First, there was the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, with this being followed by the Russian-Ukrainian war and then the controversy over what is known as the “golden billion theory”, especially after comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and statements attributed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates supporting a reduction in human numbers to a so-called “golden billion”.
Suspicions have spread relating to plans to eliminate people through biological warfare and the West’s attempts to colonise the rest of the world as a prelude to placing it under the control of a wealthy elite. Despite denials of this theory and its being considered as merely a fictional conspiracy theory by some, the number of believers has expanded and has not been limited to the developing countries.
There are many who find additional confirmation for the theory in the silence of the Western countries accused of adopting the scheme at an institutional level.
From a scientific point of view, it is difficult to confirm conspiracy theories, because science always relies on tangible evidence to prove its results. However, the absence of evidence does not mean that there is no conspiracy, because the failure to find it may be due to concealment or human weakness.
This article attempts to ascertain the facts about the “golden billion theory” that, according to its believers, sets out to limit human population to the elite population of the West.
According to research published in the international journal Ekoloji entitled “Environmental Polarisation in the Sustainable Development of the Biosphere and Man: Myth or Reality of the Golden Billion Concept”, the theory is based on the increasing scarcity of resources in the developed countries and the growth of the needs of their ruling elites. It is connected with ideas of the Western-dominated new world order.
The research outlines several stages over which the theory of the golden billion has developed, the first of which has been achieving the well-being of the so-called “golden billion” through the democratic values of the developed countries.
The theory is based on statements made by people like Bill Gates, the US businessman and founder of Microsoft. According to an article entitled “Fact Check: Claim Missing Context on Bill Gates 2010 Quote about Population Sustainability” published in the US newspaper USA Today in January last year, a claim had spread on social media that Gates is part of a conspiracy to depopulate the Earth.
It was based on an issue of an Irish newspaper that is no longer in circulation that included a 2011 article headlined “Depopulation Through Forced Vaccination: The Zero Carbon Solution”. In it, the author attributed a quote to Gates saying that the world’s population is “headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, healthcare, and reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”
In its comment on this article, USA Today denied that Gates had intended to eliminate human beings as part of this programme, noting that the quote was incomplete and was excerpted from a speech at a 2010 TEDx conference entitled “Innovating to Zero”.
The newspaper stated that Gates said in his speech that research had shown that children’s access to good nutrition and therapeutic vaccines for common diseases such as malaria and pneumonia could reduce the number of deaths, prompting parents to reduce childbearing based on expectations that their children will survive to adulthood.
British journalist Gideon Rachman wrote an article published on the UK Financial Times website in October last year called “When Conspiracy Theorists run Countries” saying that conspiracy theorists have moved from the streets and have now even become the heads of state.
Among these countries are Turkey, Brazil, the US under former president Donald Trump, and Russia under President Putin, Rachman said. He added that Putin was the “most dangerous” of these presidents because he was “threatening the world with a nuclear war” based on the theory of the golden billion.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni did not escape similar allegations, with Rachman saying that she is fond of conspiracy theories and believes in the “great replacement” theory that claims that there is a plan to weaken Christian culture in Europe by encouraging immigration.
The ultimate goal of this “great replacement” is to convert Europeans into “slaves” and consumers stripped of their national and gender identities, he said.
But despite Rachman’s criticisms of politicians who appear to believe in conspiracy theories, the question arises of whether these conspiracies really exist and what is causing them to spread among politicians in influential countries, including the US and Russia. What drives people to believe in them if there is not enough evidence to support their existence?
The belief in conspiracies may indicate that there is a crisis in international relations related to a lack of transparency and resulting in the spread of propaganda by the world’s large media machines.
ENDORSEMENTS: Speculation about the golden billion theory escalated with the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, especially as this broke out after the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Such speculation became endemic at the popular level and also at the official level in some countries, as official Russian discourse became filled with comments about the golden billion theory that aimed to eliminate the majority of the country’s people.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Putin, speaking at the Strong Ideas for a New Time Forum, said in July last year that “the model of total domination by the so-called ‘golden billion’ is unjust. Why should this ‘golden billion’ dominate everyone else and impose its own rules?”
“Based on the illusion of exceptionalism, it divides peoples into those who are first- and those who are second-rate, and therefore it is racist and neo-colonial in its essence. The globalist, allegedly liberal, ideology underlying it is more and more acquiring the features of totalitarianism, restraining free historical creativeness.”
Putin said in his speech that the West today is unable to provide a model for human life in the future, as it has achieved its historical success by stealing the resources of other peoples in Asia and Africa.
According to the website of the Russian TV channel Russia Today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the current promotion of homosexuality by the Western countries is rooted in the desire of Western elites to reduce the number of people on the planet because of worries about the Earth’s resources.
However, the belief in the golden billion theory is not limited to Russia, but also extends to other parts of the world and even to Western countries such as the US and Canada.
US citizen of Egyptian origin Kamal Rai samsid in an interview that there are strong indicators confirming that the golden billion theory exists, including Gates’ statements related to reducing the number of people in the world and the World Economic Forum’s adoption of schemes apparently supporting this vision.
Millions of Americans believe that such a scheme exists, but there is no leader working to unify their ranks so that opposition to it can be effective, Ramsi said, adding that those seeking to reduce the number of people on the planet first seek to control them through the use of advanced technology and the issuance of laws restricting their freedom.
Ghada Melek, a Canadian politician of Egyptian origin, said in an interview that she believes that there are reasons to take the golden billion theory seriously, one being a monument, the Georgia Guidestones, built in the US state of Georgia in 1980 by unknown persons. This monument carried 10 new “commandments” translated into several languages and engraved on granite slabs. One of the commandments called for reducing the world’s population to 500 million.
Just as this monument was built in a mysterious way, it was also destroyed in a mysterious way, however. In July 2022, it was blown up by unknown people, forcing officials to remove it so that it would not cause injury.
Melek said that for those attracted to the theory the Earth is now home to more people than it has the capacity to support, and thus it has become necessary to reduce the population. This claim was first made by the English economist Thomas Malthus in the early 19th century, who predicted that the world would face a food crisis due to the rapid increase in population. Though this crisis did not in fact occur, Malthus called for getting rid of the poor to solve the problem.
US academic Paul Ehrlich adopted similar ideas at the end of the 1960s in his work at Stanford University in California. Ehrlich predicted that there would be famines by the end of the 1970s as a result of the world’s growing population and claimed that these would wipe out 20 per cent of the population. Of course, these also did not happen.
Melek said that such prophecies have caused fears among many, and it was on the basis of them that the UN Population Fund and Club of Rome were established, the latter including many politicians and economists. One member of the Club of Rome, Dennis Meadows, can be seen in an old videotape calling for reducing the world’s population to two billion for the sake of continued freedom and prosperity.
Otherwise, he said, communism would be necessary to feed the world’s billions.
EVIDENCE: With regard to the current evidence for the golden billion theory, Melek said that there has been a return to the claim that the planet will not be able to accommodate the current population.
Among those who adopt it are influential international organisations such as the World Economic Forum, which includes the largest governments in the world and has the ability to influence the policies of most countries.
Health issues and climate change have become the scarecrows used to pressure people into accepting such ideas. Over the past year, Melek said, the World Economic Forum has begun “declaring war on food” under the slogan of stopping climate change, resulting in decisions such as that to close 3,000 farms in the Netherlands and reducing the use of industrial fertilisers by a third in Canada. This will result in reducing the cultivation of grains such as wheat by the same percentage.
A new war is being waged over rice in the Asian countries, Melek said, as the cultivation of rice can be seen as one of the biggest causes of climate change. Calls to reduce the use of oil will exacerbate the decline of agriculture, as it needs machinery, and food transportation needs trucks that run on diesel and petroleum products. All of these policies coincide with the world food crisis due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Melek said that over the past three years it has seemed to some as if the Covid-19 pandemic was being used to impose the use of experimental vaccines, whether by enticement or intimidation. There has been a great deal of opacity surrounding these vaccines and the decisions made to use them.
In January 2022, the Texas Federal Court in the US issued a ruling requiring the US Food and Drug Administration to publish clinical trials for the Pfizer vaccine, on which it based the decision to use it as an emergency treatment against Covid-19. The company tried to claim that this would take 75 years, but the court only granted it eight months.
The documents were then published in stages to reveal the shocking information that 1,223 people had died out of a total of 4,2000 during the development of the vaccines. Information had been lost for 9,400 people, and 11,000 people who received the vaccine had been permanently injured.
There are always those who question the facts, Melek said, due to the discrepancy between the information put out by the official media and that produced by the alternative media, as well as the unwillingness of some to search for the truth for fear of reaching it. Such problems, she added, are also not spontaneous, but are employed to sow divisions among members of society, making it easier to promote inhumane policies with the least amount of resistance.
While the idea of eliminating billions of the world’s people is one that is only entertained for the moment by a very few, they are prepared to use sophisticated psychological warfare to achieve it. However, the peoples of the world remain more numerous and powerful than they are, and if awareness and human solidarity increase, as people are exposed to the information they need to move away from the official media, such ideas can be resisted.
Growing numbers of people believe in the existence of a golden billion scheme, with declining numbers believing it is just a fictional conspiracy theory. There are serious indicators that support the existence of plans to forcibly reduce the number of people on the planet.
For these reasons, the world is now in dire need of a frank and transparent debate at the international level aimed at revealing the facts about policies intended to regulate the lives of people in the present and future. The exclusion of honest and transparent dialogue increases doubts and divisions and generates conflicts, and it also opens the doors to policies that work to realise the interests of certain groups at the expense of the majority of humanity.
The writer is a researcher in political science and managing editor of the Middle Eastern Visions Platform of the European Centre for Middle East Studies in Germany.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 1 June, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.