(May 10, 1995) If the tiny country of Laos had the same population density as the city of Manhattan, we would all be there–the globe’s entire 5.7 billion population, in fact, would have more space per person than do Manhattan residents, who pride themselves on living in one of the world’s most sophisticated cities. The space outside Laos–virtually the entire globe–would then be available for farming, mining, and whatever else our Laotian populace required.
Patricia Adams is an economist and the Executive Director of Probe International, an independent think-tank and watchdog over the environmental consequences of Canadian government and corporate activities around the world. Her books include In the Name of Progress: The Underside of Foreign Aid, (Doubleday 1985), and Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption and the Third World”s Environmental Legacy (Earthscan 1991), which exposes the jeopardy of years of loose lending for both the Third World’s environment and their economies, and proposes a legal remedy to place responsibility for the Third World’s debt crisis on the parties involved, instead of on First and Third World taxpayers. Pat also edited the English language translation of Yangtze! Yangtze!, the extraordinary critique by Chinese experts of the Three Gorges dam that inspired the democracy movement when it was first published in 1989, led to the postponement of the dam, and was subsequently banned by Chinese authorities. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia.
(March 21, 1995) Last November, while leading his Team Canada mission in China, Prime Minister Jean Chretien shocked Canadians by announcing Canadian government support for the mammoth Three Gorges dam project on the Yangtze River, and his intention to use tax dollars to help finance this controversial project.
The world does not have too many people – it does have too many ill-conceived mega-projects that have created pockets of grief.The London Free Press.