innovation in our proposed campaign but simply will aim at making the masses conscious of what is in reality taking place but is obscured and slowed by deep-rooted obsolete and hypocritical attitudes.


Parents equate happiness and success with getting married and, having children, or men or women want to have a child-as if a child were a toy; and fathers and mothers declare that they want to take care of their children themselves-as if the children were their exclusive property; forgetting that society lives with their children longer than they do![10]


The politician running for election who displays his wife and numerous children on the podium as a factor of persuasion is a doubtful candidate. If his children are well brought up he must be regarded as a selfish man not fit for public office, even if he had a good record of public achievements, because one should wonder how much better he would have done for the people had he not fiddled with his family! If his children are well brought up because he had entrusted their care to competent educators, he has no merit. And finally if his children are not well brought up he is obviously an irresponsible person.[11]


2. Matrimony


Then what of marriage and family, when the incentive of making children is reduced? Traditionally, the family has been the basic social unit for the division of labor. The man used to gain the livelihood outside while the wife had a full-time job making the fire, cooking, washing, sweeping, mending, and looking after the children; and of course, satisfying her husband's sexual appetite-sometimes enjoying it herself too. In most societies, due to the inferior social status of the women this position was equated to a long-term exclusive prostitution in exchange for protection and upkeep.


All these premises of the institution of marriage have become irrelevant. The electrical appliances do better and much quicker cooking, washing, and sweeping than the ablest housewife doing them by hand. Besides, the younger generation of females is not very good at mending and makes a point of it, too! They have gained social equality and do their share of economic division of labor outside the house. On the other hand they come more and more to emphasize that if socially equal they are physiologically different - "Vive la petite différence" said Madame Paul-Boncour. So they ask for their share of orgasms, too, which tends to make sexual relationships not so exclusive after all. Newspapers recently reported liberalization of laws to this effect in Sweden.


Then why marriage, you may ask. Indeed why? For companionship? But does companionship need to be sealed by a contract and consecrated by the Lohengrin nuptial march! Can people, or rather, should people, not simply live together? They will thus daily reaffirm "to love and to cherish" and the hypocritical and ridiculous repetition of "till death do us part" will be avoided for re-wedding divorcees! Marriage should not be the business contract it is. It should in essence sanctify a dimension of love which does not correspond to the reality of the institution we have made of it for the satisfaction of our material purposes.


In a diversified society, where males and females who are attracted to each other may be of different environments, of different educational, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, and may have occupational specializations pulling them apart, would it not be wiser to leave companionship to the free laws of attraction and personal compatibility? You may be surprised; we may well have many more harmonious, long-lasting unions.


For the close of the 1960s, the AP News feature writer, Sid Moody, reported Amitae Etzioni's concern about the danger that the new generation of college girls and boys after living together, avoiding thus the boys' living in fraternities and going to whore houses - which he found wholesome and approved of - may end up not wanting to found families. This, he said is dangerous because family and authority are the basic factors for social order. But doesn't he see that it is precisely the kind of social order we can no longer afford?! The social order which produces more, among other things, people, pollution, and unsatisfied individuals, and whose authority is in the hands of the producing machine which imposes itself on the ignorant masses softened to submit because they have a family to feed and a respectable status to maintain, and because they run and salivate for what the social order has conditioned them to run and salivate for.


Should the future social order not rely instead on responsible and educated individuals who have cultivated the wisdom of limited wants, and boundless contemplative, spiritual, and aesthetic joys? Anarchy has two meanings; one is the more popular understanding of it as a state of chaos, the other the highest degree of individual's consciousness of his social role and responsibility to an extent which makes external control and authority meaningless. Has the time not come to try it? The time is too short to go for anything less than man's ultimate dreams. This seems the only realistic way!


C. Nation Among Nations


But who is going to try it? The western affluent society? Then what will become of the 800 million Chinese, the 400 million Indians, and those millions who, under the banner of Marxism, have set the goal of surpassing the United States in material production.


So far I have tried, I hope with some success, to combat hypocritical values and situations. At this stage stepping on a few more toes will make no difference. So let us examine some of the international dimensions of the problem.


A program of the nature proposed above will aim at a more educated public, a more distributive economy, and enlightened human beings who will be less aggressive as a nation on the international plane. The United States or for that matter any developed country will not be able to envisage such a situation unless it has sufficient grounds to believe that this policy is the general trend of all developed countries.


There must also be reasonable hopes that the developing countries have overcome their inferiority complex of wanting to get in the same critical situation in which the developed countries find themselves. They should be prepared to modify their national Weltanschauung and to adopt a policy of growth which will not create in their population the frenzy for excessive material goals, but will blend with it contemplative, aesthetic, and philosophic dimensions. This proposition may be easier for the Eastern people than for the West because of already existing deep-rooted traditional premises. Like the western traditions, however, theirs should be purged of superstitions and obsolete myths. It is unfortunate that in the East, too, spiritual values are dying in the face of glittering material incentives.


As one follows meetings, committees, and conferences on pollution and population, one distinguishes between the two opposing concerns of the haves and the have-nots. Even when a conference is a national gathering, the particular concern of the category involved is discernible. The haves are really afraid of population. "They are going to come and get us," one seems to read in the back of their minds: the Visigoths plundering Rome, the hordes of Attila and Chengis Khan galloping across the European plains, the Turks charging the walls of Constantinople.


The have-nots are thirsty for material comfort and power. They seem to think: "They don't want us to get there," and their thought invokes the specter of colonial days. A close look at the U. N. debates on the subject will provide revealing samples of the hidden motives. They cut across ideological frontiers. The Soviets want to get "there" and at the same time are afraid that "they" will come and get them.


The madness of competitive enterprise has become an international ill. How can those fighting the construction of SST not realize that the United States cannot renounce such means of transportation when others have it? That is the only way to stay ahead, to remain vigilant and defend the national interests. The others think the same way, both the haves and the have-nots, each holding to their respective weapons and, in the process, committing suicide. The technologically advanced are going at it full speed for total pollution. The underdeveloped, especially the competitive ones, are holding to their ultimate weapon: the masses, to starvation (Pearson, 1969).


According to the latest information, the Soviets are dotting their Chinese frontier with missiles, and, last August, nominated General Vladimir-Tolubko, missile expert, to head the Far Eastern Military district, while the Chinese Militia, estimated at some 200 million, are digging individual fall-out shelters on the other side of the border (L'Express, 1969). The eventuality of such a confrontation, which will drag the whole of humanity into disaster, may seem absurd. But has man not committed more absurdities than reasonable deeds? Only this time we are more numerous and we have more destructive toys at our disposal.


Then should the developed countries not feed the hungry before "dematerialization?" Had there been a possibility of success, it could have been considered. True, if the United States cultivated all its arable lands to the maximum, she would be able to fill in the world food shortage in the 1970s and even have a surplus. That is to say, by extensive use of energy, pesticides, and fertilizers, turning her lands into vulnerable reservoirs of chemicals and its waters into algae soup! Yet at the present rate of world population growth, the battle will be lost sometime around 1980. Besides its not being realistic, this kind of concessional help risks damage to the aided country's agricultural development by killing local incentive (Pearson, 1969).


Let us, then, face the fact that the world, divided as it is between the haves and the have-nots and along ideological lines, with its limited food producing capacity and its growing population, has a problem. A serious problem of survival. As things stand the problems can be solved only at the price of great sufferings, sacrifices and compromises. Unfortunately, at the international level, the egocentric and ethnocentric tendencies of man are more accentuated and the means available for curing them inadequate. It is easier in the national context to make a campaign to persuade those who are struggling in the smog against social injustice and anachronic social structures near to their skin to take a second look at their values and institutions. It is more difficult to make the fat, developed nation to feel what chronic hunger feels like, or to make a deprived nation realize the emptiness of material prosperity in a dog-eat-dog smoggy world. It has to get to their skin before they feel it, and by then it will be too late.


At the international level, means of persuasion are limited and the anachronistic concept of sovereignty supreme. Under such circumstances, achieving the strict minimum for man's survival will be the greatest feat of mankind in the coming decades. Sad as it is, it will be proving immense naiveté to recommend that nations turn their tanks into tractors.


The recent Pearson report makes a whole range of recommendations for the minimum degree of co-operation needed in way of development (Pearson, 1969). Let us hope that by the time of the U. N. Conference on Man and His Environment in Stockholm in 1972, the developed donors of technical assistance will have pledged themselves and started implementing the recommendations of the Pearson Commission to bring their resource transfers to developing countries to a minimum of one per cent, and their official development assistance to a level for the net disbursements of 0.70 per cent of their GNP by 1975.


Let us also hope that by 1972, the developing countries will be in a position to take the responsibilities that go along with sovereignty and independence and will pledge themselves not to require foreign concessional food aids by 1975, except in cases of natural catastrophes. Such a proposition seems to be in line with the actual trend in many developing countries and could be achieved by all if they directed their national efforts to the rational use of their agricultural resources. Hoping that it will be brought about more by better management and improved agricultural techniques, such as extensive farming and choice of superior seeds, than by excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


A policy of this nature will also have to bring about the purge mentioned earlier of the superstitions and obsolete traditional myths and practices which constitute social and economic stumbling blocks particular to those societies. Here again the role of a mass national educational campaign becomes obvious.


We have to recognize however that a special effort is needed on the part of the United States to do her share, even in this limited international program. In 1968, the U. S. official development assistance constituted only 0.38 per cent of the GNP (Pearson, 1969 - Table 7-3). Further, a substantial amount of U. S. aid to developing countries has been in food aid (31 per cent of the U. S. aid commitments in 1967). This is due to the fact that the U. S. food aid to developing countries ever since 1954 has at the same time served as a self-help to regulate the national food production surplus (another materialistic dimension of this culture).


So if by 1975 the developing countries are to stop asking for concessional food aid, and if the United States is to reach the minimum target of resource transfer and official development assistance of 1 and 0.70 per cent of her GNP respectively, the campaigners against pollution should include foreign aid in their mass education program.


They should also take into consideration the broader international problems briefly referred to earlier and realize that, for example, an international conference such as the one planned for 1972 in Stockholm on pollution and population will not be a realistic undertaking if it does not have the 800 million Chinese represented, or does not link its topic directly to the questions of disarmament and development.




It may sound a curious proposition to the conservationist to be asked to look into our material, ethical, social, and international values and problems in order to save the trees, flowers, and animals he cherishes. But that is where I think he should start. And he had better start quickly, because the alternatives will not, I am afraid, be to his liking.


At the one extreme is the very serious threat, considering the idiocy of mankind, of a nuclear war. Its protagonists should, by the way, be made aware that it would not be a short one. With the miseries, hates and deprived masses that it will leave behind, man will get involved in a long and savage war degrading him to the stone ages on top of the ashes and blown around by the radiated air.


At the other extreme is the technologically perfect world which is no longer in the realm of science fiction but a reality awaiting us around the year 2000, that is, if we ever get there. If we did, we would no longer be we! After the Beckwith/Shapiro recent scientific achievement at Harvard of isolating the single gene, it will soon be possible for man to manipulate genes to produce the ideal man." Or shall we say the ideal "being"? Man's ideal being. And that creature will not look like man at all. We are already planning ahead. The prototype is not yet ready but some ideas are crystallizing.


For example, according to Nobel Prize winner physicist, Charles H. Townes, man should be smaller and lighter, and according to Dr. D. Recaldin of London University, he should have chlorophyll under his skin in order to perform photosynthesis like plants. He will be green?! Then why not have wings too? And why should we see only in front of us? Why not have compound eyes? We will nearly succeed being bees, green bees! Maybe this is the way bees started on the road to beehood!  We must also consider the fact that we will also be able to grow children in vitro, and not just any child. We will use congealed ovum and sperm of selected men and women who have passed away and whose superiority we can objectively determine on the basis of their deeds (Ellul, 1964; Rosenfeld, 1969). Man will feed on synthetic food and acquire knowledge through electronic messages directly transmitted to his nervous system. Obviously man's social problems will be solved by proper arrangement of the genes and the electronic messages so that everybody will be performing his social role satisfactorily and with satisfaction. These are not phrases taken from Huxley's Brave New World. Besides, Huxley's dream is rather simplistic compared to what science has in reserve for us. Charles H. Townes and Herman Muller are Nobel Prize winners! Jules Verne and H. G. Wells predicted man's adventure in the space. We did it. How are we not to get to the Brave New World?


“God is dead! God remains dead! And we killed him!. . . What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event, - and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!” - Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. “I come too early,” he then said; “I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is traveling - it has not yet reached men's ears. Lightening and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star - and yet they have done it!” (Nietzche, 1882)






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[1] This article was originally prepared as a discussion paper for groups concerned with ecological problems following the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO's National Conference on "Man and His Environment" in San Francisco in November, 1969.  It was published in: D. R  Scoby (ed), Environmental Ethics, Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Co., 1970.

[2] Reported by L. W. Lane, Jr., to the U. S. National Commission Conference on "Man and His Environment" in San Francisco, November, 1969.

[3] After being labeled "backward" and "underdeveloped."

[4] For an interesting conceptual approach to the problem see Joseph L. Spengler, Values and Fertility Analysis in Demography 1966, 111, 1, pp. 109-130.

[5] The technological feasibility is, however, not a real possibility as demonstrated in the following table (Sanders and Ruttan, 1969):

Estimated levels of population, income, food demand, and food increase in the developing countries, in 1980 (1968 = 100):

Population ……………………………………………………………….136

Per Capita Income …………………………………………………...…..133*

Food Demand ……………………………………………………………157*

Historic Food Production ……………………………………………...   140

Probable Food Production    …………………………………………..…151

Technologically Feasible Food Production  …………………………...   .160

*The discrepancy between the per capita income increase and food demand is due to the fact that the undernourished population will spend a greater part of its earlier income increase to purchase additional foodstuff. As we shall see later, even if the technologically feasible food production could be materialized, other  problems would arise.

[6] J. F. Kennedy, Yale University Commencement, June 11, 1962.

[7] Data compiled by the New York Stock Exchange as of January 15, 1969.

[8] Source, U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1967. See also Herman P. Miller, “The Composition of the Poor”, in Margaret S. Gordon (ed.), Poverty in America, San Francisco, Chandler Publishing Company, 1965. Notably Table 7 for statistics which, although pertaining to 1960, make a better point of poverty-stricken families.

[9] Maybe we should record here the currently prevailing socio-psychological and biological thesis according to which women's maternal drive is due to socialization rather than instinct. We should therefore search for the cause of the drive for procreation in the social context.

[10] For other views on these topics see Albert Rosenfeld, The Second Genesis, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1969.

[11] Maybe he should be allowed a maximum of two children. The knowledge of the children's behavior is important for a man who holds public office. He can, by observing the growth of the children, find out how much of childishness remains in man through the ages, hidden under the veneer of old age and respectability