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Global Monitoring Report 2010: What about Population Growth?

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

April 23, 2010 - Washington DC., World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2010. Global Monitoring Report: The MDGs after the Crisis.

Measuring human progress is a messy, complicated effort. The Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, are an effort to bring some standardization to that process, but the 8 globally agreed goals are viewed by some as a construct that handicaps the poorer countries into a race where they started a lap behind many other nations.

It's 10 years since the goals were agreed and 2010 has been designated the 'Year of the MDGs' by the UN and its partners. If all this helps feed hungry families, educate more kids and increase the distribution of antiretroviral drugs, I'm all for it. Good thing I feel that way, since I was working with the team that launched the Global Monitoring Report 2010: The MDGs After the Crisis on April 23.

Yet beyond the goals, targets and exhortations, as well as useful forecasts of extreme poverty rates in 2015, I wonder about the elephant in the room: population growth.

April 23, 2010 - Washington DC., World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2010. Global Monitoring Report: The MDGs after the Crisis. Justin Lin, WB Chief Economist and Snr. VP, Development Economics; Murilo Portugal, IMF Deputy Managing Director; Hugh Bredenkamp, IMF Deputy Director, Strategy Policy and Review Department; Delfin Go, WB Lead Economist and lead author, GMR

Seems to me that the inexorable crowding of the planet and the high birth rates in poor countries is under-studied and even ignored when in reality demographics will shape our future, more people will gobble our resources and our sheer numbers will play a huge role in whether we attain the MDGs. So, I urge readers to both check out the Global Monitoring Report, but also to check out the commentary by Robert Walker, Executive Vice President of the Population Institute on Huffington Post.

It may be politically incorrect, but unless we lift the taboo of talking about how to tackle population growth, I fear our laudable efforts at poverty reduction and advancing the human condition won't get too far.

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Comments

Can you explain what looks like an overwhelming propensity not to more adequately use our prodigious collective intelligence of humanity when it comes to sharing an understanding of the profound implications both of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth? Are we not witnessing the most momentous failure of reason and common sense in our lifetime? Experts the world over appear to be conspicuously refusing to speak about "the whole" of what they know to be true with regard to the proverbial mother of human-driven threats to human wellbeing and environmental health. Almost everyone I respect seems to be unready, unwilling and unable to think critically, examine objectively and speak truthfully about this single topic. It is as if we are in a one-of-a-kind-situation when what could somehow be true is everywhere eschewed. In every other moment of human history I can recall, the guide post, the watchwords or the shibboleth of humanity regarding truth went something like this: "Truth alone triumphs" ~ motto of India ~ "Satyameva jayate" (Sanskrit). Natural philosophers and scientists have been speaking out about what they somehow knew to be true for hundreds of years. We appear to be in a time and of a generation in which the whole truth, based upon the best available science, is rejected. With regard to the primary cause of certain converging global threats to life as we know it and the integrity of our planetary home, elective mutism orders the days of our lives. On what grounds is the rejection of what is somehow real to be justified? On this good evening I trust my note finds all of you well.

I do not know if I am right or wrong to ask directly and repeatedly for truth, as each of us sees it, to be spoken loudly and clearly so that people can share an understanding of the global predicament looming ominously before humanity. But, it does appear to me that if people with knowledge lose faith in God's gift of science by denying its presence and remaining electively mute while selfish, shortsighted leaders go forward unsustainably on the basis of specious, preternatural thinking, then the human community has no chance whatever of responding ably (ie, in sustainable ways) to the human-induced challenges before all of us. I am trying to encourage the lighting of candles because the darkness enveloping the "primrose path" many too many so-called leaders are so adamantly advocating and recklessly pursuing is anathema to me.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Natural philosophers and scientists have been speaking out about what they somehow knew to be true for hundreds of years. We appear to be in a time and of a generation in which the whole truth, based upon the best available science, is rejected. With regard to the primary cause of certain converging global threats to life as we know it and the integrity of our planetary home, elective mutism orders the days of our lives. On what grounds is the rejection of what is somehow real to be justified? roundandbrown

If the natural world is to be given its due and the human world is not to go utterly mad, then we have a great deal of work ahead of us. What troubles me is the way ‘the brightest and best’; the smartest guys in the room; the ones who report they have not flown commercial since the 70s; the casino operatives who have added nothing to the human economy and marked themselves as thieves of the highest order; the relentless plunderers of Earth’s resources and reckless degraders of its environs; the greediest among us who have hoarded most of the world’s wealth but done nothing productive to obtain it; those who live long and large without regard to human limits and Earth’s limitations, engage so righteously in conscious deception as well as in willful denial of any effort to communicate about matters of concern that do not buttress their selfish interests. These self-proclaimed masters of the universe have much larger, more fashionable and ever important agendas than educating the human family, telling the truth and doing the right thing, I suppose. Perhaps the time has come to sort out what is sacred from what is profane about the predominant culture. We need to do this one thing soon, I suppose, because what is profane about the culture is threatening to overwhelm the whatsoever else is sacred in the planetary home we inhabit. At least to me there is something perverse harbored within a culture that makes it ok for the most arrogant, clever and greedy among us to “obey the laws” and still destroy everything which is known to be sacred in the planetary home God blesses us to inhabit…and not desecrate as is plainly occurring in our time. Sad to say, the children will be justified to look back in anger and utter disbelief at the way their avaricious leading elders dishonestly and duplicitously destructed the natural world, even as they claimed so seductively, arrogantly and self-righteously not only to be protecting and preserving God’s Creation but also to be doing “God’s work”. What a shame it is that a tiny minority of morally bankrupt, craven greedmongers are allowed to perpetrate a sham in the name of the human community and God which will likely turn our planetary home into a shambles!

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