A GIANT IN THE EARTH by Robert Katz

A GIANT IN THE EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A book to unsettle Malthusian prophets of starvation, advocates of zero population growth, and even some ecology enthusiasts. Katz, a former United Nations agricultural expert, claims that new high-yield grain seeds, together with adequate fertilizers and extended cultivation, can multiply food supplies 150-fold and feed at least 500 billion people. Even the grimmest exponential demographic extrapolations would take a while to reach that figure. Katz condemns the racist ""Too many Asians"" attitude of certain zero-growth advocates, who, he claims, are backed by powerful interests which are attempting control of the world's natural resources. He lists these interests which include many of Fortune's top 500 corporations but major foundations as well. Pollution, Katz declares, is mostly caused by nature, not human habitation per se -- and most of the remainder is simply the effect of ""good business"" (profitable) practices like dumping industrial wastes and building filth-prolific vehicles. Further, humans cannot ""use up"" minerals, since we do not throw them into outer space; the real task is development of sufficient power sources to mine and recycle minerals. Katz cites evidence that ""development of a successful commercial [atomic] fusion process would knock out all longterm speculation on energy adequacy"" and could be realized within ""a generation or two."" The resources are available for this and the Green Revolution but they are ""presently used for other purposes, such as maintaining nuclear arsenals, puppet states, and counter-insurgency wars."" The book concludes that ""the great clamor of exhaustion being raised. . . is but the wail of a sluggish social system."" A tough polemic for ""the other side"" of the zero-growth question, universally recommended.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1972
Publisher: Stein & Day