Obama Says Science Czar that Advocated for Zero Population, Economic Growth Wants a New Generation of ‘Producers’

April 29, 2013 - 3:54 PM

John P. Holdren

White House science adviser John P. Holdren speaking with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama said he and his science advisor John Holdren supported encouraging young people to be “producers” in the next generation. However, Holdren’s past writings have called for “de-development” of the United States and expressed concerns about too many children.

“One of the things that I’ve focused on as president is an all-hands-on-deck approach to the sciences, as well as technology and engineering and math, and that’s why we’re spending a lot of time focused on the next generation,” Obama said Monday during remarks commemorating the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences.

“With the help of John Holdren and everybody who’s working with my administration, we want to make sure that we are exciting young people around math and science and technology and computer science,” Obama said. “We don’t want our kids just to be consumers of the amazing things that science generates. We want them to be producers as well.

“And we want to make sure that those who historically have not participated in the sciences as robustly – girls, members of minority groups here in this country – that they are encouraged as well,” the president added.

Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, was in the audience. He argued for zero economic growth and zero population growth in a 1977 college science textbook co-written with Paul and Anne H. Ehrlich titled, “Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment.”

“It is by now abundantly clear that the GNP [gross national product] cannot grow forever. Why should it?” the book said. “Why should we not strive for zero economic growth (ZEG) as well as zero population growth?”

Holdren and the Erlichs also wrote the 1973 book, “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions,” which said, “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States,” the book said.

The book continued, “De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.

The book also advocated redistribution from rich countries to poor countries, proclaiming, “Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”

“Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries," Holdren and his co-authors wrote. “This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment.

“The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being,” they wrote.