At one time, organizations like WorldWatch said that countries such as China and India were doomed to poverty and starvation unless drastic action was taken to reduce the population of such countries. Instead, what has happened is that China and India are gradually pulling themselves out of poverty. Rather than be glad their doomsaying predictions did not come true, however, now WorldWatch and other warn that a wealthy China or India is even worse than poverty and hunger.
In a press release announcing publication of its 2006 State of the World, WorldWatch said,
“Rising demand for energy, food, and raw materials by 2.5 billion Chinese and Indians is already having ripple effects worldwide,” says WorldWatch President Christopher Flavin. “Meanwhile, record-shattering consumption levels in the U.S. and Europe leave little room for this projected Asian growth.” The resulting global resource squeeze is already evident in riots over rising oil prices in Indonesia, growing pressure on Brazil’s forests and fisheries, and the loss of manufacturing jobs in Central America.
Typical WorldWatch nonsense. Consider the Indonesian oil price riots. Presumably, WorldWatch is referring to disturbance that occurred in October 2005 when the government announced fuel price increases of 87 percent to 186 percent depending on the type of fuel.
But Indonesia’s fuel price problems have less to do with a global resource squeeze than a local excess of corruption and poor investment in that nation’s oil resources. Southeast Asia’s only OPEC member, Indonesia is forced to import oil because of the government’s longstanding mismanagement of its petroleum resources.
Those policies (or lack thereof) are then compounded by Indonesia’s tremendous outlay for fuel subsidies which artificially lowered the price of fuel for Indonesians. Indonesia spends up to 1/3rd of its total government budget on fuel subsidies.
Indonesia’s problem — like much of the poor in the Third World — is endemic mismanagement and corruption, not its increase in population and/or wealth.
Indonesia clashes over fuel hike. The BBC, October 1, 2005.