Socialist Worker

No room for the poor?

Issue No. 2312

Are there too many people in Britain? A report based on last year’s census says that there are almost half a million more people here than previously thought.

This is partly due to a miscalculation and underestimate at the previous census in 2001. But it also reflects real growth. When figures for Scotland are published it may bring the total population over 63 million.

There’s now the usual scaremongering from those on the right who claim that we are going over an optimum population that can be sustained. The other target for the right is immigration.

But the Tories’ enthusiasm for blaming society’s problems on migrants is being challenged even by some of their own side—by bosses who argue migrants pay taxes and generate profits.

The argument that population should be limited is an old one. It has long been opposed by socialists.

In the 18th century Thomas Malthus said population growth and finite resources caused poverty. Karl Marx and his collaborator Frederick Engels challenged him.

Human ingenuity and modern production means that there is more than enough resources for everyone to have a home and enough to eat.

Today poverty is once again being blamed on poor people having too many children. The Tories’ plan limits on benefits for larger families.

But poverty is not to do with how many people who live in Britain. It exists because a tiny minority at the top try to keep all the wealth to themselves.

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What We Think
Tue 17 Jul 2012, 16:42 BST
Issue No. 2312
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