I have always been amused whenever I watch Bill Gates insisting that the earth has a population problem. He vehemently believes that available resources are not enough to go round. Hence, population control becomes pertinent.
However, this appears to be far from the truth. While one may agree that there has been a dramatic rise in world population for over four score years now due to several obvious factors like better standard of living, improved health care system, and lesser conflicts, we are yet to reach that stage where available resources can no longer be sufficient for everyone; and I do not think that time will ever come.
The problem with the world is the system of greed that controls us all. We have built societies and civilisation based on this system of greed. And what is more? We have endorsed and accepted it as the norm.
For example, how many times have we asked ourselves how come all the wealth of the world is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals even as others have nothing? Why does one individual own five private jets, fleets of vehicles, and even yachts even though he can only use one at a time? What do you need a house with fifty rooms for if you can only sleep in one room? Why does your bank account read in billions while others barely have enough to eat? Why do some people have enough to last them 200 years when they cannot live beyond 100?
People like to give this accumulation of wealth different names. We call it investment, being smart, business oriented, saving for tomorrow etc. And it did not begin today, it probably began in ancient times with those appointed as leaders or kings who wanted to live their paradise whilst still on earth. So they went on accumulating wealth beyond what they really needed or could use. Today, that tradition has been handed down to our business men and political leaders.
Under this system can we better understand the concepts of conquests, building of empires, industrialisation, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. For example, while the west finds it easy to point accusing fingers at Africa whenever population growth is mentioned, it fails to mention how the wealth of Africa was plundered to raise castles in Europe. It does not mention the fact that France is still siphoning funds in billions of dollars from its erstwhile colonial territories. No one is asking why European countries are still in Africa digging oil wells. And recently, the Chinese have joined them in plundering Africa’s resources as well. When countries with abundance decide to steal from countries with little, will the resources ever be enough?
While we cannot begrudge people for choosing to build empires of wealth, it is important to note that the resources of the world will never be sufficient for everyone–even if there are only two humans left on earth–should this trend be maintained. The solution to the world problem is to work towards a system that ensures that available resources get to everyone, even if not in equal proportion. It would be absolutely unfair to deposit blame at the threshold of population increase and pretend that we do not notice that the wealth of the world is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or groups of people. And the sooner we rid ourselves of this greed, the better for us all.
© Ubaji Isiaka Abubakar Eazy 2020