Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the paper of record, apparently relies on a series of calamities mostly involving the downtrodden of the world to fill his space. (In all fairness, writing a column several times a week wears upon the brain--coming up with new ideas can be tough. Some columnists resort to synopsizing their latest reading. Chaos, amateur though he is, sympathizes). The latest Kristof column, however, gets it quite wrong, in Chaos' view. Here's the rebuttal, consciously made shorter to accommodate NYT space requirements:
"To the Editor:
It's heartening to see that Nicholas Kristof has found a fresh humanitarian cause: starving children in Nigeria, and indeed, it is and will continue to be an ongoing tragedy. Kristof would be better advised, however, to inform readers of the larger problem Nigeria will face in the coming years, chiefly that, because of its high fertility rate (5.32, more than twice the replacement rate), the U.N. projects its population to double between now and 2050. In light of this, it is clear that the country's inability to feed itself today is an indication of population overshoot and a distant early warning of worsening conditions in the future. Simply put, there are too many people in Nigeria now; there will be many more later and teaching them Western agriculture is insufficient to address the underlying population explosion. We would do better to marshal our limited resources to provide Nigerian women access to contraceptive education."
The twin dilemmas of overpopulation and declining population are going to become more salient in the next 30 years, in Chaos' opinion. Curiously, some nations will be extremely overpopulated, while others will have declining (and aging) populations. Look for future posts on the details of this issue. By the way, readers irritated with the Times' pay-to-read policy may wish to visit this site.