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Debating Matters: Population


In this preparation seminar for the Debating Matters national finals, Spiked Online’s Brendan O’Neill goes head-to-head with Adrian Stott from the Optimum Population Trust.  While Adrian advocates cutting back on humanity to save the environment, paying women not to have babies and tells us African men effectively commit mass rape, Brendan argues that such views are profoundly anti-human, authoritarian and a case of Malthusians finding the latest justification for pure prejudice. Brendan reminds us that the growth in our numbers is the outcome of better health and longer life expectancy and people are not just some biological entity or ‘another mouth to feed’ but creative beings that make great things happen.

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Related topics: Debates, Global, Social Change

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eiram said:

Brendan O’neill has the right to argue that human beings are the solution given the faculties which can bring to bear the problems we face. However, before a human being to attain sane and highly developed faculties to be creative in technology, he/she has to survive the everyday challenges of nutritious food, quality education, global experience (maybe possible through internet). In the third world countries, those poor families with meager wage has the most number of children. What is the possibility that these children will be healthy in mind and body? What is the possibility that these children will be sent to quality school or even just to school? And these uneducated children end up as slaves in corporate greed.

flintoff said:

This video contains a very interesting debate between Adrian Stott of the Optimum Population Trust and Brendan O’Neill of Spiked Online. The former sets out the case for action to be taken to prevent further population growth on the grounds that current population levels threaten the survival of the species, and the latter argues that this argument is simply odd-style Malthusianism in a modern guise. One might say that Stott is taking a realist position about human numbers amid dwindling resources on the planet, while O’Neill is arguing that human beings are the solution given the faculties which they can bring to bear on the problems we face.