Seven Billion People and Counting

 by Mario Rizzo  

There has been quite a lot a talk in the last few days about the coming (or already-here) seven-billion world population. It is a truly amazing number.

Many pro-market and orthodox Catholics  will say this is a good thing. Remember Adam Smith’s dictum “The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market.” It is true that a large population implies, in a system of natural liberty, larger markets, greater division of labor and hence greater productiveness of labor. There are many other advantages as well.

The orthodox Catholics will decry “artificial” birth control, including the use of condoms. Whether the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission is morally permitted is still not clear in the papal teaching.

And yet there are massive numbers of people unable to feed themselves, dying of HIV, and unable to govern themselves in a way that produces peace. Unfortunately, it is just here that population is growing most rapidly.

So I may be forgiven if I think that seven billion people is a mixed blessing, at best.