Acton Institute Powerblog

Paul Ehrlich brings his bad economics to Vatican

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“People Near Train Station” by Redd Angelo (CC0 1.0)

In a recent article, Kishore Jayablan of Istituto Acton addresses the controversy surrounding the Vatican’s invitation to Paul Ehrlich, a known population control activist and the author of the 1968 book The Population Bomb. He was invited for a conference on “biological extinction.” Jayabalan finds this situation troubling:

… the Pontifical Academies for Science and Social Sciences are giving a platform not just to bad economics but blatantly anti-Catholic, immoral social policies.

Ehrlich has flirted with the idea of “coercion in a good cause” for sterilizations and population control. For him, the world cannot support teeming hordes of (non-white) people, even if many of his claims have been debunked by other scholars.

While Jayabalan does not consider an invitation, by any means an endorsement, he does consider it worrisome considering the political climate:

Without having to ask, I am sure the chancellor of the Pontifical Academies defends Ehrlich’s participation in terms of a spirit of open inquiry and debate. But that spirit seems to be open only toward the left and even enemies of Catholic teaching such as Ehrlich, who has called the Church’s bishops “one of the truly evil, regressive forces on the planet, in my opinion, interested primarily in maintaining their power.”

Jayabalam concludes his article by affirming his apprehension about the Pontifical Academies for Science and Social Science and whom they choose as honored guests, but maintains hope concerning Pope Francis’ desire to streamline the “antiquated” operations of the Vatican:

Despite his allergy to economics, Pope Francis has sought to reform and consolidate the antiquated workings of the Vatican. Kudos to him for that. We can only hope that something major is in store for the Pontifical Academies for Science and Social Science, which often welcome ideas and policies that have harmed those whom the Church strives to protect.

To read the full article at The American Spectator click here.

Devin Ryan


  • mel35

    This invitation really makes one wonder about the level and authenticity of the current Vatican’s knowledge about social issues, especially since we have a Pope who is a South American socialist. His only knowledge of most social and economic problems is what he experienced in a dysfunctional leftist country. His understanding of economics is one that knows only of Southern American Crony Capitalism. Let’s hope that the Holy Spirit has his working gloves on right now.

  • mel35

    Why try to comment?

  • ericdijon

    If they’re on the ball, they’ll ask enough questions of Ehrlich so that in presenting his theory, he runs headlong into the errors from which it springs from… or something. Is the Vatican up to that?