Part 3: Zero Growth Kills Millions


Reversing the Devastation of Globalization


In a 1983 report Lyndon LaRouche warned: 

“In the coming period, fission sources, increasingly supplemented and later entirely superseded by thermonuclear, must be the leading feature of energy-generation policy. It would not be possible to supply supplies of added energy adequate to approach the requirements of the developing sector, most emphatically, without primary emphasis on unleashing and expanding potentials for fission generation of electricity and process heat today, and proceeding as rapidly as possible toward progress in successively more advanced versions of controlled thermonuclear processes. Without this policy, tens of millions or some multiple of that must die of increased mortality rates, for lack of energy supplies adequate to prevent this.” (Emphasis added.)

 — A Fifty-Year Development Policy for the Indian-Pacific Oceans Basin, EIR, 1983.

Today, 40 years later, we can see the catastrophic realities of the failure to adopt his program. Take 1980 to 2010 as a roughly generational period for comparing what could have happened globally, under LaRouche’s program, and LaRouche’s forecast for how many lives would be lost if this program was not adopted. 

As examples of successful development over a 30-year period we take the cases of South Korea and China. 

For South Korea, start with the average national economic energy-flux-density values in the 1970s—we focus on four values, energy and electricity consumption per capita and per square kilometer. Then look at South Korea’s growth into the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Over this 30-year time period, electricity consumption grew to 1,400% per capita and 1,900% per square kilometer of 1970s values (to 7,500 and 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year, respectively); primary energy consumption grew to 600% per capita and to 800% per square kilometer of 1970s values (to 50,000 and 25 million kilowatt-hours per year, respectively).

South Korea

  1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Electricity per capita (kWh) 544 1,381 3,650 7,521
Electricity per km² (million kWh) 0.2 0.6 1.7 3.8
Energy per capita (kWh) 8,647 15,849 35,191 50,467
Energy per km² (million kWh) 3.2 6.7 16.4 25.1
The World Bank: Population, total: ( 1 ) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision. ( 2 ) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, ( 3 ) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, ( 4 ) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report ( various years ), ( 5 ) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and ( 6 ) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. The World Bank: Land area (sq. km): Food and Agriculture Organization, electronic files and web site. The World Bank: Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita), Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1970-2010), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


For China, start a decade later, in the 1980s. We see resulting decadal growth rates a bit lower than South Korea, but no less impressive, when considering the size of the Chinese country and population (additionally, the 2010s data only goes through 2015, so we are missing China’s continued growth from 2015 to 2019). Electricity consumption grew to 950% per capita and to 1,200% per square kilometer of 1980s values (to 3,500 and 500,000 kilowatt-hours per year, respectively); primary energy consumption grew to 325% per capita and to 420% per square kilometer of 1980s values (to 50,000 and 25 million kilowatt-hours per year, respectively).

China

  1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Electricity per capita (kWh) 365 728 1,744 3,483
Electricity per km² (million kWh) 0.04 0.09 0.24 0.50
Energy per capita (kWh) 7,623 9,570 15,339 24,765
Energy per km² (million kWh) 0.9 1.2 2.1 3.6
The World Bank: Population, total: ( 1 ) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision. ( 2 ) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, ( 3 ) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, ( 4 ) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report ( various years ), ( 5 ) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and ( 6 ) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. The World Bank: Land area (sq. km): Food and Agriculture Organization, electronic files and web site. The World Bank: Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita), Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1970-2010), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


To visualize the national economic energy-flux-density growth for these nations during their respective 30-year intervals, we can isolate and graph annual electricity consumption per capita (the figures from Japan from the 1960s to the 1990s are included as well).

The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1960-2016), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


As LaRouche said in his 1983 report, 

“We know, speaking broadly on this point, that if a developing nation, for example, is to reach the levels of sustainable population-density obtained in industrialized nations, those developing economies must achieve approximately the per capita energy-throughput of industrialized economies.”

This is exactly what South Korea and China have been able to accomplish. Simplifying things a bit to show this, we can take the average values of South Korea and China (a relatively smaller and a relatively larger nation) at the bookends of their respective 30-year development periods, and compare these averaged values with the average 1980s values for a selection of industrialized nations (USA, Germany, France, and the UK).

  Electricity per capita (kWh) Electricity per km² (million kWh) Energy per capita (kWh) Energy per km² (million kWh)
South Korea (1970s)
& China (1980s)
454 0.12 8,135 2.02
South Korea (2000s)
& China (2010s)
5,502 2.12 37,616 14.34
USA, Germany, France, & United Kingdom (1980s) 6,661 0.83 55,538 6.9
The World Bank: Population, total: ( 1 ) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision. ( 2 ) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, ( 3 ) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, ( 4 ) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report ( various years ), ( 5 ) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and ( 6 ) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. The World Bank: Land area (sq. km): Food and Agriculture Organization, electronic files and web site. The World Bank: Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita), Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1970-2016), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


In each of our four basic metrics (electricity and energy consumption per capita and per square kilometer), the average value of South Korea in the 2000s and China in the 2010s is near or beyond the average 1980s values of the four example industrialized countries. 

This average of China and South Korea values, at their respective 30-year time intervals, serves as a reference point for what other developing nations could have achieved under LaRouche's program, and a basis to assess the consequences of going with globalization, free trade, and radical environmentalism instead. 

 

Mass-Murderous Consequences of Globalization

To illustrate the horrific realities of energy poverty and the importance of national economic energy-flux-density growth, we can compare electricity consumption per capita in individual countries with various measurements of their quality of life and mortality rates. To avoid some of the wider energy-flux-density variation expressed in small nations, we have only selected nations larger than 25,000 square kilometers (the size of the U.S. State of Maryland).

First, comparing child mortality and child stunting rates (under the age of five) against the electricity consumption per capita in each country, we see a clear correlation, with the low-energy-flux-density countries suffering rates twenty times higher.

The World Bank: Mortality rate, under-5 (per 1,000 live births): Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation ( UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division ) at childmortality.org. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.

 

The World Bank: Prevalence of stunting, height for age (% of children under 5): UNICEF, WHO, World Bank: Joint child malnutrition estimates ( JME ). Aggregation is based on UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank harmonized dataset ( adjusted, comparable data ) and methodology. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


Additionally, we see the same relation if we look at poverty rates (defined as living on less than $1.90 per day) and the rates of death from communicable diseases and malnutrition. 

The World Bank: Cause of death, by communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions (% of total): Derived based on the data from WHO’s Global Health Estimates. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.

 

The World Bank: Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population): World Bank, Development Research Group. Data are based on primary household survey data obtained from government statistical agencies and World Bank country departments. Data for high-income economies are from the Luxembourg Income Study database. For more information and methodology, please see PovcalNet ( iresearch.worldbank.org/PovcalNet/index.htm ). The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


If we look at positive metrics, indicating a healthy economy, we, again, see a strong correlation to the respective country’s energy flux density (as expressed in electricity consumption per capita). For example, the following three charts show literacy rates, hospital beds per capita, and life expectancy at birth.

The World Bank: Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above): UNESCO Institute for Statistics ( uis.unesco.org ). The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.

 

The World Bank: Hospital beds (per 1,000 people): Data are from the World Health Organization, supplemented by country data. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.

 

The World Bank: Life expectancy at birth, total (years): ( 1 ) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision, or derived from male and female life expectancy at birth from sources such as: ( 2 ) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, ( 3 ) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, ( 4 ) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report ( various years ), ( 5 ) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and ( 6 ) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


To examine this type of relation in more detail (and estimate the loss of actual human lives over the past generation), we focus on the relation between the number of infant deaths (before one year of age) in a country and that country’s electricity consumption per capita. 

To be a bit more rigorous, we recognize there are benefits provided by technological and scientific advance over time which are not expressed by a quantity of energy or electricity consumption per capita or per area. For example, the medical capabilities supported by 5,000 kWh per capita in 1970 are inferior to 5,000 kWh per capita in 2010, because of advances in medical science, global dissemination of knowledge, engineering and manufacturing advances, etc. However, how much of a difference have these advances actually made for countries that are still suffering energy poverty? 

We can investigate this by taking the relation of infant deaths to electricity consumption per capita for countries in 1970, and then in 1980, and then in 1990, 2000, and 2010, to see how the relation changes over time.¹ As can be seen, although there are improvements—i.e., lower infant death rates at a given level of electricity consumption over time—having an economy characterized by higher rates of electricity consumption per capita is still the far more important factor, especially for the most energy-starved countries. Stated in another way, the benefits of scientific and technological progress require a high-energy-flux-density economy to be adequately expressed.

The World Bank: Number of infant deaths: Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation ( UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division ) at childmortality.org. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (2005-2014), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


There is no substitute for the necessity of escaping energy poverty. At each of these decade time intervals, countries with economies represented by 100 kilowatt-hours electricity consumption per capita per year had infant death rates around one hundred times larger than countries with economies represented by 10,000 kilowatt-hours per capita per year. 

While China and South Korea have achieved programs of successful development, expressed in dramatic increases in national economic energy flux density, the vast majority of underdeveloped countries have not been able to do so in the globalization system.

Sadly, this means we can test LaRouche’s forecast of the mass murderous consequences of failing to follow his program of global economic development led by energy-flux-density growth. 

If we select countries with less than 900 kilowatt-hours electricity consumption per capita per year in 2010, we have 35 energy-starved, low-energy-flux-density countries, suffering from higher rates of infant deaths and other mortality and low quality of life consequences.² 



Using the average of South Korea and China (at their respective 30-year intervals) as a reference for successfully developing nations, and taking the average of United States, Germany, France, and the UK as expressing industrialized nations, we can compare the electricity consumption per capita per year for these two references against these 35 energy-starved nations from 1980 to 2010. 

The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1990-2010), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


A logarithmic vertical axis helps to show the individual values for each of the 35 energy-starved nations.

The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1990-2010), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


What are the deadly consequences of this lack of the development, and how do they compare to LaRouche’s warning? 

If these 35 energy-starved nations went through the same 30-year energy-flux-density development as China and South Korea, their infant mortality rates would have declined. Because this did not happen, we can estimate the number of infant deaths each year attributed to failing to follow this 30-year development model. 

In his 1983 report, LaRouche warned that without a vigorous program of nuclear fission and fusion development for the developing world, “tens of millions or some multiple of that must die of increased mortality rates, for lack of energy supplies adequate to prevent this.” 

From our estimate of only infant deaths, we can conclude that at least 45 million babies have died unnecessarily from 1980 to 2010, because of the failure to pursue the kind of vigorous energy programs called for by LaRouche. 

The World Bank: Population, total: ( 1 ) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision. ( 2 ) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, ( 3 ) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, ( 4 ) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report ( various years ), ( 5 ) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and ( 6 ) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. The World Bank: Number of infant deaths: Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation ( UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division ) at childmortality.org. The World Bank: Electric power consumption (kWh per capita): IEA (2014). Based on IEA data from IEA (1990-2010), www.iea.org/statistics. All rights reserved; as modified by the World Bank and Benjamin Deniston.


This greatly underestimates the overall tragic reality of global policies during the past 40 years. A number of energy-starved countries were not included because they did not have the required energy data; this does not count countries with electricity consumption values above 900 kilowatt-hours per capita per year, but below those of industrialized countries; and it only focuses on death rates of infants (not counting higher death rates among children, higher death rates in all ages from preventable diseases, lower life-expectancy rates, and more consequences of energy poverty). The global realities of failing to achieve the type of economic development necessary and fully possible—as demonstrated by China and South Korea—can only be described as a level of mass murder far beyond anything achieved by any fascist or communist dictatorship, which has deprived so many of their lives, and deprived the entire world of the creative contributions these people could have made. 

The only form of quasi-justice available today is to take this sad reality of the past as a lesson, ensuring it is not continued into the future. The global requirements for this will be assessed in part five.



Benjamin Deniston 
LaRouchePAC Science 
Ben@LPAC-Organizers.com 

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Footnotes

1. Electricity consumption per capita and infant death data are less available in earlier years, so the number of countries included in each time slice reflects the limitations of available data. [return to top]

2. As above, we are only considering countries larger than 25,000 km² [return to top]

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  • Manuel Hidalgo
    commented 2020-11-01 23:05:30 -0500
    Congatrulations. Perú, for example, have capacity for hidroelectrical generations, but the governement says tath there is not “demand” for construct more hicroelectrical generations plants. The anglofile oligarchy is opposed to any nuclear pacto with Russia, for example, als some forces intends in 2013.
    Look my blog for this issue: https://financiardesarrollo.blogspot.com/2020/01/sigue-desaprovechandose-el-inmenso.html
  • Benjamin Deniston
    published this page in Science 2020-10-23 06:26:51 -0400

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