Excerpt: 'Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity'

The EPA says that, although some cities have to ship garbage to other states, overall landfill capacity is actually increasing. Dump operators keep finding new ways to pack the trash tighter, to make it decompose faster, and pile it higher. Some landfill owners actually compete for our trash; they make money off it by putting grass on top of it and building ski slopes and golf courses.

And America has huge amounts of open space. Not that we are going to fill it all with garbage-all of America's garbage for the next five hundred years would fit into one landfill one hundred yards high. And it wouldn't even be the size of one of Ted Turner's ranches.

The fact that we have plenty of room-gets no publicity.

MYTH: The world is too crowded.

TRUTH: That's garbage too.

We've heard this one for decades. News articles warn of "the population bomb," a "tidal wave of humanity," and plead "No more babies." Clueless alarmists like Ted Turner warn, "There's lots of problems all over the world caused by too many people." It's true that the world population today is more than six billion people, but who says that's too many?

We could take the entire world population, move everyone into the state of Texas, and the population density there would still be less than that of New York City. I said that to Turner, who then looked at me as if I'd unwrapped a dead fish.

TED TURNER It is a catastrophe that's just a time bomb that's waiting to happen. STOSSEL But people are our greatest wealth. More people is a good thing. TED TURNER Up to a point. Up to a point. And you, as a newsman, should damn well know that. Eventually you stand around in a desert with nothing to eat. That's absurd. The media runs pictures of starving masses in Africa and blames that on overpopulation. One writer, worrying about Niger, said that we must "reduce birth rates drastically, otherwise permanent famine . . . will be the norm." But Niger's population density is nine persons per square kilometer, minuscule compared to population densities in wealthy countries like the USA (28), Japan (340), the Netherlands (484), and Hong Kong (6,621). The number of people isn't the problem.

Famine is caused by things like civil wars and government corruption that interfere with the distribution of food. Sudan had famine when government militia forces stripped the land of cattle and grain. In Niger, 2.5 million people are starving because food production is managed by the state. The absence of property rights, price controls, and other cruel socialist experiments under way in Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho are starving millions more. In Zimbabwe, it's Robert Mugabe's kleptocracy that's doing the damage.

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