Sustainable Population: Australia and the Population-National Security Complex
by Michael Barker
(Swans - May 4, 2009) In March 2008, Sustainable Population Australia celebrated their 20th anniversary by organizing a two-day conference titled “Population, Peak Oil, Climate Change: their impact on the Millennium Development Goals.” For most concerned citizens it is commonsensical that all three of the issues examined at this conference — population, peak oil, and climate change — are intimately linked: however, as I demonstrated within a recent Monthly Review Zine article, the longstanding focus on the population question by leading environmentalists is severely problematic.
To summarize my argument: simply put the modern-day birth of the environmental movement in the United States (and elsewhere) evolved in large part from the success of an increasingly powerful population control movement. With massive financial and technical support from ostensibly progressive liberal philanthropists, like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, by the late 1950s the population issue was adopted by the military-industrial complex, creating what has been referred to as the population-national security theory, a dubious theory that Professor Eric Ross notes, causally linked “overpopulation, resource exhaustion, hunger, political instability, communist insurrection, and danger to vital American interests.” Here it is noteworthy that these same liberal philanthropists also played a key role in promoting the population control movements’ predecessor; that is, eugenics.