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Population Control

Date: 06-21-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Matthew Connelly, Donna Dickenson

During the first half of the program, Ian was joined by author Matthew Connelly, who shared his research into the history of world population control and the underlying misconception that all of the world's big problems (poverty, war, pollution, etc.) have been caused because there are too many people on the planet.

Connelly discussed some of the people and organizations involved in population control, including the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the United Nations, and Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. He said Sanger's birth control movement eventually came to be allied with the unsavory agendas of eugenists. Connelly talked about one Ford Foundation consultant's 1968 suggestion to use crop dusters to spray sterilizing agents over the entire country of India. He further noted that the United Nations has also tried to control India's population by providing grants for sterilization programs.

Connelly revealed some of what his research of the Secret Vatican Archives uncovered. According to Connelly, the Vatican's opposition to artificial birth control stemmed from their concern that women who could control their reproductive destinies would be more independent and threaten the power that fathers had over their families. Connelly also said some of the problems associated with large populations had more to do with politics and distribution than any real scarcity of resources. Connelly pointed out that the average American consumes in food and energy about 180,000 calories/day. The average human everywhere else on Earth only uses about one sixth as much, he said.

Bodies & Profit

In the last two hours, activist and academic Donna Dickenson discussed the commercialization of the human body. According to Dickenson, we do not 'own' our own bodies in any legal sense -- a fact corporations and universities have used to their advantage. Dickenson cited the case of John Moore, who in 1976 had an operation to have his spleen removed. Researchers later developed a cell line worth $3 billion from Moore's tissue. Moore sued and a court ruled that he had no right to profit from the commercialization of anything developed from tissue removed from his body, she said.

Dickenson reported on the organ trade in China, where tissues and organs from executed prisoners are sold "to order." She also talked about women in India who sold their kidneys to make money after the 2004 tsunami. Most of the organ money went to a broker, she explained, noting that 75% of the women who sold their kidneys remained in debt and with poorer health. Dickenson also commented on the Eastern European egg trade, patenting genes, as well as private cord blood banks, who she said provide a product with only "speculative future benefits."

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