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Popcorn: lies, damn lies, and statistics

Just after Christmas, Werner Fornos, president of the Population Institute, perpetrated yet another overpopulation hoax upon the world. In a 27 December press release Fornos claimed that the world’s population in 1995 had increased “by 100 million people…the largest increase ever.” Fornos also predicted that in 1996 the population would again increase by “about 100 million people”1

We dispute Fornos’ claim. After all, the principal compilers of world population statistics — the U.S. Census Bureau, the United Nation’s Population Division, and the World Bank — are all in agreement that the current annual addition to the world’s population is only about 87 million people. Not surprisingly, Fornos cannot cite any document or research to bolster his claim, simply asserting that “100 million people” have been added to the world’s population.

While Fornos’ 15 percent inflation of the generally accepted annual world population increment might appear to be of small consequence — 87 million or 100 million, what’s the big deal? — the important point is that world population growth is decelerating, not accelerating. Once widely-bandied claims that the world’s population is increasing by 90-odd million yearly and headed for 100 million-plus tomorrow have become rare — except from die-hard over-population propagandists.

Fornos is nothing if not consistent. He made exactly the same claim on 11 July 1994, designated “World Population Day” by the U.N., in a speech he delivered in Jordan. At that time it was supposedly the year 1993 in which the 100 million increase had occurred.

An even greater population scam was perpetrated by Fornos in July 1986, when he falsely claimed the world’s population had just reached 5 billion. All the major population outfits throughout the world were then claiming a world population slightly in excess of 4.9 billion. By inflating that number by some 100 million persons, Fornos gained a step on his rival population organizations and reaped much publicity. One year later almost to the day, the U.N. and other population groups announced the official birth of “baby 5 bi1lion.” Most of the media in 1986 were taken in by Fornos and dutifully reported the news of the birth of the world’s five billionth inhabitant. A year later they again covered the same event, apparently unaware they had previously reported the big “news” 12 months before. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times were among the papers Fornos hoodwinked.2

Almost 22 years, and five administrations, have passed since the National Security Council met in the Old Executive Office Building in Washington D.C. to approve the National Security Study Memorandum 200. The intervening years have seen the memorandum’s central recommendation — that the United States must defend itself against people in the developing world by controlling their population growth — metastasize into nearly every government branch and office. No element of foreign aid, no seeming act of international charity or kindness, no official humanitarian work abroad has remained completely free of this invasive agenda. The spread of this pernicious doctrine has taken place has taken place almost without opposition, or even dissent.

On 18 April 1996 Congressman Christopher Smith hosted a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for the Population Research Institute at which Steven W. Mosher, PRI’s executive director announced the release of a new report documenting the International Planned Parenthood Federations effort to promote abortion around the world (see report on page 3). Smith pointed out that officials from Third World nations complain to him that “’all you [Americans] want to do is to control our fertility and abort us.’” PRI and Smith were right to point out what ever growing numbers of Americans are beginning to see for themselves, that population control as foreign policy makes Uncle Sam into the Ugly American, resented and distrusted around the globe.

While documenting and denouncing IPPF’s abortion activism was the reason for this meeting with the media, the press conference itself marked something of a watershed. It was the first time that PRI has addressed the national media. The anti-life agenda which seeks to limit the population of the developing world will no longer enjoy the luxury of operating in stealth and darkness. PRI intends to publicly and persistently expose the inherent racism and inhumanity of such programs. The 18 April press conference announced a new voice in the debate over population control — and it is not the voice of the status quo.


1 “Population report sees growth split,” UPI, Washington, 27 December; “World population facts,” Associated Press, Washington, 28 December.

2 The Washington Post: “World’s population to reach milestone of 5 billion today,” 7 July 1986, p. A5 and, “U.N. celebrates birth of world’s 5 billionth baby,” 12 July 1987, p. A23; The New York Times: “Group says population hits five billion today,” 7 July 1986, Section 2, p. 8 and, “And baby makes five billion: U.N. hails a Yugoslav infant,” 12 July 1987, p. 5.

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