The world can afford a population boom Nafis Sadik, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund ("The population good news," Oct. 20) wrongly views people not as a resource, but as a plague upon the earth.

Similarly, the arrival of the symbolic 6 billionth person, a baby boy in Sarajevo, was personally "welcomed" by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a public relations stunt promoted by the United Nations, Planned Parenthood, Worldwatch Institute, Zero Population Growth, and others who view each new life, not as a cause for celebration, but as a harbinger of doom.

Their gloomy scenarios are reminiscent of the dire warnings of Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller, "The Population Bomb," who said: "In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines - hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."

We are still waiting.

Using our minds, we have been able to support a world population that has tripled in the past century, the fastest growth rate in human history. The world's GDP per capita has grown fourfold between 1900 and the early 1990s. In Asia and the Pacific it has grown fivefold. In absolute terms the productivity of the earth has increased 14-fold.

Economists Charles Maurice and Charles Smithson wrote several years ago that the world has overcome every major resource crisis of the past 10,000 years by creating new resources and new technologies.

Minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands and mouths. And minds arrive only in company with bodies. Be fruitful and multiply. Daniel Sobieski Chicago

Drug war at what cost? Thank you for focusing on the plight of Renee Boje ("Canada and US in Drug Debate," Oct. 19). Her story illustrates the US government's obsession with destroying anyone barely connected with challenges to marijuana policy.

Renee Boje hurt no one. She presents no threat to any individual. Yet, she faces 10 years to life in prison along with extradition proceedings. Who benefits from such vindictiveness? Certainly not the US public, who will see hundreds of thousands of their tax dollars wasted if Renee is extradited, tried, and incarcerated. In return, the public gets nothing in the way of increased safety or security.

This latest display of the US government's manic compulsion to crush anything that stands as a challenge to its cruel policies regarding marijuana should be a wake up call to all Americans.

Renee Boje stood at the periphery of a situation that seemed to be supported by the people of California. The federal government's reaction shows its goal is not to protect the people, but to scare them into submission. Stephen Young Roselle, Ill.

WorldCom, not MCI, bought Sprint The media just can't seem to figure it out. MCI is not buying Sprint (cartoon, Oct. 21). WorldCom bought MCI last year. WorldCom is buying Sprint this year. The "new" name is still the same old name - WorldCom. With the acquisition of Sprint, MCI and Sprint will both become anecdotal names in history.

The media just can't seem to recognize that a rapidly growing, efficient company can devour and spit out such giants. WorldCom has.

Without the innovative business operations of companies like WorldCom, we'd still be paying atrociously high long-distance rates to "the big three." Duane Hambleton Eau Claire, Wis.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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