I. OUR GOAL
The Ten Million Club Foundation (TTMC) wishes to give greater publicity to the issue of overpopulation in the world and in the Netherlands in particular. The TTMC aims to raise awareness of the fact that overpopulation causes damage to, and a decrease in, human and animal wellbeing.
Overpopulation stands in the way of providing for the fundamental needs of both people and animals. The foundation calls on Dutch citizens to act conscientiously in the private sphere, and on the government to aim for a lower number of births and lower numbers of immigrants through the available means (subsidies, taxation, and government information).
1.2. An old objective which has become relevant again
The realization that overpopulation is leading us to the abyss is not a new one. Around 1970 there was a realization of the seriousness of the issue across society in the Netherlands. At the time, many political parties had included a paragraph on overpopulation in their electoral programme. In 1977 the state commission Muntendam, which looked into overpopulation, completed its work. Its report got a lot of attention, partly due to the fact that a popular version of it was published in a well-known series of informative books. It was in the same period that Queen Juliana expressed her concern about overpopulation in the Netherlands in her annual queen’s speech.
After the mid-seventies concern for the issue of overpopulation decreased rapidly. There are a number of wide-ranging factors that may have played a role in this process:
- Due to the rapid fall in the number of births, people felt that a decreasing population would become a reality anyway. Action and information on the part of the government would not be necessary.
- As immigration increased, it became more difficult to discuss immigration as a subject.
- Now that immigration is no longer a subject for discussion, the other cause of overpopulation has also become taboo, namely: the birth surplus.
- Due to increasing individualization, people are increasingly concerned with their own interest and less with the common interest. This fits in with the view that having children, irrespective of the number, is purely private concern.
- Many people are despondent and harbour the unspoken feeling that the world is doomed whatever happens. According to them there is no point in dedicating oneself to the preservation of the quality of life on the planet.
- The general and unassailable belief in the unlimited growth of prosperity is formidable. People consider population growth to be normal because it has always taken place. A growth in population is associated with a growth in potential markets, and thus with profit.
- Out of a fear for demographic ageing (which is, incidentally, an unjustified fear) and the related doom scenario in which society would no longer be able to provide social facilities for older people now and in the future, governments are stimulating the growth of both immigration and the birth rate.
- Our prosperity does not stimulate us to think about the issue of overpopulation.
1.3. Focus on the Netherlands
The CVTM’s main focus is on the Netherlands. There is, after all, no other country in Europe in which the problem of overpopulation is manifesting itself in such a serious and apparent way as in the Netherlands, where the population is growing at a much faster rate than in other European countries.
1.4. A Secondary Focus on Foreign Countries
We contend that a populace politics be attended to in foreign policies. More than has been the case thus far, the Netherlands should address the international bodies and make its case for birth restriction in developing countries as well as in wealthy countries.
1.5. Legitimization of our action
While the government does fight the symptoms of overpopulation, it does not fight overpopulation itself. We realize that arguing for a shrinking population will not meet with much sympathy to begin with. It seems as if we, the foundation, want to take an apparent right away from Dutch citizens.
We do not want to make the mistake of offering solutions before having made clear that, without a change in policy, a huge problem will arise. This problem goes beyond mere inconvenience. It is the provision of our primary needs and our opportunities for personal development that are at stake. At the moment, the everyday, observable reality leads few people to realise that our food and energy provision could become endangered. We will try and bring this to people’s attention.
Furthermore, in the case of a high population density in combination with a high level of prosperity, food and fuel shortages can only be remedied at a huge cost to the natural world: by the destruction of the planet’s wealth of animal and plant life, at a frightening pace.
A comparative assessment will have to be made between different human rights. The right to a dignified existence could, for instance, be weighed against the rights to unlimited reproduction, to unlimited construction, to the unlimited reception of refugees and the unlimited right to bring spouses into the Netherlands.
1.6. Our name
The CVTM is a demographically orientated foundation. The name “The Club of Ten Million” is becoming increasingly well known and does not give rise to as much confusion as it did in the beginning, when some people associated it with a club of millionaires. It would be highly impractical to change this name and it would cause unnecessary problems. There is also a lot of appreciation for the name because it states very clearly what the intentions of the foundation are. We have decided to profile ourselves further by adding the phrase "more humanity with less humans.”
1.7. Concrete objectives with respect to means
It will not suffice to merely be engaged with long-term objectives (10 million inhabitants by the year 2050). To secure its appeal, the CVTM must additionally formulate a number of short-term goals. We have the following in mind:
- A statement concerning a desirable birth number.
- Standards for immigration, migration and migration quotients.
- An account of the means by which we intend to meet our objectives: government information, the admission of refugees, the child allowance system, premiums for childless men and women.
- The desirability of larger and more numerous nature resorts and landscape conservation.
II. OUR STRUCTURE
2.1 The structure of the committee
The CVTM was founded in 1994, on the initiative of Paul Gerbrands, its current chairman. It is particularly owing to his dedication and that of several other early participants that the CVTM could become what it is today.
Since several years we have enjoyed healthy relations with the printed press, broadcast media and political parties. However, due to the delicate nature of the subject matter, utmost caution remains necessary. We could promptly squander our contacts by making unsound proclamations, through discord within our movement or an inconsistent behavioural code.
Board members are selected strictly on the basis of aptitude and allegiance, not of sex or social background. It is of the utmost importance that the governing board be autonomous and unanimous. For this reason the current board has a small number of members. Vacancies on the governing board are filled through co-optation. The board deems it desirable that the chairman continues to play a central part in the decision-making process: it is imperative that we present a unified front.
2. 2. Association or foundation
At present the CVTM is a foundation. It is deemed undesirable to convert into an association. The governing board would then become dependent on member meetings, thereby losing its essential autonomy. There would be the possibility of a coup occurring, in which a dissident group in the council of members votes away the governing board in order to embark on a different, less desirable, path.
The consequences of this form of organization are:
(a) In the case of malgovernance, governing board members are held accountable collectively for any obligations towards third parties, except in the case of unmistakable individual malgovernance on the part of one or more board members. Because of this, the governing board has opted for a policy, on the basis of which no obligations are contracted which cannot be realized.
(b) Decreased certainty with regards to revenues. The CVTM depends on private contributors. A contributors’ register is, by its very nature, more fleeting than a member register. It is common for any organisation to see part of its contributors suspending their donations after several years. The CVTM must therefore be tentative when contracting obligations of a more structural nature.
2.3. Accord amongst our supporters
The board will always acknowledge differing perspectives and ensure a clear position with regards to what is and is not acceptable within the CVTM’s greater vision. In this way, the required unanimity may be secured. The sizeable taboo surrounding the issue of overpopulation necessitates extra attention to the soundness of the foundation’s texts and public statements. Because of this, the governing board sees tot it that no one who is not qualified to do this shall issue such statements on behalf of the CVTM. All ties will be severed with contributors who make unacceptable proclamations. In this respect the governing board states clearly that the foundation distances itself from any form of racism and discrimination.
2.4. Do we do want to become a political party?
We do not intend to evolve into a political party, though we do not exclude this as a possibility. For this we have the following motivation.
- At present we have only one objective, making us a single-issue party. At the same time we deem the subject of overpopulation to be so wide ranging, that we already have all the necessary ingredients for an extensive election program.
- Our movement has sympathizers from all sorts of political backgrounds. As a movement we draw a certain amount of general support; however as political party we would have to contend with those established political parties, as we would be considered their political competitors.
- A sizeable amount of capital would be required in order to sensibly operate as a party. Time and money presently are better put forth towards other objectives.
2.5. Do we intend to be a mass movement?
Within our own circles, discussions have been held over whether a significantly larger amount of money should be deployed towards increasing the register of contributors. Backed by a sizeable number of contributors – the argument goes – we would be more effective with regards to the press, thereby facilitating access to the political body.
There are several arguments against unilaterally embarking on such a course:
- In previous years we have learned that even without a sizeable group of public supporters it is possible to gain access to the press, broadcast media and members of political parties in order to put forth our message. The primary preconditions for this are a respectable name, sound ideas and first-rate brochures.
- Practice has learned that it is important to establish and maintain contacts with influential persons: members of parliament, board members of political parties, reporters, senior professors. This opens new doors.
- The way towards becoming a large movement is not open to us automatically. There are no guarantees that deploying more of our resources will necessarily result in an increase in the number of private contributors. It is, however, of great assistance to have access to a small capital thanks to which the continuity of our work and the quality of our publications can be safeguarded.
- An all too rapid growth of our movement could inadvertantly result in certain positions within the foundation being occupied by persons (racists) who could damage our organization.
III. OUR ACTIVITIES
3.1. Support for the governing board
In order to alleviate the governing board of some of its tasks, work groups of reliable and knowledgeable contributors are formed, which assist the governing board. Considering the supply of volunteers and the workload within the foundation, it is not always possible to operate solely with volunteer work groups. We are considering incorporating paid assistants in the future. However, for the time being, we choose to provisionally limit ourselves and outsource only large volume printing and mailing tasks. We are not suited to perform the duties of an employer just yet. It is preferable to issue particular tasks on a case-by-case basis to a professional institution. Perhaps relations of our supporters will be prepared to perform such services.
The newsletter is an important channel between the governing board and the contributors. The newsletter should also generate interest among those with whom we have no affiliations as of yet. It would be beneficial if the newsletter could continue to appear three times a year, at regular intervals. The work should be divided among a larger number board members and active members though.
3.3. Advisory body and working parties
The advisory body occupies itself with the evaluation of various policy memoranda. Apart from the advisory body, temporary or permanent work groups are already being formed for the filing of reports or the monitoring of particular policy areas. It would be commendable if this could happen to a greater degree. Subjects that should be analyzed by work groups: the deterioration of the environment, the food situation, the exhaustion of natural resources.
It would be beneficial to have one or more work groups closely monitor the proceedings in other countries with regards to the subject of overpopulation and ascertain if noteworthy government policies on the matter exist there.
3.4 Contacts with (new) contributors
In order to facilitate informal and personal contact, regional meetings could be held for those interested, at which governing board members would be present.
3.5. Information material
In order to present ourselves as a foundation, we require sound pamphlet material. At present we have too few pamphlets and brochures at our disposal.
- Introductory Letter
- Foundational Statement
- Small Brochure
- The World Population Crisis, a Response
- The Unnecessary Spectre of an Ageing Population
- Demographic Ageing is not a Problem
- An Impulse towards Forming Criteria for Population Policy
- Shrink Now, for the Benefit of the Future
- A Complete Occupation; The Netherlands and Immigration
Apart from these, the following themes could be adressed in the other brochures:
- The economic vulnerability of the Netherlands.
- The deterioration in quality of life
- The damage done to the economy as a result of traffic congestion and a reduced accessibility of businesses.
- The loss of areas of natural beauty
- The increase in crime
- The need for us, as an overpopulated country, to start to turn around our current population growth and to set an example, in this way, to other countries.
Over the coming years we will attend to establishing contacts with the generation born after 1970. We wish to develop education material for this age group. It is our impression that people in this age group are least concerned with the subject of overpopulation, although they are the parents of the future.
3.6. The use of advertisements
The expectation that advertisements could be considered an investment, and would eventually repay themselves in the form of increasing donations by contributors has, at present, not been met. They have, however, to a limited extent, brought about an increase in contributors. Another benefit is that readers know that there is a foundation that is concerned with the issue of overpopulation, thereby giving off the signal that the subject of overpopulation may at least be openly discussed. Furthermore, advertisements serve to enhance public familiarity with our foundation. What have proved to be the best forms of publicity until now are, however, word of mouth advertising, first-rate brochures, favourable newspaper articles and beneficial radio - or television broadcasts about our foundation.
3.7. Expressions of approval
At present we gauge public support largely on the basis of contributors. This however might not be the most effective way of doing this. There are probably many Dutch people who recognize themselves in our ideas, but for whom becoming a contributor is one step too far. This group in particular should be offered another option. We are thinking of an expression of approval by means of a reply card.