World's Second Richest Man Gives It Away…to World's Richest Man


Warren Buffett announces plans to hand over 83 percent of his $44 billion to Bill Gates' foundation. While the reasons are philanthopic, the dark comedy of it all when contemplating old sayings such as "the rich get richer" is too rich to not note.

Another thing not noted, by this Washington Post report on the Warren Buffett giveaway to his friend Bill Gates, is that one of the Gates Foundation's main concerns is what used to be called "population control"–a popular concern of the superrich, though that phrase is apparently considered just too, too crude nowadays. The billionaires are consciously following in the ideological footsteps of 1994's UN International Conference on Population and Development; back when that conference was fresh, I questioned the weird game played between the Vatican and UN population bureaucrats ("popucrats," a neologism I'm pretty happy never caught on) at that Cairo conference here:

The headlines on the conference played up the phony conflict over abortion and contraception. By calling the conflict phony, I don't mean to imply that the Vatican and the handful of other countries joining in its disapproval were insincere….

But their objections did play a useful role for their opponents, who had no intention of heeding them. Popucrats and the press were able to portray only superstitious reactionaries straight out of the Middle Ages as fighting the self-evidently humane and necessary goal of tripling world government spending on birth prevention to $17 billion a year. Thus, even the thought that there might be informed secular arguments against centralized population control was shut out of the debate. Cries of "Will no one save me from this meddlesome priest?" echoed through the still Cairo air, but it was howled with a wink…..

Since the Vatican is as much against genuine reproductive freedom as the mainstream popucrats, the real question about overpopulation wasn't asked at Cairo. What are we talking about when we talk about "overpopulation"? In his statements at the conference, Vice President Al Gore indulged in the usual anti-natalist trick of merely tossing out growing population numbers ominously, as if they were self-evidently frightening…..

Popucrats insist that only ignorance and lack of access to contraceptives make Third World women have as many babies as they do (though even less-developed nations' fertility rates are declining). Yet a recent World Bank-sponsored study found that "actual fertility increases almost one-for-one with desired fertility."

Though the Cairo document talks of reproductive freedom, the popucrats are bedeviled by pesky human desires that don't jibe with what they know is good for us. There is thus a stark contradiction between population goals and reproductive freedom…..

Some recent UN data on population, showing growth rates down to 1.2 percent annually, from 2 percent annually in the late 1960s.

Our own Ron Bailey explains why overpopulation fears are the bunk.