26/10/2011 Newsnight


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The make or break meeting on the future of the euro has neither made


it nor broken it, it looks as if the series of decisions due to be


taken today, won't now be taken until tomorrow. That is at the


earliest, it is already gone 11.30 in Brussels. A lot of talk but no


detail, can Europe's leaders agree how to save the project, they claim


is key to the continent's future. There is no substantive deal


tonight, but we may just have seen the birth of a non-euro group.


Banking has rules that need to be learned and followed. What is a


billion or so to bank, how can it go missing and no-one notice. John


Lanchester believes the whole system is so opaque, no-one at the


top can have any confidence they have a clue what is going on. Nick


Leeson, the man who brought down Barings Bank, knows exactly how


true that is. As the seven billionth inhabitant of the planet


arrives, we look at population in this country. That is the end for


me, no more sex! Much of it is to do with foreign


women giving birth in Britain. What does it promise for the future. At


the global level, the head of the United Nations Population Fund is


here with Liones Shriver, who needs to talk about the number of babies


A Greek, an Italian and an Irishman go into a bar, a German settles the


bill. Much of what was agreed to by the German Parliament today was


that. But tonight's so-called final and decisive meeting, which was


supposed to save the euro, is still going on and looks set to go on.


The Italian Prime Minister did turn up at the EU summit in Brussels


today, like a schoolboy handing in late homework, with a letter said


to be promising his Government will try to get a grip. Whether the big


scheme on the brink of being agreed, we don't know. Paul Mason may have


an idea. What is up? It will be several hours before


anybody gets to the bar here in Brussels. They are still behind me


at it, trying to do the deal. The three things they are trying to do


is to save Greece, save the banks and then save the eurozone from a


meltdown following on from not doing the first two. They have


actually managed to come up with a deal we this already done on Sunday,


which is to recapitalise Europe's banks. There will be conditions put


on those banks, shareholders will take some deillusion, anybody who


can't take the hit of Greece effectively going part bust, will


be recapitalised. That is a done deal. The other two are not. Across


the road from me the banks are in negotiation with the EU about how


much of a hit they are prepared to take. They don't want to take much.


Meanwhile, there is this huge issue of what does Italy do in return for


the best part of a trillion euros, for the megabailout that is so


eluding them. Van Rompuy's spokesman said there


would be a deal, is there going to be a deal or not? There will be a


deal. The deal will be a sort of agreement in principle. To come


back, not even at the Cannes summit, I'm led to understand, but in mid-


November, and that all the options that are on the table now, about


the shape of the bailout fund, the ESFS, will still be on the stable


even after Cannes. If the draft they are discussing tonight, I have


had sight of the draft, comes out as it went in. The deal is very


general. The British officials are saying don't expect anything more


than principles. They live in an armour-plated world,


he canueding power. But Europe's leaders came here today, because


for 18 months they have been powerless in the face of market


logic. And nobody has been more powerless than George Papandreou,


the Greek Prime Minister. Of all the crises facing the summit, only


one is imminent. This man's country is rapidly going bust, and soon the


banks that lent the money will have to decide by how much. And only


then does this get real. On Friday, Europe's leaders were warned that


Greek debt is, like its streets, running out of control. The task in


Brussels to decide how much of the 200 billion worth of debt, held by


banks, will be written off. The IMF wants 75%, the European Commission


wanted 60%. The Germans 50%, the banks as little as possible, and to


do it voluntarily. The voluntary principle is key, because it


imposes losses on those who have speculated against Greek debt.


Buyers of derivative, known as credit default swaps. Some think it


would be better just to let Greece go, formally, bust. The banks are


resisting haircut, they don't want the losses on the balance sheet.


They don't want to be recapitalised. There is also a more cynical move


by the European Commission, and political leaders in Europe, to


close down the Credit Default Swap market, we which they believe has


exacerbated the debt markets. Effectively, if they can ban


trading in the CDS market, and avoid a default, these instruments


become worthless as a hedge, which is what they were primarily set up


to achieve. It is a backhand way to close down market they don't like.


So far the Greek debt issue remains unsolved, but on one issue there is


progress. Tonight, the European Union


announced a deal on bank recapitalisation. European banks


will be forced to raise their core capital to 9% by June 2012.


Regulators, including in Britain, would force the banks to raise the


money rather than shrinking back their loans, and those that can't


raise it privately would be part nationalised. TRANSLATION:


Everything the euro group does has to be in keeping with the idea of


the unity of the European Union. We will, in that spirit, present


certain practical solutions, so we can reconcile these two important


European interests. The euro area integration on the one hand, and


the maintaining of the integration of 27 member states. But there is


one final bit of the jigsaw which is huge, and still missing. It


concerns the European Financial Stability Facility, the ESFS, a


megabailout fund. Today has been the tale of two Parliaments, the


German one, in an orderly way, rubber stamping a deal to expand


the ESFS. And the Italian Parliament, where the far right,


and the hard right, had a punch-up over somebody's comment about


somebody else's wife. To those studying the merging deal


in Brussels, the contrast sun fortunate, since Italy is the main


reason why they need to expand the bailout fund. The country is slowly


being frozen out of the sovereign debt markets, and the Government is


faltering. The problem with Italy is the paralysis. This Government


is in a paralysis situation, without the capability to approve


and to decide what is necessary for the country, and for the country


the priorities are debt reduction and policies for growth. So for Mr


Berlusconi, the question is obvious. REPORTER: How can the rest of the


world take you seriously when you can't deliver austerity?


David Cameron left the meeting early tonight, Britain not part of


the core eurozone 17, but not before making this statement.


made good progress on the bank recapitalisation, that wasn't


watered down, it has now been agreed. It will only go ahead when


the other parts of a full package go ahead, and further progress on


that needs to happen tonight. Well, Paul is in Brussels now. What


is David Cameron trying to do, Paul? What I think he's trying to


do, Jeremy, is stealthy create a kind of non-euro group, of the ten


nations that are not in the single currency. He met the Danes, the


Swedes, the Poles and the Czechs tonight, that is who he chose to


meet. The Telegraph is reporting tomorrow it has had sight of the


diplomatic notes. Britain's negotiating position is this, it


wants concrete and effective mechanisms to prevent the emerging


eurozone, it is a were, solidarity, that we are seeing hopefully behind


us, from damaging Britain's national interest. Mr Cameron made


it clear last weekend, that will be a condition of Britain, as it were,


butting out of the whole treaty renegotiation, that will need to


take place to make the eurozone new mechanisms work. The problem


Britain has, is that we want, the British Government wants the


eurozone to work, and to get more like a fiscal union. But as it does,


and John Major the former Prime Minister is righting in the papers


tomorrow, in the FT, saying this, we have to decide what powers we


want to take back. Cameron was laser like in that meeting and


outside it. That is as significant for us as the Brits, as what is


going on now still behind me in the negotiating chamber. When are you


expecting any kind of announcement here? Midnight, maybe afterwards.


Look, the announcement will be very vague. We don't know how big a hit


the banks are going to take, if at all. There is still no way they can


finalise the commitment to bailout Italy, best part of a trillion,


that is what the ESFS is for. Until Berlusconi comes along with a plan


for Italian growth based on more that prof Ligacy. He won't do it


until November 17th, nobody knows the symbolism or significance of it,


he picked the date. With us is Terry Smith, and Katynka Barysch,


from Centre For European Reform, and Megan Greene economist. What do


we make of the fact that there hasn't been the promised decisive


agreement today, tonight? They said it would be a comprehensive


solution, but they have been backing down from that since, and


saying it probably wouldn't end the crisis. There is no surprise there


isn't a comprehensive solution. think it is impossible for them to


come up with a comprehensive solution. It was a pipe dream to


think they could. And you? I agree with that. The problem goes so much


deeper. The problem is we have overindebted nations in Europe that


don't grow. We have lack of solidarity, we don't know how to


get the ECB in. These aren't problems you will sort out in one


night. Like previous summits. say you will? They are trying to


calm down financial markets and buy time. Do you think they will?


think they will. The markets are placid enough, easily led enough,


to calm down now, are they, and back off? I think the markets


understand that what they are trying to do now, this three-part


package, is fiendishly complicated. I would be surprised if they came


up with a quick solution, with all the numbers and here is the package,


and this is what it looks like. Because there is so many different


things that need to come together. It is complex, I'm not too


surprised by that. The sharks like you in the market, are you going to


be pacified by this? No, they have not done anything to address, even


in the things they are discussing, the underlying causes of this. The


peripheral countries are still all falling short of their deficit


reduction. It is quite clear that Greece has defaulted, and will go


further into default, and some other countries will have to leave


the currency to recover. baffled by some of the talk. All


this talk about a deal on recapitalising banks, a deal


involves two contracting parties. The banks have to agree to this,


they haven't agreed to it? It is not just agreeing, the capital has


to come, it comes from the Governments putting this forward,


already too heavily indebted and putting more money into the banks.


It is not a solution. This is a closed system, there isn't any more


money other than in one place, which is Germany, even then there


is not enough so save this without bankrupting Germany, frankly.


do you make of it? I think the markets might be pacified for a


week or two, they will see it is not the best solution, but second


or third best. It doesn't matter f they leverage the ESFS and able to


support Italy and Spain for 12 months, it is OK if the markets are


putting pressure on those countries. Do you get the impression that


these political leaders gathering in Brussels actually have much


understanding of how markets work? None, it seems to me. Talk of


leveraging the ESFS, isn't that what got us into the problem in the


first place. The bailout fund? you stopped someone on the street


and said you would solve the problem of being overindebted by


borrowing more money, they would look at you strangely.


The German Chancellor said this morning, she had this rather


apocalyptic talk when she talked to the German Parliament, saying


nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and


prosperity in Europe, they are not for granted, that is why I say if


the euro fails, Europe fails. This is pretty dark talk? She has been


saying the same sentence many times over many months. It is expected.


Will they start war again? Not war, of course. She talked about 50


years of peace and pros port not taken for granted? The political


instability you are seeing in the streets of Greece, if this fails


and we go into a deep, deep recession, you might see it more


widely in Europe. This is what she's warning about. She's also the


Chancellor of Germany, expected make statements about the future of


Europe, strongly. In the beginning when she sounded modest and making


it sound that it wasn't a problem, she was criticised. Now she has


brought it up a bit, that is exactly what she should be doing,


she got a big majority for her mandate to negotiate in Brussels on


the back of it. What about this idea that Paul Mason was talking


about just there, of the attempt to form a non-euro group. Many people


have pointed out that the British ambition, that the euro problem be


solved by greater fiscal integration, if necessary, in


Europe, marginalises Europe. But this non-euro group within the


European Union, actually would be a counter balance thing? Why are we


worried about being marginalised, the Swiss don't have problems with


being in the centre of Europe and out, even though they have the


independent currency and in the centre of Europe. What is the worry.


It sounds like people saying what they were saying when we were urged


to join in the first place, we were told it would be a catastrophy, and


the opposite is true. I think England is trying to stage its


recovery on balancing the economy on exports mostly going to the


eurozone. Britain has a choice to make about the role in Europe.


is the reason it matters, because it matters to us it directly


effects the well being of everyone in this country. Not just within


the eurozone. But this idea of there being some sort of balancing


entity within the European Union is a really interesting one, is it


viable? I don't think it is viable, I also don't think the eurozone is


viable in the medium to long-term. Longer term, supposing they do,


supposing the markets hold off and say we will accept your assurances


tonight, and they will hold off until November or when ever it is


we get a few more details, long- term, is the euro viable? I don't


think it is, I think in 12 months time when this leveraged ESFS runs


out of money and Italy Spain go to the markets, they won't look any


better than they do now. At that point the future of the euro really


is called into question. inherent contradictions in the euro


will still be there, whatever is agreed, won't they? I'm still a


believer the euro can hold together. Italy and Spain might have


liquidity problems, but they are countries that should be able to


service their debt in the medium to long-term, if we get through the


rough patch. And if we put enough support into place that the markets


stop worrying about Italy and Spain, then, of course, the interest rates


go down and they are able to service their debt. Greece can't,


Greece is insolvent, this is why they are talking about a bigger


reduction in debt. I still believe there is a lot of political will in


Europe to save this. For me, the most important statement today, did


not come from the German Parliament or David Cameron, it came from


Mario Dragiewho said they would continue to buy in the markets.


He's a politically appointed figure? The head of the European


Central Bank. That is still a reasonably independent institution.


Hasn't this whole crisis shown us the crisis of political political


expectations when it comes to the real world? The issue is the


eurozone is made up of 17 sovereign countries, and you cannot expect 17


sovereign countries getting together to make policy with the


same speed as, let's say, the Federal Reserve in America. Where


will we be in a year's time? In a year's time I think Greece will


have defaulted, it has defaulted already. Everyone agrees that.


will be out of the euro, and one of the greatest things is he who


defends everything defends nothing, the defence of Greece may make it


impossible to defend Spain, Portugal and Italy. They may have


to go for capital controls, like in the UK, when we had exchange


control, to stay in there, otherwise they will have a flight


of euro deposits from banks that will bring down the banking system.


I don't understand what you mean? On the day the euro deposits are no


longer eurobut drachma, all the deposits from Italy, Spain and


Portugal will get up and leave, and that will cause a domino effect


that will be very bad. They have to follow out of the euro or put up


capital controls such as we used to have. Thank you very much.


Earlier this evening a former director at the environment bank,


Goldman Sachs, handed himself into the europolice, Rajat Gupta has


been charged with insider trading. UBS, the big Swiss bank, proudly


said today, they won't need to cut any bonuses this year, despite the


fact last month they discovered what is called a $2.3 billion


unauthorised trading loss. The scandals keep coming. What has gone


wrong with banking? In my job, every account, every


letter, is not just a soulless piece of paper, but a reflection of


some man's life, hope and ambition. Within living memory banks were


seen as bastions of respectability, your local branch manager was a


formidable pillar of society, guarding your money and


occasionally admonishing you to live within your means.


But during the 1980s, as the walls between riskier trading and high


street banks fell, we grew accustomed to seeing a privileged


few in the world's major cities, quaffing champagne and driving


Ferraris, greed had become good. And as the rogue trader, Nick


Leeson's practices were exposed, the public saw the risks behind the


profits. Time and again we were told the ruems were tightening up,


time and again rogue traders hit the headlines, and images of


conspicuous consumption in the City never went away. Now the title of


banker seems to conjure up nothing but contempt in the public mind,


despite the fact that the financial sector employs more than a million


people in the UK, and last year formed 10% of our GDP. The occupy


movement is loudly lamenting the respectablisation of greed. The


image of banking is of an opaque world where very few understand the


rules, and those who do, are ruthlessly selfish, and beyond


control. It is our bank and they need to


follow our rules. How did banking fall so far from grace? Can it ever


return to its position as a pillar of society?


With us now, Nick Leeson, who found infamey as the rogue trader who


brought about the collapse of Barings Bank, and the journalist,


John Lanchester, who wrote a book about the financial crisis, Whoops


Why Everybody Owes Everybody ska nobody Can Pay. Nick Leeson, are


you surprised these scandals keep on happening? I am, the most recent


scandal shocked me extremely. I know how incompetent and negligible


I was in Singapore and the bank. Each scandal is described as the


wake-up call that nobody should forget. But they occur far too


frequently. Why is it that people do forget? I think there is


something about you know, it is often to do with arbitrage, people


making huge bets supposed to cancel each other out and making a profit


from the sliver in the middle. What you have is people leaving out half


of the bet, they are so confident about something they make gigantic


unhedged punts, because they are certain they will work out. How is


it the bosses don't spot it? think it is to do with the size,


the speed, the interconnectiveness, the complexity. Banking is so


colossal now, it moves at the click of a mouse, hot money moves around


the world. I think the idea that you can have adult supervision of


it, and someone wisely casting judgment and assessing the risks is


just not true any more. Do you think the men on the boards, they


are mainly men, the men on the boards of these banks, actually


understand what is happening on their trading floors? I think not.


I think sometimes in a very broad level they do. Some of these things


called black box financial instruments, which featured a lot


in the credit crunch, the whole point is the person buying them and


the person selling them don't know what is in them. They are put


together by financial engineers, with maths PHds, it is a black box.


This is nuts? It is a market place based on financial innovation.


Speed and complexity is extreme. It is a very competitive environment.


The speed and complexity dwarfs other industries. There should be


more control. You look at any financial scandal it is down to a


very simple control not being in place. Why are the regulators so


useless? They always have been. The regulators are always behind the


curve. The innovation, the creativity, happens with such speed


and complexity that they are always trying to catch up. And you look


back 50 years, they were behind the curve then, you look back 16 years


ago, which was the time of Barings, they were further behind the curve.


If you try to look into the future they will still be behind. What


would you do about that? For me it is not the quantity of regulation,


whether there should be more or less, the quality has to improve.


There is an awful lot of people who were employed by the FSA, being


paid large salaries, but not really controlling the market place. So


the output needs to be improved. I think you need better people,


getting paid more, probably less people, but achieving more output.


Public servants being paid a lot more, being paid salaries


competitive with bankers? You have to, because the industry is


cannibalistic, if you have a good regulator, a good auditor, or


somebody on the market place, controlling what is going on, the


banks employ them, because they pay them more money. Do you reckon that


would work? It is a start. I think, tomorrow by the way, is the 25th


anniversary of the big bank, in 1986, they have within on a 25-year,


quarter century journey away from deregulation, we have to look at


how that worked out for us, and head back in the general way.


the question of how we see bankers, you know, it is an embarrassing


thing to be for many people nowadays, isn't it? Are we being


naive in expecting them to behave some how altruisticically? It seems


so, not so long kaing Captain Mannering was the image of banking,


scruplous and unsympathetic, now we have this regulatory journey where


they are seen as unscrupulous, greedy spivs. Is it fair? Not for


everyone, there is a lot of principled people in banking. But


it is said once a Government loses its reputation for competence, you


never get it back. In the world of business, money and ethics, if you


lose your reputation for basic decency, it is gone. You look at


the last Labour Government, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were clearly


in awe of these nay bobs of finance, they were awestruck, why is that?


think it is the case since the time of the big bang, the markets have


moved on at such pace, that central banks and Governments have all been


unable to keep up with it. There is not the degree of understanding


there should be. I was never challenged during my time in


Singapore, people didn't understand the business I was trying to


transact. That is not acceptable, to anybody. When it gets to the


extreme of tax-payers bailing out the banks, that makes it more


unpalatable. What do you think, how they came to be so inspiring to


many in the political class? think they are partly scared. They


are the richest lobby in the world, and therefore the most powerful. It


is a bit like one of those things when you have a very complicated


chore to do, it is like having stand over you watch you get it


wrong, and eventually say would you like me to sort it out for you, and


that is what they did. They wrote their own rules and regulations.


The idea was the market couldn't create any problems the market


couldn't solve. It is that maxim that we now know, conclusively, is


not true. Do you think the public need to wise up a bit about how


banking operates? Absolutely, I think, you know, growing up, there


were probably two industries that would have always had a bit of


mystique for me, medicine and banking, the world of finance. I


don't think people know enough about them. I had my own experience


with cancer, I had to go and see an oncologist, and for a while I was


passive recipient of what he told me. I changed that equation around


by reading, empowering myself and being part of the process. That was


really good for me, and helped me through the whole battle with


cancer. I think right now, at this stage, the general public need to


empower themselves, and rather than being passive recipients of what


the bankers tell them, they need to be part of the equation and ask


some searching questions. The degree of leverage people have put


themselves under over the last number of years shocking. And for a


banker to encourage that, and encourage at their own benefit, as


well, they have sold as much of this product, these banking


products as they can, around the globe, is not the way it should be.


I completely agree. Britain's Government, plus private, plus


corporate debt, is 466% of our GDP, that is a scarely big number. That


came from people lending us money we didn't necessarily need to buy


stuff we didn't necessarily need. There is a whole cycle of


excessively cheap credit, which has brought us to a properly, serious


predicament. We can extract ourselves, but it will take years


and the road is uphill. The seven seventh billionth person will be


born next week, the rate of population is increasing by 80


million a year. We have been reporting the implications in


Africa this week. But it is not just the developing world with


problems. Figures today show our population is rising faster than


any time in the past century. The total will reach 70 million in next


10 years. 47% of the predicted rise will be down to immigration, the


other increase, 53%, will be natural increase, the difference


between births and deaths. Much of that is due to a leap in the number


of children born to migrant mothers. Catrin Nye has spent three days on


a maternity ward in Leicester for There we go. More babies were born


in the UK last year than at any time since 1972. Hello sweetheart.


Liz and kneel Franklin welcome the latest addition to the babyboom at


Leicester Royal Infimary. In 2003, 8,800 babies were born here. This


Did you know about this little babyboom you are having, did you


know it was coming? No we didn't. The national statistics weren't


indicating quite the increase that we have seen over the last couple


of years. In an ethically diverse city like Leicester, the influence


of women born overseas is particularly apparent. 45% of women


having babies here were born outside the UK. Across England and


Wales, that is 25%. Midwives say they are having to adapt, as well


as increase capacity. We knew it was twins, we didn't know the sex


at that time. Sandra has just had someones, elij ja and Alicia, they


met as teenagers in the Congo, and chanced upon each other many years


later in a Leicester church. We have one boy already. What did you


feel when you found out you were having twins? She phoned and said


you know what it is twins, I screamed, God I'm going to die this


time. That is the end of me, and no more sex!


Are you planning to stay in Leicester? Yeah, I have been in


Leicester for 11 years, I'm not planning to move anywhere else.


Unless there is a good place to live.


Sure? Honestly, you don't know that. I know. Do you like it here?


you? I'm not welcome because I can't work, that is why I was even


planning to have more babies, because it is like I was doing


nothing. Midwives tell us free movement


within the EU has seen a rise in women from Eastern Europe having


their children here. Ava and Thomas are from Slovakia and also


expecting twins. Thomas was a chef there, and cooks in a KFC here,


they are not sure if they will remain in the UK, but are happy to


travel back and forward until they decide. It is nothing different the


UK or Slovakia, it is a European country, it doesn't matter if it is


here or there. Here or there, it doesn't matter.


You have an Indian lady, any translators there. The only thing


with this lady is her baby has been separated from her, from all ladies,


no matter what ethnicity, it is about extra concern to get her to


see the baby on the neo-natal unit. Is English her first language?


but she can communicate. Sometimes they come and English is not their


first language but they can speak good English. If it isn't their


first language we need translation services for. We do use the family


sometimes, we try not to, to make sure what we are conveying is


translated to the woman in the same way.


It is the diversity of women having children here that is so apparent,


and the pressures that go with that. They have to have specialists to


deal with refugee mums, teenage mums, mothers with cardiac problems.


Even a dedicated clinic for expectant mothers who have suffered


genital mutilation. Reflective of the facilities here, the UK is has


seen a significant jump in the number of over-40s having children,


caused by both choice and medical advancement, meaning it is now a


more realistic option. Emma Giltinam has just had her third


baby at 43, it has not been without its difficulties. She has had five


miscarriages because of an immune system abnormalty. During her last


pregnancy her placenta didn't detatch after birth, something that


would mean previously a hysterectomy. He's a double miracle.


I had the thing to stop me miscarrying, at a lot of hospitals


I wouldn't have a uterus to get pregnant with him. Are you


considering a fourth? I walls warranted four, but, I - wanted


four, I think I have used my nine lives up now, I'm not sure I would


risk it again. With all the problems that we have had. I think


I should probably count my blessings and stick at three now.


We have got older mums like Emma, mums not born here, mums with


medical conditions that used it mean they couldn't have children.


For policy makers, any response is complicated by the sheer number of


factors influencing the increase. Ten years ago the average woman in


England and Wales had 1.63 children. Last year that had risen to 2. The


average foreign-born woman used to have far more children than women


born here, but recently that gap has narrowed. We have got to a


point where the actual physical capacity of our units, can no


longer cope with that increase, so what we are having to do this year,


is put some capital investment in to created a decisional delivery


rooms, additional maternity beds, and we are talking 50 additional


midwives. This is when other places are having to see cutbacks, you are


having to increase spending here? We are, yes. The challenge here is


about numbers, how we adapt to having more children to deliver,


mouths to feed, families to house. Wherever they hail from.


We are simply having more babies, baby Franklin, just one of many.


think there really is babyboom at the moment. There is a lot of


people we know that have had babies. To some they are a work force,


others a burden on our ever- decreasing resources. For Liz and


Neil, simply everything they hoped for.


That was Nye reporting. Here to discuss the - Catrin Nye reporting,


here to discuss the rise in not just the Britain's population but


the world's, is Babatunde Osotimehin, and Lionel Shriver,


author and patron of Population Matters. What is your estimate of


the total number sustainable on this planet? I don't think anybody


knows that. Do you have an estimate? I would rather not put an


estimate to it. Can we sustain this level of growth? Let me


contextualise that growth, it is important to put that right out


there. We have seven billion people today, and the growth rate of the


world's population peaked in the 1960s, at about 2%. It has come


down, gradually since then, it is about 1% now. If you take all these


seven billion people in the world today, and you line them up, to


have a group photograph. It would only fill the size of Los Angeles


city. It is not about space. It is about distribution, it is about


equity, and it is about social justice. If you really believe that


people can live that closely cramped together? I'm not saying


they are living. It is a pointless comparison that? It is a comparison


you have to make, because when you...Why Don't you put a figure on,


if you are prepared to make that sort of judgment, why won't you put


a figure? Because in the middle 1960s, everybody said there was a


population explosion, and that the world would not be able to sustain


3.5 billion people. Today we have seven. They talked about lack of


food, we produced more than 300% rise in food production. We can


carry on indefinitely? I'm not saying that. Why not? I will throw


out a figure for you. At about 9.5 billion people we are


going to run out of fresh water, and that is, even if that fresh


water were evenly distributed throughout the earth, which as we


know it is not. The real limit is before that. We're getting pretty


close that. You would accept that figure would you? I don't work with


that kind of figures. That is political correctness? I tell you,


no. We have to look at this diversity of the population


dynamics. It is not just about growth. There are many other issues


in populations. Shortage of water is a bit of a problem? It is, to


everybody. But the context I want us to look at is that there is


growth in some places, there is shrinking in some places, and there


are issues around ash bannisation on some issues. On - Urbanisation


on some issues. I would agree on some of that. All week on the news


there is the question, how many people can the earth support.


Ultimately that is not the right question, it is not about absolute


capacity. It is a question of what number is optimal, what is a good


future for the human race? If we allow our numbers to multiply up to


the UN top projection, which is 16 billion, what is life like for


those people, that is the proper question to ask. If that life is


not the kind of life we want to live, if it is on the edge of the


ability to feed people, then maybe we should take somes and now.


would you propose? I feel that population organisations and


Government funding has got distracted in the last 20 years. It


has gone very PC, the emphasis has been on improving women's rights,


which is good in itself, right. But that's supposed to have a knock-on


effect. Women tend to have fewer children if you educate them in


human rights? Yes. That is the evidence we have. Once we empower


women, you educate them, they make choices which are different, and


which tend to ensure that you have less babies, better quality of life,


and we have examples. We are on the same page. Brazil is a good example.


I completely agree with you. One of the things that helps women is just


having birth control. That's what I mean that population organisations


and Government policy has to folk cuss a little more on the nitty


gritty of Jews making sure that people who don't have access to -


just making sure that people who don't have access to family


planning do. You are in favour of that in the Population Fund? I am,


but I want to state it differently. Because the issue of being able to


access also has issues around women's status and the issue of


freedom. You know, we can talk about that in London, when you do


have family planning clinics everywhere, and people have the


right to walk into places and get it. You would be in favour of


having them anywhere in the world? Right, but then it has to be in the


context of the culture and the place you are working. For crying


out loud there are places in the world you cannot set up these


things without breaking some barriers and working with them.


What I'm saying is that Huang Fang Wen a young girl of 13 or 14 is


married off, she has no voice. Trying to provide family planning


in a distant clinic won't make a difference to her life. You are


saying the same things about empowering women, do you think


there sanctions that ought to be taken beyond that, one-child


policies? I don't believe coercion is necessary. Unless you have a


really repressive Government it won't be effective. You can take a


look at a country like Iran. It is hard to find something to admire in


Iran, but they produced a miracle demo graphically. In the 1980s they


reversed what was a pro-natalist policy and decided they really


wanted to bring it down, at that time the total fertility rate for a


woman was seven, and within a single generation by 2000, they


brought it down to 2.1. How did they do it? A combination of


changing the rhetoric and the religious policy, it was a cultural


element, but it was also very practical. They put clinics


everywhere. Including in the rural countryside and not just in the


cities. And between those two policies, they made history demo


graphically. We are saying the same thing. We are saying the same thing,


if you didn't get mast the Mullahs that would never happen. That was a


cultural intervention in Iran. You have to do that in other places,


that is empowering them to access what they need to access. You said


it, and it is absolutely cerbt, the only sustainable human - correct,


the only sustainable thing that works magic is educate girls, give


them what they need, make it available. And give them


contraception. I know. That goes with it. So it is not just about


educating, it is educating, but making it accessible to them.


also, this is awkward in the American context, but part of


providing contraception is the ultimate contraception is giving


people access to abortion. Safe abortion, that will be


culturally sensitive in some countries I grant you. That became


a problem. Would you accept the availability of abortion? In place


where is it is legal, there are countries where it is legal, it


should be available safely. Look what happened with the Bush


administration, they cut way back on funding for population, because


the stipulation was the organisation which you gave funding


could not even advise on abortion, much less provide it, unfortunately


we got a saneer man in the White House. One point has to be made,


that is that preproductive health has to be provided to build women's


rights, because it is not just about contraception, it is also


about prevention of HIV transmission and several things, so


it is not just contraception, it is a whole package. On tomorrow's


night programme, Justin Rowlett has been investigating unlikely


solutions to the growing demand on the planet's resources. With the


world population about to hit seven billion, is it time we all started


eating these? That's all from Newsnight tonight,


join us tomorrow for another bucket Lloyd of doom and gloom. In China,


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