Dick Smith

Nothing annoys me more than when people such as Dick Smith (who have made a fortune and live extremely comfortable lives) argue that economic development should be stopped. The same special pleading is heard from the inner-Sydney elites, comfortable in their Balmain apartments, who despise those living in the western suburbs seeking a better life. They wish to protect their fortunes while denying the opportunity of a better life to others.

Smith’s latest op ed in the Australian (subscription required) reeks of this hypocrisy. He is on a crusade for zero population growth (or rather negative population growth) in Australia.

Apart from Antarctica, Greenland and Mongolia, would Smith care to nominate a country with fewer people per square kilometre than Australia? We have a population density of around 3 persons / km2. Even the 40,000 people who live in Iceland have to cope with a greater population density than Australia.

For countries with a population of 10 million or more, Australia is by far the least densely populated in the world.

While there are many arid areas in Australia – which is also true of many other countries – the suggestion that it cannot support a higher population with high living standards is absurd.

If Australia had the same population density as:

  • Canada, we would have a population of 26,888,000
  • Sweden, we would have a population of 161,328,000
  • USA, we would have a population of 238,151,000
  • Italy, we would have a population of 1,536,460,000
  • UK, we would have a population of 1,805,340,500

Smith’s proposition is not only absurd, but unethical and evil. His special pleading should be ignored and ridiculed. With sensible planning and other regulatory, IR and social security policies, Australia could support a significantly higher population while enjoying higher living standards. We are likely to be well short of the optimal population (which itself would vary by factors such as technology, labour market regulations and so forth).

If Smith believes that Australia’s population is presently too large, would he care to nominate the optimal population? 1? 1,000? 1,000,000?

As for the world populati0n – which is not addressed in Smith’s column but seems the focus of his website – would he care to consider that lower population growth rates are strongly associated with higher living standards? The world’s population is projected to peak in around 2050, and then decline over time. If the governments of the world implemented sensible policies – property rights, rule of law, prosecution of corruption, flexible labour markets, sound macroeconomic fundamentals and free markets – the decline would be inexorable. This doesn’t require a decision of government, merely good government allowing individuals to live free lives and trade amongst each other knowing their property rights will be respected.

But Smith implies that governments should be active in reducing population. Such, perhaps, as China’s one child policy; eugenics and genocide.

This is why I have used the word ‘evil’ deliberately. This is a strong ethical issue and Smith’s advocacy has crossed that line. While I don’t believe Smith is personally evil, his policies would, in my opinion, promote evil.

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122 Responses to Dick Smith

  1. Winston SMITH says:

    “While I don’t believe Smith is personally evil, his policies would, in my opinion, promote evil.”

    Come on Samuel. If the person calls for evil solutions to deal with a ‘problem’, then surely they are evil?
    The only difference between Smith, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are the ability to carry out their social policies.
    You may argue that he wouldn’t endorse concentration camps, gulags, or killing fields, but he hasn’t articulated his preferred method of population reduction despite the opportunity to do so. Until he does clarify his policy, I would reserve the right to assume he may be mad and could well be going down the Totalitarian path.

  2. m0nty says:

    Godwin in the first comment. Nice work.

  3. Ed Snack says:

    Iceland, with 40,000 people ? Methinks a zero has gone missing ?

  4. Irving J says:

    Godwin in the first comment. Nice work

    wow what a brilliant criticism. I am just so overwhelmed by your powers of insight. Only problem is you didn’t find an opening for calls of racism and it’s for the children.

  5. m0nty says:

    Considering you just said Dick Smith is ideologically identical to three of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century, Irving, you have no credibility left on any topic.

  6. Gab says:

    so anyways, back to the actual topic...

    Dick says in that mangled and tortured confusion of an article:

    For example, the report calls for more planning and assumes we have no option but to keep increasing our population at world-beating levels.

    World-beating levels? The average population growth rate for planet is 1.17%. Australia’s rate is 1.01% according to the UN 2006 figures. We are listed as #127 – hardly a danger to the planet.

  7. TerjeP says:

    Dick Smith is bored and needs a hobby horse to play on. Can’t an old rich guy have a little fun.

  8. Irving J says:

    Your glasses need a new diopter methinks. I said no such thing, I can say you are a stupid little commie, so why don’t you go and pay some more taxes.

    Being a commie and a capitalist is inconsistent, you are just plain deluded.

  9. brc says:

    I have yet to be convinced why another very large city couldn’t be created somewhere north of the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s not like people don’t like warm weather, or there is a shortage of available energy or water, or anything.

    I’d personally like to see a 21st century version of the original Sydney arise. A shanty-town full of optimism and action, where the places is growing faster than the rules, where you might go for a second start.

    You could kick off such a thing by taking some current small town and declaring it a special economic zone, in the likes of Hong Kong. Lower taxes and regulations, and little or no help from the Feds apart from a shove along with some roads and a port. A little principality for the people within the borders of the country.

    The problems with Australia is that just about everyone arriving immediately sits down with a two-box multiple choice question of ‘where shall I live’. Those two boxes are Sydney or Melbourne. Thus everyone in those two cities knots their brow and complains about population growth.

    Meanwhile, a 5 hour flight in any direction apart from South or east from those two cities will see an endless empty landscape.

  10. Smith ends his piece with:

    If we are not careful, Australia will grow beyond the sweet spot and the downside for most of the population will be significant.

    Doesn’t this mean he is not saying we need negative population growth?

  11. sdog says:

    special economic zone

    Gina Rinehart has suggested something along those lines.

    I can’t cut & pste because it’s a PDF, but see the last para here:
    http://www.andev-project.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/20111201-Resources-the-life-raft-in-an-economic-storm-Australian-Resources-and-Investment-Magazine.pdf

  12. Gab says:

    I’m a proud capitalist, but there comes a time when continuing with perpetual growth in the use of resources and energy is more about greed than improving the quality of life.

    He’s not a capitalist but a fraud. He’s made his millions and now says “stop buying so much”. He wants business to target negative sales growth.

    As for greed, how many cars, helicopters, airplanes, boats, gadgets and houses does Dick have?

  13. John Comnenus says:

    In the olden days people like Smith were called the ‘filthy rich’. Since the rise of environmentalism they have become the ‘guilty rich’.

    The guilty rich are those Lefty types who are so guilt ridden at how wealthy they are when they profess a commitment to socialism and other hard left dogmas. The guilty rich thus put the onus onto the state to provide for everyone else to the standard that they enjoy, because they sure as hell aren’t going to voluntarily part with their hard earned to do it.

    As a result they publicly say everything necessary to expunge their self made sins of excessive wealth. Instead of invoking Godwin’s Law let me suggest that these people are exactly the types of people who would have worn sack cloth (Bob Brown), publicly repented (Cate Blanchett) and or bought indulgences (Carbon offset buyers) in medieval times.

  14. Hubert East says:

    Dick Smith reminds me of a stick insect that perks into life every now and then; doesn’t really do anything much apart from zapping another small target.
    I guess when you are not noticed but think you are hugely important, you have to say something. In Dick’s case its the usual eco nothing nonsense.

  15. Irving J says:

    Come on m0mty fess up. Do you run your business like a commie enterprise? Do you pay all your staff the same? Do you transfer bonuses from performers to slackers? Do you even use a single commie principle in your business?

    No! so why do you spout of your commie nonsense to the rest of us? I’ll tell you why, I have come across your type countless times. Because you are a guilt and angst ridden dickhead, interested only in assuaging the guilt and angst that you feel for whatever success you have achieved.

    You hide behind a facade of well-meaning drivel to justify why you should continue to act in one way while preaching the opposite. That makes you a hypocrite and utterly deluded.

  16. Chris M says:

    Well put Samuel, agree 100%. When Dick tops himself we will know his belief was genuine.

    If the world population of 7 billion were dropped into the state of Queensland each individual person would have about 250 m2 of land. Obviously not a suggestion but one illustration of how silly this overpopulation guff is; in terms of space & food the world can easily sustain a vastly higher population.

  17. m0nty says:

    That’s just the sort of thing Goebbels would say, Irving.

  18. sdog says:

    m0nty, do you have to come in and try to wreck every thread?

  19. Nelson says:

    Anyone who says population growth is too high is in effect saying people are having too many children. I’ve heard it put explicitly like that before “that family has too many children”

    Fair enough, but which kids were the too many? And are you going to be the one to tell the children that in are better world they would not have been born?

  20. m0nty says:

    Samuel’s OP alleges Smith’s position “implies” eugenics and genocide. It was a classic dog whistle, which Irving slobbered all over like a pit bull. Calling Irving and Samuel out for these brainless accusations is very much on topic.

  21. Alex Pundit says:

    One of the reasons why people in the Centre-Left don’t want population growth in OZ is because it would lead to deterioration of social services, like our so-called free Health Care system. A larger population could not sustain it.

  22. Peter Patton says:

    The only difference between Smith, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are the ability to carry out their social policies.

    I’m pretty sure that neither Stalin, Hitler, nor Pol Pot had a helicopter pilot’s licence. Dick Smith is basically Pauline Hanson with a helicopter pilot’s licence.

  23. Tim Curtin says:

    Smith’s piece was indeed very stupid, coming from one whose wealth owes so much to the rapid growth of demand for his electronics resulting from the combination of growth of population and affluence here.

    The BBC segment yesterday on Newsradio described the effective methods adopted in Uzbekistan to reduce population growth, including enforced sterilisation, removal of uteruses without consent when women were under anaesthetic for other conditions, etc etc. They interviewed several women who “benefited” from all this, their distress was palpable and painful.

  24. Perhaps we can run a competition for the most Dick Smithian ways for limiting population. My initial thoughts were that it should all involve helicopters or Cesnas: I’m thinking the Goldfinger method of getting into Fort Know, done on a larger scale.

    But he still has his grocery range, doesn’t he? One contraceptive pill in the centre of each Melting Moment should have some effect, I assume.

    I wouldn’t put it past him…

  25. Samson Agonistes says:

    You asked Smith to set an optimal population without offering one yourself.

    Australia still has high levels of immigration last time I looked, so it isn’t too hard to limit population growth.

    Smith isn’t really an expert at anything, except getting headlines.

  26. JC says:

    You asked Smith to set an optimal population without offering one yourself.

    Yes, because there isn’t one you clown, Bob. Population size is dependent on technological advancement.

  27. JC says:

    Dick Smith of course has kids and grand children.

  28. Samson Agonistes says:

    Reads like SamuelJ does not agree with you JC:

    With sensible planning and other regulatory, IR and social security policies, Australia could support a significantly higher population while enjoying higher living standards. We are likely to be well short of the optimal population (which itself would vary by factors such as technology, labour market regulations and so forth).

  29. Uber says:

    SamuelJ there’s no such thing as evil in the secular world. It’s just a word used to intone an emotional response. Evil requires a universal purpose and an ememy to that purpose. Secularism, which is based on evolutionary naturalism, allows for no ultimate purpose. Therefore there can be no enemy to create evil , and hence no evil.
    Ethics is certainly a secular concept but like all things within that worldview, it is relative. It belongs to the ‘mind’ realm of ‘values’. Thus, one person’s opinion on ethics is completely irrelevant to any other person’s because it lives in complete isolation within the individual’s mind.
    Either learn to live with it or change your worldview. But complaining that somebody else is being unethical (or evil) is pointless and illogical.

  30. JC says:

    Bob, you doofus.

    He’s basically saying what I am with more words. Read it again and head to the back of the class.

    You’re not that well equipped fro the hard scrabble of a blog, bobster. Especially this one.

  31. Robert Crew says:

    If you look at carrying capacity in terms of available rainfall runoff, Australia could theoretically support a population of around 500,000,000, since we get about the same (slightly less) rainfall runoff as Europe. The only reason we don’t is that we prefer to live in the dry south rather than the wet north.

  32. JC says:

    Robert.

    You could literately pipe some of this water to the south. It is possible.

    The boomerang shape from nth Qld to Adelaide alone could carry 500 million people.

    And we’re not even getting started in the west.

  33. JC says:

    It’s interest to me why Australia didn’t develop population wise in the same way as the US and I guess a lot of that has to do with the fact that it easier to travel by ship for week than for a month to the bottom of the world.

    However the jet age has basically changed that anyway.

    Density means wealth, people. The closer people live to each and the more there are the wealthier they are. Spareness means relative poverty.

  34. Samson Agonistes says:

    Everytime you hand out money for having babies

    and everytime you set an immigration rate

    and every time you create new categories of work visa

    and every time you create student immigration programs

    … you are setting the parameters of what you think the optimal rate of population growth is.

    So JC start talking policy and stop with your inane attempts at ‘put down’. The King of ad hominem attacks needs to abdicate.

  35. Samson Agonistes says:

    This would cost tens billions of taxpayers money and reveals you as a state socialist development advocate:

    Robert.

    You could literately pipe some of this water to the south. It is possible.

    The boomerang shape from nth Qld to Adelaide alone could carry 500 million people.

    And we’re not even getting started in the west.

  36. JC says:

    ….you are setting the parameters of what you think the optimal rate of population growth is.

    It’s a look back thing you moron. You don’t know in advance and can never know in advance what is the optimum level of population. Uneducated moron’s such as you and Dick Smith think they have the answer down pat, but you don’t.

    The richest places on earth are those with healthy population density. The sparse ones are those that are not.

    Want a rich boundless, healthy, productive and happy nation then have strong population with free market policies.

    Want a miserable unhappy, dickheaded one live in Dick Smith’s.

    So JC start talking policy and stop with your inane attempts at ‘put down’. The King of ad hominem attacks needs to abdicate.

    I do both well.

    Listen Bobster, nothing gets me more upset about some Australian attitudes than the miserablist one propounded by Dickhead Smith. It’s basically a Malthusian turd dressed to appear more desirable, but it’s still a turd. His world is not the sort of place I want to live or have my kids grow up in. He can fuck off to Antarctica for all I care.

  37. Gab says:

    Mr Smith wants to see Australia’s immigration intake cut to 70,000 a year from about 280,000, but he says neither mainstream political party can give him a clear answer on whether this will happen.

    Comparing population growth to “a plague of locusts”, he forecasts “sheer misery and starvation”. “The crime rate will go up, health will go down – all of those problems caused by too many people.” We’re “sleepwalking to catastrophe”.

    Citing desalination plants as proof that we already “don’t have enough water”, Smith used Murray–Darling footage of cracked mud, dead animals and orchards being torn up in arguing that “we could run out of food”. Saying that government expects climate change to cut agricultural production by “a further 17%”, he implores us to “do the simple maths” of feeding lots of extra mouths.

    Smith has two children and six grandchildren.

  38. JC says:

    This would cost tens billions of taxpayers money and reveals you as a state socialist development advocate:

    “Reary” Bob? So the private market can’t build a pipe and run water down the spine of the country.

    Oh hang on they do that with shit like oil and gas.

    Of course the private market can do this stuff, you moron. If there’s demand for it and the water market was allowed to be privatized.

    Bobster, your gotchas are truly pathetic.

  39. JC says:

    Smith has two children and six grandchildren.

    Doesn’t apply to him of course. He’s special because he’s a Green.

    He really is a despicable person in so many ways.

  40. ella says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, Samuel.

    Eugenics places the good of the species and its future far above the rights of any individual.

    Those that will not use the word “eugenics”, in this context, do so because they want to avoid the Nazi taint.

    The “banality Of all evil” – the same Arendt discerned in the motives of Adolf Eichmann.

  41. Samson Agonistes says:

    280,000 is way too high and its a policy number with little public support implemented by the Laberal policy elite without public consultation.

  42. m0nty says:

    Samuel J: “PHEEEEEEEEE!!!”

    Irving J: “WOOF WOOF!!!”
    ella: “ARF ARF!!”

  43. JC says:

    Monster

    ‘You trying out different animal noises now, to see which works best?

  44. Gab says:

    Yet another interesting and original thought from monty.

  45. kelly liddle says:

    The only difference between Smith, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot

    Good to see a bit of variety instead of Mao we get Pol Pot. Full marks for originality. Here are some names you can use next time Idi Amin, Robert Magabe we need to be more inclusive and mention African dictators.

  46. maurie says:

    Australia, just like a lot of countries has a fair share of wealthy people with too much free time. Mind you this particular person hasn’t so far achieved too much for us to be scared of. Unlike some others who could me mentioned. Some close to home & others not so. A few of you may remember an enterprise known as ACTU-Solo, established by an unhealthily jealous idiot who as many do, assumed he had the ability to perform a business so much more successfully than those greedy capitalists! A few years later during a recession we had to have, a person who had been purchasing clothing for a tidy sum of $2.00 an item, only to resell them at a neat $120.00 An item was brought to his knees, but the solo crowd seen fit to arrange for that ‘special’ business to continue trading!

  47. JC says:

    Actually Kelly I think Dick would resemble Robert Mugabe more than than the others. He’s only killed off relatively few with guns or axes compared to the rest. However he’s impoverished the crap out of his people. Bob Mugable also has a strong aversion to imports with high tariffs and quotas which the Dick is a strong advocate of. The two may be separated at birth =for all we know…. just different fathers obviously.

  48. south says:

    @brc: Special Economic Zones? New cities in the tropics? Both brilliant ideas that are way too outre for mainstream Australia (and other developed countries) to consider seriously. We have long forgotten what made us wealthy in the first place.

  49. brc says:

    Despite attempts to derail the thread by Godwins law, I would say any discussion involving population control should be linked to Nazi policy.

    It is impossible to implmeent population control without either killing people or stopping people from having children. Stopping people having children means killing them, because, as people like to get it on, eventually children get born. The infanticide in China alone should make anyone like Dick Smith red with shame to even speak on such a topic.

    As soon as you do that you’re making decisions who lives and who dies. From here to Hitler or Pol Pot isn’t a huge leap.

    Everyone likes to talk about lower population but they always stop at explaining how it could be achieved, mumbling things about ‘immigration’ instead.

    Most of the ‘population control’ advocates are so short-sighted they forget a new round of youngsters is needed to look after them in the declining years, right up until the point of digging a pit and building a pine box.

    The inverted population pyramids of Italy and Japan are a disaster waiting to happen. To purposely inflict that upon yourself is madness.

  50. JC says:

    Everyone likes to talk about lower population but they always stop at explaining how it could be achieved, mumbling things about ‘immigration’ instead.

    That seems to be relatively easy. high levels of wealth and economic growth puts a dampener of population anyways.

  51. brc says:

    @south ; indeed. Fixing Detroit with a special economic zone is one my hobby horses. I think they could get the place jumping in 15 years with something like that.

    If I had access to a time machine, Sydney in the mid 1800’s would be a great decision. I can only just imagine the hustle and bustle of the major port in a young country full of rejects, misfits, fortune-seekers and charlatans. Instead we now have a city of fluoro-jacketed finger-wavers and legions of people simultaneously downing lattes and navel-gazing.

  52. brc says:

    That seems to be relatively easy. high levels of wealth and economic growth puts a dampener of population anyways.

    Agreed. But it’s not a specific policy. It’s just an outcome of letting people do what they want to do. Given wealth and equality, a lot of women decide that pushing out 3,4,7,10 babies isn’t what they want. But you don’t have to implement a rule saying they can’t have a cricket team if they don’t want one.

  53. kelly liddle says:

    The world is full of active population policies. Australia has an active population policy to increase. The Catholic church has an active policy to increase population. China and Iran did have active policies to increase population which they have now reversed. Allowing access to contraception is also important because it is true people will have sex but choices can only be made if contraception is available.

  54. JC says:

    You’re sexologist now Kelly.

  55. ella says:

    Any time we have sex we must keep in mind the consequences for the resources of the planet.

  56. Winston SMITH says:

    “This is why I have used the word ‘evil’ deliberately. This is a strong ethical issue and Smith’s advocacy has crossed that line. While I don’t believe Smith is personally evil, his policies would, in my opinion, promote evil.”

    This is what I replied to Monty. The comparison to previous mass murderers was in this context.

    How selective of you to remove the context. But predictable.

  57. JC says:

    Any time we have sex we must keep in mind the consequences for the resources of the planet.

    leave a smaller foot print and don’t do it standing up. It’s called sustainable sex.

  58. Gab says:

    leave a smaller foot print and don’t do it standing up.

    FTFY 🙂

  59. Simon says:

    Smith’s an idiot but he’s only advocating a conservative farming approach to human populations. We are just farming people in different ways around the world and Australia, urban, suburban and so forth. There is nothing inherently evil about population control otherwise those on this blog who are against granting Family Tax benefits to couples with lots of kids are “evil” too. The control of population can be centralised or marketised or culturalised but it’s still just about limiting the amount of mouths to feed and bodies to house. Smiths main crime is his tendancy to portray belief as fact.

  60. JC says:

    Fair point, Gab, but we really worried about leaving a smaller footprint. Having two groping bodies on top of each other isn’t, strictly speaking, a foot print.

    However I think you may be right that standing up sex is far more sustainable for the long term health of da planet.

  61. Oh come on says:

    Samuel J: “PHEEEEEEEEE!!!”

    Irving J: “WOOF WOOF!!!”
    ella: “ARF ARF!!”

    m0nty’s barking mad.

  62. Winston SMITH says:

    Simon: We farm animals. Humans are different. It’s a subtle difference but lost on the left. (Not that I’m saying you are from the Left.)
    Secondly I would put to all that the issue here is about whether we see things like population levels from the Socialist perspective – peoples are mendicants for scarce state resources, or the individual as a generator of wealth.

  63. kelly liddle says:

    You’re sexologist now Kelly.

    No but if for example you create a nationalist movement in the country and tell people to have kids they will. If you convince a country that condoms and other contraceptives are the work of the devil they will have more kids (and spread HIV also). Womens rights is also very important they have found that the christian state in India has lower birth rates as the women become more educated and can say no to more children. Immigration is also in the governments control to a very large extent especially in an island state like Australia.

  64. ella says:

    The idea of rationing children is a clear eugenic approach. What is next? Do we now have an obligation to ensure that what we do have are biologically fit. No parent will, have in the future, the right to burden society with a malformed or mentally incompetent child.

  65. JC says:

    No but if for example you create a nationalist movement in the country and tell people to have kids they will.

    As against a nationalist one like China where they told them to have one kid?

    If you convince a country that condoms and other contraceptives are the work of the devil they will have more kids (and spread HIV also).

    We’re back to Africa now. It’s never too far away is it.

    Look says the leftie… but you have to control population… look at Africa!

    Womens rights is also very important they have found that the christian state in India has lower birth rates as the women become more educated and can say no to more children.

    It’s also happening in the wealthier states too, you nimbus.

  66. Rabz says:

    Citing desalination plants as proof that we already “don’t have enough water”

    WTF? I’d cite them as proof of the inveterate stupidity of dim flummery and the braindead troglodytes that infest the laybore pardee.

    Just because the desal plants exist, dickhead, doesn’t mean they’re needed.

    Why’s the one in Melbourne been held up again?

    Oh, that’s right – too much rain…

  67. kelly liddle says:

    We’re back to Africa now. It’s never too far away is it.

    Ok Middle East now. The Israeli’s are promoting population growth through immigration and the Palestinians like far right Hamas or Hezbollah are telling their constituents to have kids.

  68. JC says:

    Just because the desal plants exist, dickhead, doesn’t mean they’re needed.

    Desal plants basically also prove the the major part of population levels is directly correlated to technology.

    Far from suggesting population limits, they actually prove the opposite.

  69. JC says:

    Ok Middle East now. The Israeli’s are promoting population growth through immigration and the Palestinians like far right Hamas or Hezbollah are telling their constituents to have kids.

    And this suggests what to you Kelly?

  70. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    It’s interest to me why Australia didn’t develop population wise in the same way as the US and I guess a lot of that has to do with the fact that it easier to travel by ship for week than for a month to the bottom of the world.

    Blainey’s Tyranny of Distance, no longer applicable. Australia developed as separate settlements a long way from each other (capital cities). The settlement pattern in the hinterlands was not, as in the US, smaller-scale family farming with linked towns, but giant squattocracy holdings with a transient labour force and scattered service townships. Thus Australia in the European mind was identified as as an outback area of floods and droughts in which no civilised person would dwell; an area of arid land of use to no-one. The arse-end of the earth, in fact (thank you, Paul Keating).

    This identification has coloured population debate for too long in Australia as well as views elsewhere about Australia (Germaine Greer’s aboriginal naturalism no help either), and results in the rear-vision Dick Smith type of interpretation.

    It is time for a very big re-think about our land and its carrying capacity.

  71. kelly liddle says:

    The Israel/Palestinian situation is for military strength. Both nationalists.

  72. Oh come on says:

    Exactly. And Dick Smith has obviously never heard of ships. If we did get to a point where we produced less food than we consumed (highly unlikely, but just for argument’s sake…), guess what? We could easily make up the shortfall through imports – just like countries all around the world who produce less food than they consume – and this would cost us a tiny fraction of our income. We’re a wealthy country. It’s highly unlikely that we would ever go hungry.

  73. Rabz says:

    Far from suggesting population limits, they actually prove the opposite.

    That’s an excellent point, however mine was that the stupid things we have here should never have been built in the first place.

    Some strategically placed dams would have sufficed.

  74. Oh come on says:

    “exactly” was aimed at JC’s point regarding desal plants.

  75. kae says:

    JC

    Density means wealth

    Nope. Not when you’re talking Wayne Swan dense.

  76. Ellen of Tasmania says:

    I’ve been watching the regurgitation of the over-population dogma over the last year or so, as the Global Warming/Climate Change pseudo-science has been unravelling. It’s the same religion, just in a different robe.

    I guess they figure it gives them a few more years to force their agenda on to us. The U.N. is full of the stuff – it comes oozing out of most of their missives.

  77. Irving J says:

    m0nty: wank wank

  78. I commented on Smith’s article (and surprise surprise published too). In addition to what I wrote, Smith talks about caring for the environment and restricting population growth, but in other writings he lurches into culture and identity, not unlike Monash University’s Dr. Bob “I’m not a racist but…” Birrell.

    Unfortunately Australian politics, media and society have been using proxy issues such as population growth, refugees, immigration, international students etc. as a cover for racist attitudes.

    But of course we are not racist…. as we want to be part of the Asian century, don’t we? Maybe then our political class, media etc. can start addressing real issues such as over government, state barriers to productivity, infrastructure, corporate tax, skills, transport, urban planning, residential design etc.; all of which they have been avoiding for too long….

  79. murph says:

    Namibia

  80. Jeremiah says:

    Desal plants basically also prove the the major part of population levels is directly correlated to technology.

    Access to cheap energy sources inevitably solves pretty much all of the worlds major problems. If you have cheap energy you have cheap food, water, transport, housing etc etc.

    Its no coincidence that the great technological leaps throughout the 20th century coincided with the discovery and commercial use of petroleum purely because it is cheap, transportable and has a high energy density.

  81. nilk says:

    There is nothing inherently evil about population control otherwise those on this blog who are against granting Family Tax benefits to couples with lots of kids are “evil” too. The control of population can be centralised or marketised or culturalised but it’s still just about limiting the amount of mouths to feed and bodies to house.

    As someone who thinks population control is a Bad Thing, and big families are great to be a part of, I’m against the levels of welfare in this country.

    Yeah, I receive some, but that’s not the point. With a lower tax level people would have more disposable income that would provide for the family rather than expecting handouts from the government. Paid for by their own taxes.

    Another thought on population control… who decides what is the optimum number of people to farm? How will this number be enforced, and by whom?

    What punishments will be meted out to those who disobey? It’s already tiresome enough reading the anti-child blogs that bang on about ‘breeders’ and ‘moomies’ and the like.

  82. Peter Patton says:

    Andrew Smith

    Unfortunately Australian politics, media and society have been using proxy issues such as population growth, refugees, immigration, international students etc. as a cover for racist attitudes.

    Why “unfortunately”? Would you rather folks just all came out and said, “fuck off towelheads”?

  83. Ally says:

    Las Vegas is built on a desert isn’t it?

    And what about all the water wasted with the floods!

  84. Rabz says:

    Ally,

    Las Vegas was possible entirely because of the Hoover Dam.

  85. JC says:

    They used to do great, great engineering projects in the US at that time. Some of them are just magnificent like the Hoover dam.

  86. Rabz says:

    I’ve seen it, JC – bloody awe inspiring…

  87. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Yes, Hoover Dam a sight to behold. We need dams here; more dams.

  88. FDB says:

    And to think, it was the result of Keynesian spending.

  89. Samson Agonistes says:

    FDR, FDR, FDR!

  90. Forester says:

    Dick is perfectly free to say what he likes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    I should remain perfectly free to have as many kids as I like (in reality, as many my wife will allow me).

    Our elected representatives job is protect Mr Smith’s freedom to let us know what he’s got in store for us, and to protect me from interfering busybodies like Mr Smith actually implementing his 5 year plan.

  91. Forester says:

    Dick is perfectly free to say what he likes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    I should remain perfectly free to have as many kids as I like (in reality, as many my wife will allow me).

    Our elected representatives job is protect Mr Smith’s freedom to let us know what he’s got in store for us, and to protect me from interfering busybodies like Mr Smith actually implementing his 5 year plan.

  92. brc says:

    The Hoover Dam was the last useful application of Keynesian spending. A useful piece of infrastructure before politicians cottoned onto the idea that they could use it as an excuse to just keep borrowing and spending.

    But then, they did pay the clearing rate for labour. And the Dam was ‘shovel ready’ when the plan to ramp it up was decided.

    What Australia needs is not a Hoover Dam. What Australia needs is a continental divide that leads to rivers like the Colorado and Mississippi and allow Hoover Dams. If the silly place wasn’t upside down like a pet’s bowl, with all the rivers flowing into the middle….

  93. Peter Patton says:

    And to think, it was the result of Keynesian spending.

    Keynes wrote personal checks to build dams in the US!?. Wow, I didn’t realise he was that rich.

  94. Peter Patton says:

    I suppose the Roman legions were also “Keynesian spending”?

  95. ella says:

    To a eugenicist like Smith I have no doubt that lower class fecundity is a problem.

    If you don’t think this is how Smith and his ilk think then view the last episode of the sitcom, ” Cheers”. The upper class heroine, Diane, says it all when confronted with the number of times Carla, the working class barmaid has given birth – God, she cries, “you breed like a fly.”

    Let us face facts, Smith and his lot can have as many children as desired, but the rest of us present a threat to the future viability of mankind.

  96. Rabz says:

    Wonderful to see effs and the agoniste coming out in favour of dams.

    But hey, any illogicality to try and score a point, eh what?

  97. Samson Agonistes says:

    The Roman Legions were a force of production dragging in all the slaves the latifundia needed for agricultural production.

  98. FDB says:

    What’s illogical about dams?

  99. Peter Patton says:

    Ergo, Keynes was a slave owner. Or something.

  100. Rabz says:

    OK, this is probably going to be breaching one of your wonderful rules, but there is no way on this earth that you would be in favour of dams being built in this country.

    Now, I mean, not the ones that are already there and working a treat.

  101. wreckage says:

    Option 1: Smith is just following the dictates of evolutionary psychology. Having secured resources he is now attempting to prevent competitor males from acquiring resources.

    Option 2: Smith is acting rationally. Having acquired resources he is now attempting to secure them.

  102. wreckage says:

    FDB loves dams, says dams are logical. FDB votes Green.

    Either FDB doesn’t like dams very much at all or FDB is voting Green as a form of moral/social positioning.

  103. Rabz says:

    Thanks Wrecks – and he accuses me of being illogical!

  104. wreckage says:

    I am calling myself out for the false dichotomy. The third option is that FDB doesn’t like dams much AND is voting Green as a form of moral/social positioning.

  105. FDB says:

    Where people need more water storage, they ought to build a dam.

    Put a hydro plant in too, and it’s a double win.

  106. wreckage says:

    Where people need more water storage, they ought to build a dam.

    Put a hydro plant in too, and it’s a double win.

    FDB, you environment-raping, community-wrecking, farmer-hating neo-neo-neo-con!

    I am shocked! Shocked!

  107. JC says:

    Don’t fall for it, Wreckage. Notice he said a hydro plant. There’s very little opportunity for Hydro on the Southern mainland so he’s just bullshitting. It really just a way to avoid coal plants.

  108. To Peter Patton, if I understand correctly racism is ok provided it is express politely, e.g. via Smith’s and others’ tactic of using proxy issues, to covertly influence attitudes of others? Maybe I am naive, but thought this was a “libertarian” forum where anyone can do what they want whatever colour, creed, etc. Many in Australia should take note of American comedian Doug Stanhope’s libertarain take on immigration, with his final retort directed at those who obsess about immigration, population growth etc. yet are not impacted personally, while they shouting at everyone to do as they want seeing “liberal” conspiracies, short video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW20EMJr6o4

  109. David Elson says:

    ? I dedicate my new son to dick smith then 😛

  110. sdog says:

    Many in Australia should take note of American comedian Doug Stanhope’s libertarain take on immigration

    Perhaps many in Australia should also take note of what benefits illegal immigrants to America are allowed to scam off the hard-working public taxpayer versus what what benefits illegal immigrants to Australia are allowed to scam off the hard-working public taxpayer.

  111. sdog says:

    To paraphrase Milt: You can have open borders, or you can have a welfare state. You cannot have both.

  112. sdog says:

    Also, the vast majority of immigrants to America are Christians who either have a handle on or are capable of having a handle on what it’s going to take to assimilate & thrive in the country they’ve decided to throw their lot in with.

    Really you guys, anyone who compares the immigration situation in America with that in Australia is either dishonest or a chucklehead.

  113. Eyrie says:

    Dick was right about Australia’s aviation bureaucracy and did good work reforming it but he seems to have lost the plot lately.

  114. Yet illegal immigrants can’t compete with how middle class welfare in Australia scams taxpayers? I have no children, why should I subsidise those who do? Nor do I have an investment property benefiting from negative gearing that does next to nothing to add value to the Oz economy. And yes you cannot compare Oz illegal immigration with the US because ours is so insignificant….. who has handle on christianity in the US the home of kooky conservative christians, e.g. Republican leadership race…… in fact in the US those who identify as being moslem have lower birth rates and higher education levels than the average American….Australians are a bunch of losers the way they go on and on about immigration and foreigners…. meanwhile our pollies follow opinion polls…..

  115. Rabz says:

    andrew smith is a very unhappy person.

    Have a bex and good lie down, dearie, you sound as though you need it.

  116. Ponci Scheme says:

    If lower population growth rates are strongly associated with higher living standards, as you say, then shouldn’t a nation seek the lowest possible population growth rate?
    If not, when we do have sufficient numbers and worldwide governments start implementing sensible policies, which by your reckoning despite the fact they have never done so before are bound to do when the numbers permit, it will only be upside for humanity. With corruption and evil relics of the underpopulated past we can join our billions of hands together in a chorus of – we are the world – after which we all sit down and enjoy a dinner of, as there will be a limitless supply, our favourite black truffle dish.

  117. I am not the one complaining about immigrants, “towel heads”, population growth etc. it’s kooky conservatives averse to real freedom trying to push their views onto everyone while masquerading as libertarians 🙂

  118. Cory Olsen says:

    Australia’s pretty empty so there is definitely a strong economic case for large scale migration (not that the two major parties share my view).

    Since we have generously publicly funded schools, hospitals and benefits and scarce resources I’d prefer to keep boat people and unskilled immigrants to a minimum.

  119. sdog says:

    in fact in the US those who identify as being moslem have lower birth rates and higher education levels than the average American…

    You get what you advertise for.

    The Muslims immigrating to America have generally (in the past, at least) been those who understand that they will have to work to eat, that there is no “free lunch” for either them or their children. They also know that if they enter illegally, they will be sent home and will never be eligible for any social welfare programs. The uneducated unmotivated ones who want nothing but to be paid to breed and get free housing, medical care, and welfare for life without having to work for any of it – along with those whose criminal backgrounds mean that the only way they’ll get a foot in the door of any civilized country is to enter illegally – will necessary self-elect for a different sort of country. *cough*Austalia*cough*

    Also related, see Ed West: Why does Britain have an Islamist problem while America doesn’t? Answer: the welfare state

  120. sdog says:

    And I have no quibbles with reducing so-called “middle-class welfare” in Australia.

    Individuals/families should be allowed to keep more of the money they earn and decide for themselves where to spend it, rather than handing it over to the State, having the State set the priorities, and then handing it back in dribs and drabs (Family Tax benefits, childcare payments, etc) minus a large proportion eaten up in churn.

    I myself find it kind of odd that so many Australian ‘conservatives’ get so excited about being handed a pound of “FREE CHEESE!” from the government – without realizing that they actually gave the government enough money to have bought a pound and a half… but if that’s the way the majority of Aussies want it, that’s how things’ll stay I guess.

  121. Cory Olsen says:

    Rather than shutting the gate (on immigration) we could have used the GFC to pillage the best and brightest from other nations (towel heads or otherwise) instead of slashing skilled migration and opening the backdoor.to boat people.

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