by Ryan McMaken
McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is the editor of Mises Wire and
The Austrian. Send him your article submissions, but
read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in
economics and political science from the University of
Colorado, and was the economist for the Colorado
Division of Housing from 2009 to 2014. He is the author
of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State
in the Western Genre.
In countries under heavy U.S. influence or occupation,
the US government has a habit of pushing political programs that
would be too unpopular to implement in the United States.
In Japan, for example, the US occupation after World War II offered
an opportunity for American bureaucrats to push abortion policies
they couldn't win support for in the United States.
As part of a larger agenda of pushing a Japan-style New Deal and
other US-styled interventionist policies, the US occupiers were more
than happy to help the new Japanese regime impose a
eugenics-friendly program designed to combat alleged
According to Holly Coutts:
government in Japan, coupled with a political culture infused
with socialist ideas and traditional loyalty to a strict
hierarchy, allowed policymakers to create a far-reaching
This same type of
program was impossible in the US and South Korea [another
country under heavy US influence] as it would not have
corresponded to their public ideas...
Japan would become the
first country to legalize abortion for socioeconomic reasons.
But, at least in these cases, women, for the most part, took part in
these programs voluntarily - the aborted children, of course, were
But consent on the part of the women apparently doesn't trouble
American policymakers when it comes to funding and supporting
population-control policies in foreign countries.
Sterilizations in Peru - Paid for by Americans
In recent months, mainstream media outlets have been highlighting
the rarely-mentioned forced sterilizations that took place during
Alberto Fujimori years.
Part of the renewed
interest is due to the fact that Fujimori, who is 79-years-old, and
back in prison after a failed attempt at a pardon, now faces charges
for his part in the sterilization program.
The program is said to
have lead to the forced sterilization of over 200,000 women
in the late 1990s.
Like many programs aimed at reducing fertility and population
growth, the program was largely aimed at lower-income women and
members of indigenous populations living in the Peruvian highlands.
And, as with so many government coups and policies of questionable
morality found in Latin America, we find
the hand of the US government.
The National Catholic
reported on Tuesday that the US
Agency for International Development - the US's primary foreign
"aid" agency - had essentially taken control of the Peruvian
national health system during the period of the sterilizations:
An unsettling aspect of the entire Peruvian campaign is the
involvement of the U.S. government.
The specific agencies
that were involved in Peru's sterilization campaign were,
the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID)
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
NIPPON Foundation (a
It is known that UNFPA
donated $10 million for the forced-sterilization campaign.
document was published by E. Liagin with the title 'USAID and
Involuntary Sterilization in Peru,' in which she analyzes the
action[s] made between 1995 and 1997," said Polo.
"According to her,
archives of USAID show that in 1993 the United States
basically took charge of the national health system of Peru…
accord of 1993 that put the United States in such
advantageous position, known as Project 2000, was signed by
the Peruvian and American authorities in September 1993 and
was effective for seven years, ending in 2000.
An examination of
this document shows that USAID-PERU, the office in Lima of
USAID, was in any conceivable form in control of the
Peruvian health sector, before and during the years that the
abuses took part'."
In the case of Japan,
Coutts notes that,
legacy caused [a focus] on abortion among the poor and inferior
when dealing with their perceived population problem."
It appears that Peru in
the 1990s fell victim to similar sentiments.
International planners, of course, have long been notable for a
belief that much of the world is overpopulated and that
this problem must be "solved"
with government action.
USAID workers may have
sensed an opportunity to partner with the Peruvian regime - which
itself viewed the impoverished Indians in the Andean highlands as
"problematic" - in efforts to implement a
eugenics program in Peru.
It's not a coincidence
that efforts at combating overpopulation usually end up targeting
ethnic and socio-economic groups most lacking in both economic and
Similar programs, of course, would face widespread opposition in the
The brief history of
eugenics here in the US is heavily tainted with a legacy of
white-supremacist and anti-poor-people sentiments. Moreover, forced
medical procedures are unpopular, as we can see even today in the
ongoing opposition to mandatory vaccinations.
Nevertheless, forced sterilizations in the name of "improving" or
shrinking the global population has long been an element of
Progressive politics in the US as is well documented in Angela
Franks's 2005 book
Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy - The Control
of Female Fertility.
In the US, though, objections arising from either religious beliefs
or politically laissez-faire sentiments have led to problems with
implementation in the US.
But poor Indians in rural
Peruvian villages are much easier targets, and USAID likely knew it.
The end result was American taxpayers once again found themselves
paying for government policies that they would never want
implemented in their own communities.
The Peruvian case is especially horrific because so many of the
sterilizations were forced. But, even if only subsidized or
"encouraged," programs of this sort are nothing more than government
attempts at central planning of demographics.
was emphasized by Ludwig von
Mises who noted that population-control programs are,
ultimately, attempts by government planners to determine who gets
born and when...
This motivation, Mises
wrote, is not qualitatively different from what drove some of the
world's most horrific regimes in their own attempts at eugenic
It is vain for the
champions of eugenics to protest that they did not mean what the
Eugenics aims at
placing some men, backed by the police power, in complete
control of human reproduction. It suggests that the methods
applied to domestic animals be applied to men.
This is precisely
what the Nazis tried to do.
The only objection
which a consistent eugenist can raise is that his own plan
differs from that of the Nazi scholars and that he wants to rear
another type of men than the Nazis.
As every supporter of
economic planning aims at the execution of his own plan only, so
every advocate of eugenic planning aims at the execution of his
own plan and wants himself to act as the breeder of human stock.