Sometimes when rich liberal philanthropists get drunk, they complain to Melinda Gates that the charitable foundation she runs with her husband, billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, might not be a totally good enterprise because it saves the lives of too many sick children in poor countries and therefore contributes to overpopulation.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) December 18, 2016
This bizarre revelation is found in a Nature profile of Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor and statistician who has become an influential figure among Davos attendees such as Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Gateses. Part of Rosling’s work involves trying to persuade paranoid liberals who still believe that overpopulation is a problem that is going to destroy the planet, and Melinda Gates offered some commentary on the matter [emphasis added]:
Rosling’s charm appeals to those frustrated by the persistence of myths about the world. Looming large is an idea popularized by Paul Ehrlich, an entomologist at Stanford University in California, who warned in 1968 that the world was heading towards mass starvation owing to overpopulation. Melinda Gates says that after a drink or two, people often tell her that they think the Gates Foundation may be contributing to overpopulation and environmental collapse by saving children’s lives with interventions such as vaccines. She is thrilled when Rosling smoothly uses data to show how the reverse is true: as rates of child survival have increased over time, family size has shrunk. She has joined him as a speaker at several high-level events. “I’ve watched people have this ‘aha’ moment when Hans speaks,” she says. “He breaks these myths in such a gentle way. I adore him.”
Good to know.
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