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The geopolitical context of population control

A commentary on Evangelium Vitae, No. 12

by the PhilFam Committee
08 September 1998

In March 1995, Pope John Paul II spoke of a "profound crisis of culture" the most obvious symptoms of which are intellectual and moral confusion. He called this a "culture of death", because it is sustained through "structures of sin". Somewhat uncharacteristically, he does not hesitate to call the phenomenon a war, saying:

This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency. Looking at the situation from this point of view, it is possible to speak in a certain sense of a war of the powerful against the weak: a life which would require greater acceptance, love and care is considered useless, or held to be an intolerable burden, and is therefore rejected in one way or another.1

Is the Holy Father speaking in figurative terms or riddles when he uses such terminology? Not at all. World history stands witness to what he is saying. The "currents" he speaks of have names, and the Filipino people have experienced swimming in these currents, as we are even today, still inundated by them. They are historically related and cumulative, namely: Humanism and Secular Humanism, Malthusianism, Darwinian Evolutionism, Eugenics, Social Darwinism, Racism, Radical Feminism, Colonialism, and lately, a Pantheistic Environmentalism. These constitute the fundamental motives for the global population control we know today. The damage wrought by these man-made disasters explains why to-date, in many places, Christianity is still largely "split-level".

The "war of the powerful against the weak" that the Pope speaks of in EV, 12 might ordinarily be interpreted in micro terms as the everyday individual experience of injustice and oppression. But the context the above text is geopolitical, and in macro terms, John Paul II is referring not primarily to individuals but to nations and aggrupations, i.e., powerful groups of people, allied in their aggression against less powerful groups of people, creating the setting for injustice at intermediate levels all the way down to individuals. Let us examine how this has come about in recent world history, and realize how remarkably informed the Pope is even in these temporal situationers.


Since the end of the Second World War, global diplomacy came to be dominated by the idea of "two blocs" which it inherited from the Yalta Conference. It was thus that the post-WW2 world was seen to be divided into two ideological blocs: East vs. West. In common parlance, the Communist nations vis-a-vis the "Free World". With variations of emphasis, this basic idea underlies such formulas as "cold war", "zones of influence", "peaceful co-existence", "détente", and so on.

By 1970, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski2 drew attention to the problem of the increasing economic gap between the world's nations and the threat that such a gap posed to rich nations.3 It was the oil crisis of 1973 that precipitated a substantial recognition of the gap. From the time of the Yom Kippur war and the oil crisis, circles of influence in the United States began to see the importance of another division, this time based on the economic gap — the "North-South split". Three "worlds" thus came to be recognized in geopolitical and journalistic circles: the Free World, the Communist World, and a "Third" World.

Reminiscent of Pharaoh's Egypt (cf. Ex 1:8ff), the N-S gap raised an ominous fear: If oil producing countries could organize themselves and threaten the foundations of the economy of industrialized countries, what will happen if poor countries producing primary products decide to co-ordinate their action and impose their own conditions on the rich?


To arrest this fear, David Rockefeller proposed that his brother Nelson's earlier recommendations for dealing with the East-West split be applied to the North-South split. More than this, and very importantly, he extended to the whole world the "Pan-American" concept which in 1969 had been intended only for the American continent.

It was in this spirit that David Rockefeller, in accordance with a specific suggestion made by Brzezinski, organized the TRILATERAL COMMISSION in 1973. The USA, Western Europe and Japan sought to seek a better understanding among themselves, since they faced a Third World with a rapidly expanding population, which was likely to organize itself, and on which industrialized countries depend for raw materials, energy and markets.4

The Trilateral Commission is an international high-level but unofficial advisory organization created to study urgent world problems. Founded in 1973, it consists of more than 300 influential representatives from governmental, academic, and corporate fields from three democratic industrialized regions: North America (United States and Canada), the European Union, and Japan. Representatives meet annually, alternately in the three regions, to discuss matters of common concern. The commission issues publications on such subjects as peacekeeping, international migration, regionalism, arms control, post-cold war issues, North-South relations, international economic management, world trade, monetary systems, debt and the Third World, energy, world commodities, agricultural policy, malnutrition, and ecology.

Dominant here is the old idea of national security, adopted by the Trilateral Commission. In its view, the threat was seen as coming from poor countries, no longer just the Communist States.


The Trilateral Commission's idea of integration was emphasized. Economies have become interdependent — rich countries should strengthen rather than devour each other. They should preserve and even increase their advantages.

TNCs & TNBs. The multinational corporations (today known as transnationals or TNCs) appear here as an essential cog in the Trilateral Commission's strategic response to the "threat" of competition from an organized Third World. TNCs would become instrumental in establishing oppressive mechanisms. They provide for limited industrialization, but thanks to their expatriate headquarters, they make it possible to control labor costs. TNCs keep the right to blackmail by factory closure if they consider the workers' claims to be exorbitant. They organize competition, but at the same time they control it.5 These competitive relationships are in fact confined to the world of the workers. In the world as a whole, inequalities of wages constitute a factor for division which is maintained deliberately as a means of control. In short, the multinationals guard their oligopolies. They supervise and can slow down the economic development of satellite nations.

The rise of TNCs included the establishment of transnational banks, or TNBs. During the 1970s, loans made by such banks came to account for nearly 70 percent of all international finance. Although the failure of many nations to repay these earlier loans has forced greater caution (such loans accounted for 20% of all international finance in 1985), the TNBs are still able to move vast sums of money from nation to nation, making money on money by investing where such factors as interest rates and currency exchange rates combine to provide the highest possible returns. These shifts in assets can and do provoke further shifts in the value of currencies on the world market and in interest rates, leading in turn to new decisions regarding where liquid assets might best be put to work. This new and potentially extreme volatility of the world's money markets is all but beyond political control and definitely beyond unilateral contol6 — unless, in the emerging age of information, there is an entity that can monopolize and access global financial information.

High Technology. Scientific research would have to be intensified and concerted in order to guarantee continuous and decisive advances. However, this would be exported shrewdly, so that countries already fairly highly industrialized would not be able to compete with the sophisticated production of countries in the post-industrial era, an oligopoly7 which such countries intend to preserve jealously.


It may be noted here that Nelson Rockefeller's Pan-Americanism had been amplified, extrapolated and made total, and this amounted to what Mr. Brzezinski called "globalism". Before David Rockefeller, it was a question of a new Pan-American society; but afterwards, with the Trilateral Commission, the interdependence of nations made it urgent to build a new, strictly corporatist world order.

The TNC is a cluster of businesses located in several different nations but owned and managed by the same people. These are modern versions of cartels, associations of businesses formed in the early 20th century to establish national or international monopolies over particular raw materials or manufactured goods. Despite their power, cartels depended in part on being able to maintain supportive economic and fiscal policies in the nations where they were headquartered. They were thus vulnerable to shifting political fortunes and the concomitant fluctuations in national policy. The modern TNC is a far more independent network of fiscal, research, productive, and distributive institutions. TNCs are supranational institutions created by giant corporations bent on carrying the principles of free trade — and the quest for oligopoly into the global arena. Although they may have headquarters in a single nation,8 they carry out important management and production activities around the globe. Some have become extremely large, with gross annual sales larger than the GNPs of many nations.9 Let us make no mistake about it: TNCs are world powers and their boards hold national politicians by the reins.

One can therefore understand the fear of many in both North and South that under such an order, there is little or no room for representative democracy.

The ease with which TNCs can transfer monies from nation to nation — and the fiscal pressures they can bring to bear on both national economies and the private bank accounts of all too human government officials — can make it almost impossible for individual governments to bring them under the effective control of national policy institutions. As a consequence, TNCs sometimes engage in a variety of injurious actions that would have been violations of criminal, regulatory, or civil law in their home countries and elsewhere. They have made illegal contributions to political parties, offered bribes to local officials, and refused to comply with the laws and regulations of the host nation.10 The fact is, it is the less developed countries to whom TNCs are most necessary, because of the investments and employment they can generate.

The USA to lead in an unequal world. Just as in the Pan-American concept, a rapid transition from interdependence to dependence was envisioned. In fact, not all countries, not even those in the Trilateral, were equally developed. And so, because of its presence and commitments throughout the world, and due also to its economic, political and scientific potential, the United States saw itself as entitled to assume the duty of world leadership.

The US would be helped in this task by satellite nations, whose more or less privileged status would be a function of their relative development. Western Europe would be in the forefront, then Japan. They will develop, but development will be controlled and contingent upon US interests.

Austerity would no longer be a mere virtue, but a duty. It would be all the more necessary, to restrain growth and practice economic Malthusianism in order to protect an environment threatened by pollution. The theoretical justification of "zero growth" appeared in 1972 in the Meadows Report ("Limits to Growth") and was published by the Club of Rome — both undertakings financed by the Rockefeller group.11

Communists to comply. Communist countries would not have been able to stay out of this global plan. First in line would be the more industrialized countries (Romania, Yugoslavia), but China itself deserves special mention. In short, the doctrine named after H. Sonnenfeld, which presents the integrity of the communist world as a condition of world peace, was seriously challenged.

Third World to follow. Finally, the countries of the Third World will be expected to collaborate as far as they can in this integrated program. But they should not be aggravated by ancient methods of exploitation, since rich countries need their resources. They must be allowed to develop, but under control. Among other things, one could transfer polluting industries, declared undesirable by ecologists, to their territory. They must in any case be prevented from organizing themselves behind the backs of more powerful nations. It would even be possible, following Mr. Carter's example, to make concessions to them in the field of human rights insofar as such measures could give the illusion of a certain degree of democratization.

Pax Americana. The broad theme of national security appears again and again: global development must be dependent on and subordinate to the security of the Superpower. For the Trilateral Commission, the choice was between Pax Americana or chaos. In support of the Trilateral Commission, Mr. Brzezinski concluded:

To sum up: Though the objective of shaping a community of the developed nations is less ambitious than the goal of world government, it is more attainable. It is more ambitious than the concept of an Atlantic community but historically more relevant to the new spatial revolution. Though cognizant of present divisions between communist and non-communist nations, it attempts to create a new framework for international affairs not by exploiting these divisions but rather by striving to preserve and create openings for eventual reconciliation. Finally, it recognizes that the world's developed nations have a certain affinity and that only by nurturing a greater sense of communality among them can an effective response to the increasing threat of global fragmentation — which itself intensifies the growing world-wide impatience with human inequality be surmounted. 12

These are the basic ideas at the root of the global ambitions of the United States. The vision transcends changes of government, administration and individuals. In it, there is a linkup of government and TNCs. The reinterpretation of Nelson Rockefeller's Pan-Americanism has already clearly become global. This globalization was clarified in circles close to Mr. David Rockefeller and concurrently in Mr. Brzezinski's study devoted to the role of the USA in the "technotronic era".

The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. [...] [T]he capacity to assert social and political control over the individual will vastly increase. It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date, complete files, containing even most personal information about the health or personal behavior of the citizen in addition to more customary data. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities. -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, protegι of David Rockefeller, cofounder of the Trilateral Commission, and NSA to Jimmy Carter, from his 1971 book "Between Two Ages"
Now this re-interpretation was not simply an intellectual exercise. It was accompanied by the installation of efficient tools. These tools were political, scientific, economic and technological. Dependency must be as total as the needed collaboration. Universities and research centers would have their freedom of initiative severely restricted and would lose their critical function. Their grants would depend on their willingness to bind themselves to research programs laid down by the dominating minority.13 International organizations such as the United Nations, alliances such as NATO were subsumed in this all-embracing aim. Much emphasis would be placed on ecological problems because, from this angle, it would be easy to persuade satellites — particularly Third World countries — to agree to adopt measures of austerity: "small is beautiful".14

The 1980s was the decade of internalization of these motherhood ideas. Once they became second nature, economies as such became more important than the ideologies.15


In a Pax Americana, members of the Trilateral Commission would have the initial global advantage — with the US above Japan and the EU, of course. The role of population control operations in the overall economic and political strategy would be to minimize the consumption of natural resources and raw materials in resource-rich countries. The goal is not to exterminate the native population altogether, but to stabilize it to an equilibrium, just enough so that there would remain a viable market for the products of the TNCs. In 1992, such an equilibrium would earn the name "sustainable development". The economic beneficiaries would ultimately be the TNCs. Government trade and commercial embassies and population assistance agencies would therefore be ultimately at the service of big business. The following are just a few "possibilities" which can be expected even as the new corporatist world order is unfolding:

The strongest political entity that can check TNCs are governments, which can impose limits to TNC power. Governments can drive hard bargains on contracts or contract renewals, monitor or screen investors and ownership, rigorous taxation and investment policies, and even outright nationalization — but this will all really depend on whose side a government really is. Overly hospitable governments stand little chances against extra-constitutional activities of multinational corporations.


The E-W split ended with the end of the Cold War in 1990, with Pope John Paul II playing the key role. But the N-S split continues. Consistent with David Rockefeller's proposal to deal with the N-S split in the same manner that it had with the E-W conflict, the machinery that was utilized to wage the cold war is the selfsame machinery — albeit more sophisticated, elevated, and more widespread — that is being used to wage the war of the powerful against the weak.


In our "civilized" world, modern strategic studies contemplate alternatives to conventional war, and economic warfare is one such alternative to outright invasion by the Northern Bloc. The stratagem is to establish a global welfare dependency system which can be controlled through financial institutions.

The Pontifical Commission Iustitia et Pax, in its document entitled "An Ethical Approach to the International Debt Question" (1987), recognized the basic cycle of economic oppression wrought by rich countries upon developing countries.17

The remote causes for the phenomenon of international indebtedness go back to the time when widely shared opinions about growth possibilities led developing countries to look for capital and commercial banks to offer credits for financial investments, sometimes at high risk. The prices for raw materials were favorable and the majority of debtor nations remained solvent.

The first and second oil crises in 1974 and 1979, the fall in the price of raw materials and the abundance of petrodollars in search of profitable investments, as well as the effects of overly-ambitious development programs, contributed to the massive indebtedness of many developing countries. At the same time, industrialized countries were taking protectionist measures, while worldwide, interest rates were going up. Debtor countries became increasingly incapable of meeting even the interest on their debt.

From around 1983-84, the accumulation of payments due had reached such a level that many countries were no longer in a position to honor their agreements, and found themselves forced to seek further loans, thus getting caught in a web, escape from which has become very difficult to predict.

Debtor countries found themselves caught in a vicious cycle. In order to pay back their debts, they were obliged to transfer ever greater amounts of money outside the country. These are resources which should have been available for internal purposes and investment, and therefore for their own development. The cycle can be presented in the following iterative succession:

000   Poverty
001   No national savings
002   No local investment
003   Recourse to foreign loans (with onerous conditions; protectionism)
004   Service foreign loans
005   GO TO 001

The phenomenon of indebtedness has brought to the fore the growing interdependence of economies whose mechanisms — capital flows and commercial exchanges — have become subject to new constraints. Thus, external factors heavily condition the evolution of the debt of developing countries. In particular, floating and unstable exchange rates, the variations in interest rates and the temptation of industrialized countries to maintain protectionist measures have created an increasingly unfavorable environment for debtor countries that thus become still more vulnerable.

The situation has reached such a critical stage that the Latin American Parliament, a consultative organization that gathers representatives from all Central and South American countries are praying for their campaign of selective repudiation of all Third World debts. Venezuelan Congressman Pablo Medina says, "We believe that there is a legal debt that we have to honor, but there is also an illegal one that has been perpetuated because of irrational interest rates imposed by private banks". He also said that the Vatican found nothing objectionable about their campaign.18

The constant condition for the granting of loans has been — and still is today — the official acceptance of population control programs imposed by the debtor nation or the multilateral financial organization. The conditions also opened the doors for the influx of western institutions and organizations and birth control technologies into developing countries.


1 Evangelium Vitae, No. 12. For related readings see Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Nos. 14-25.

2 Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski, b. Warsaw, Poland, Mar. 28, 1928, is a political scientist specializing in international relations who served (1977-81) as national security advisor under the Carter administration. From 1973 to 1977, Brzezinski was director of the Trilateral Commission, an organization devoted to common concerns of the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. In 1981, Brzezinski returned as a professor to Columbia University, where he had established (1962) the Research Institute on Communist Affairs (subsequently called the Research Institute on International Change) and also became senior advisor at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is author of The Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict (1960), Power and Principle (1983), Game Plan: How to Conduct the U.S.-Soviet Contest (ed. by Harold Evans; 1986), Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the 21st Century (1993), and other works.

3 Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technotronic Era, Penguin books, Harmondsworth, re-edition 1978). Brzezinski's role in breaking the E-W stalemate and ending the cold war should be noted, as he was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, and has his ethnic roots in Poland.

4 In French: La Trilatérale was in particular presented in Le Monde diplomatique. See articles by Diana Johnstone, Les puissances économiques qui soutiennent Carter (Nov. 1976, n. 272), pp. 1 & 13 ff.; Jean-Pierre Cot, Un grand dessein conservateur pour l'Amérique (Sept. 1977, n. 282), pp. 2-3; Píerre Dommergues, L'essor du conservatisme américain (May 1978, n. 290), pp. 6-9.

5 It has come to a point where state interests are playing second fiddle to corporate interests. Global economics is wagging global politics more and more. The primary role of Government seems to be shifting from serving citizens to serving and positioning big business to maximize corporate profit.

6 Kay Lawson. The Human Polity (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1989), p. 127.

7 ie, control of the [global] market by a few dominant firms.

8 The US and Japan are the first and second largest centers of TNCs.

9 For example, in 1984, each of the following TNCs' gross sales exceeded the Philippine GNP of $32.86 B: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell Group, General Motors, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, British Petroleum, Mobil, Ford Motor Company, C.Itoh, Marubeni, Texaco, Sumitomo, IBM, Sears Roebuck, EI du Pont de Nemours, AT&T. Exxon, the biggest, is ranked between the GNPs of Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

10 A classic example is the ITT (International Telephone and Telegraph Company) collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency's campaign against Salvador Allende in Chile.

11 Cf. Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (Paris, 1972) and Limits to Growth (Rome, 1972). Numerous publications provide material for the debates on the limits to growth, but do not always shed new light on it. See also "The Population and Environment Connection" by Carlyn E. Orians and Marina Skumanich (prepared for the Futures Studies Unit, Office of Policy Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

12 Between Two Ages, p. 308.

13 Between Two Ages, pp. 9-21; 201 ff.

Commenting on Mr. Brzezinski's ideas on this subject, Anthony Arblasters writes the following: "It is depressing enough that intellectuals should be willing to accept the roles which Brzezinski foresees for them - 'specialists ... involved ... in government undertakings' and 'house-ideologues for those in power'. But the subordination of intellectuals to the State and its requirements does not occur only at the individual level. There is a strengthening tendency for the institutions within which ... most intellectuals now work, also to be shaped according to the particular political priorities of particular governments". In Ideology and Intellectuals, "Knowledge and Belief in Politics", pp. 123 ff.

14 Allusion to EF Schumacher's Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, (Perennial Library, 352, New York, 1975).

15 John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene, Megatrends 2000, (New York: William Morrow & Co, 1990), p. 29.

16 Today, in fact, industrialized nations are engaged in outright piracy of biological resources, through the acquisition and patenting of genes, flora and fauna.

17 Cf. Roger Cardinal Etchegaray and Jorge Mejía, At the Service of the Human Community: An Ethical Approach to the International Debt Question (Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1987), p.3.

18 Dominic Botinelli, EWTN Daily News Briefs, 3 October 1996.

RECOMMENDED READING: Centesimus Annus by Pope John Paul II
The Architecture of Modern Political Power by Daniel Pouzzner

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