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The Issue of Scarce Resources

What we have briefly discussed so far would lose much of its force and meaning if the human race was running out of land. But there seems to be little danger of that. Estimatedly, the current world population inhabits no more than 3 percent of the land surface of the earth, and the amount of habitable land is not limited. Also, when deep concern is shown at the continuously falling land: man ratio as a result of the population growth, one fails to observe that land productivity is simultaneously increasing at a much faster rate. “The gravest fallacy of economic analysis is the assumption that something is static, when, in fact, it is variable.” It also loses sight of the enormous possibilities, such as fusion energy, laser-industrial and laser-chemical processes, hydroponic agriculture or space biotechnologies, available to the human species.

The belief that people “breed like dogs, pigs and rats” and that they have no regard for the consequences to themselves and hence need must be trained how to manage their family life is grossly erroneous and offensive. We are told that families in the advanced countries decide more intelligently how many children to have. It implies that people of the less developed South are considered indifferent fools. It is an insult to their humanity. No matter what the “poor” people decide, they always regulate family size according to their circumstances, constraints and incentives. The most outstanding proof is that even the highly fertile women living at the lowest ebb of decency do never have all the children they could bear.


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Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.