Hardin is afraid of unbridled population growth and this colors his thinking. Yes, feeding starving Ethiopians today will produce more mouths to feed in the future. But, what should we do, let them starve?
Hardin applauds Chinese efforts to control their numbers, but the relationship between this and feeding their people is overlooked. China began its program at population control when it was well on the way to feeding its people.
Between 1900 and 1984 75 countries ended hunger. None of them did so by first reducing their population. The real sequence is that after parents see that their children will survive, they stop having so many kids. Hardin should apply his biblical supply-and-demand law here--when the supply of available children is sufficient, the demand will go down.
It is true, though, that we cannot do these things for other governments. When they decide that they truly want to end hunger then we can help. Too many African governments, Ethiopia included, are sending mixed messages about this. We need to continue our aid programs at the same time we put diplomatic pressure on these kinds of "leaders" to get on with the job.
ROGER D. PETERSON