The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

1970s Futurist prediction: Egypt wiped out

From the great blog Paleofuture, excerpts (1, 2) from the 1968 American futurist Paul Ehrlichin's book The Population Bomb, in which he predicted global chaos due to high population growth and the Cold War, and advocated sending food aid spiked with anti-fertility drugs to third world countries:

In 1974 the United States government finally realizes that the food-population balance in much of Asia, Africa, and South America is such that most areas cannot attain self-sufficiency. American expeditionary forces are withdrawn from Vietnam and Thailand, and the United States announces it will no longer send food to India, Egypt, and some other countries which it considers beyond hope. A moderate food rationing program is instituted in the United States. It further announces that food production in the United States will be increased only so long as the increase can be accomplished without damage to the environment of the North American continent.

. . .

"Only the outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of bubonic plague killing 65% of the starving Egyptian population had averted a direct Soviet-American clash in the Mediterranean."

Of course in reality the Green Revolution dramatically increases crop renditions, enabling countries like Egypt to feed their rapidly growing populations by both growing more and importing more. Still, with that kind of literature around no wonder the meme of plots to poison the country by food aid remain a staple of the Egyptian yellow media.

If you have heard of any other insane predictions about Egypt or elsewhere in the Arab world, please send them my way!