- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2009

The media recently was atwitter about a secret meeting of a so-called “billionaires club.”

Irishcentral.com broke the news May 18, and subsequent news stories pitched it as a gathering of superheroes.

The attendees — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, Michael R. Bloomberg, David Rockefeller Sr., David Rockefeller Jr., and other business tycoons — are worth at least $120 billion by Forbes magazine estimates.

As committed philanthropists, the billionaires are worried about the global recession and the plight of their fellow man, sources said. They want to figure out how they can “join together to do more,” a Gates Foundation adviser told ABCNews.com.

But then a May 24 London Times story by John Harlow revealed a skunk at the garden party.

“Taking their cue from Gates, they agreed that overpopulation was a priority,” Mr. Harlow wrote. That led to discussions about how they could use their wealth to “slow the growth of the world’s population,” “speed up improvements in health and education” and “join forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change,” wrote Mr. Harlow, who spoke with named and unnamed sources about the May 5 meeting in New York.

The Times article sparked more articles and blog commentaries, including one with a headline reading “Humanitarians: Please Spare the Humans.”

Alas, there is no public transcript of the meeting, so there’s no way to verify what was said.

Two observations.

First, overpopulation fears are so last century.

The billionaires seem to be “working with a 1960s paradigm,” said Barry McLerran, producer of a 2008 independent film, “Demographic Winter,” and the upcoming “The Demographic Bomb: Demography Is Destiny.”

“Instead of overpopulation, the crisis that confronts us in this century will be how to keep economies and nations going in the face of the coming depopulation,” Mr. McLerran said.

The world’s population is expected to rise from its current 6.7 billion to 9.1 billion in 2050, the United Nations Population Division said in March. However, it also shows that the number of babies, aged 0-4, will peak in 2015 and drop for at least 35 years. Fewer babies means fewer people in the long run.

People who think people are the problem will see this as great news. But that leads into my second observation, which is that solving overpopulation is just the same tired, myopic grand plan some elitists have been promoting since the Eisenhower years.

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