This article appears in the April 3, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
LaRouche Task Force Warned
Zero-Growth, Speculation and Austerity Cause Pandemics
We present here edited excerpts from the findings of the Biological Holocaust Task Force and from the EIR Special Report, Economic Breakdown and the Threat of Global Pandemics, dated July 1, 1985. The Task Force was established by Lyndon LaRouche in the summer of 1974, to investigate the threat of global pandemics, and worked through the autumn of that year, presenting its findings at the founding meeting of the Fusion Energy Foundation, in New York City in December 1974. This material first appeared in EIR on Oct. 24, 2014, pp. 13-16. Most of quotes from that 1974 Task Force can be found in the editors’ introduction to Lyndon LaRouche’s 2001 book, The Economics of the Noosphere.
LaRouche’s 1974 Warning
Two fundamental points in that 1974 study stand out: First, this was not a forecast about Mother Nature. The enemy then, as today, was the financier oligarchy, and the policies they were attempting to impose, genocidal policies on an immense scale.
Second, it focused on the ecological system as a whole, for reasons that were explained at the outset of the study.
The way the ecology as a whole operates is from two fundamental principles. First of all, it is a global phenomenon. It is impossible to view it as the zero-growthers view it, as a mere collection of individual organisms, a mere collection of 3 billion human beings, X million of cattle, sheep, and so on, of many other species. It is a single global system. Second of all, it is a global system that has to evolve to higher and higher levels of energy flows, and of rates of development of these energy flows.
The study emphasized that the axiomatic assumptions of the zero-growth advocates were scientifically wrong, dead wrong! The authors of the forecast, as reported in the introduction to Lyndon LaRouche’s 2001 book, The Economics of the Noosphere, explained this point at the outset.
What we are faced with is not a return to an earlier mode of functioning, not a return to the way things were a hundred years ago.... In this zero-growth view, we have an equilibrium that we can lower the level of society to ... and stabilize the situation at that level. That is the zero-growth view.... That is completely and fundamentally wrong in an epistemological sense because there is no such equilibrium. There is no such development of the ecology except in the existence of such evolutionary or degenerative processes. There is no balance point between the two. The actual realization and practice, therefore, of zero-growth ideas is the ecological holocaust, which is now beginning, and which it is our task to halt.
The 1974 LaRouche forecast prefigured the emergence of previously unknown pathogens:
To the extent that disease organisms have an increasing chance to mutate, as the resistance of the human population is lowered, given mutations are less likely to die out because of an unfavorable situation for the development of pathogens, because the population has become so ill-resistant, that practically any mutation will survive, then you have an increase in the mutation rate of pathogens. An increase in the total disease population leads to the possibility of an increase in evolution of any given disease, and the cycle continues.
The forecast next took up the question of “weak links.”
To understand this entire process of ecological collapse, it is critical to understand it as a process of the ecology, not of individuals. The history of epidemics demonstrates that epidemic disease occurs only when a “weak link” exists in the human species as a whole. Disease attacks the weakest, least-resistant area, when that area is surrounded by relatively low levels of resistance, even though the resistance is higher in surrounding areas than in the “weak-link” area. Therefore, new diseases are produced in the areas of lowest standard of living, and then begin to spread. For example, at the beginning of the 19th Century, cholera was unknown throughout the world. As the British Raj lowered the standard of living in India in approximately 1816, a pandemic started to spread outward from India, throughout the entire world.
The task force then warned:
If we look at the situation today, if we do not reverse this process in the next two years, devolution will accelerate because of the vastly more integrated global attacks on the human race which the British imperial system is carrying out. When you have, as you do in India and Bangladesh today, the spread of total breakdown of nutrition, absolute starvation, then a second phase of disease occurs. Diseases like influenza, pneumonia, etc., are replaced by diseases characteristic of the total collapse of resistance, of which the milder [form] is epidemic measles, and the most characteristic is the Black Death. The Black Plague, bubonic plague, and pneumonic plague recur precisely at those times in human history when resistance is the lowest, and in precisely the “weak links” in human society....
Bubonic plague, the familiar type during the collapse of feudalism, spread by rats and mice, has approximately a 30% rate of death in an untreated, healthy population, and up to 80% in an untreated, unhealthy population. At the height of such a plague, rats are no longer necessary to spread the disease: Pneumonic plague begins to spread directly man-to-man through coughing. Pneumonic plague in untreated forms or in forms resistant to antibiotics is invariably fatal.
The forecast projected a geometric increase in the rates of death as the ecological holocaust progressed.
A Chilling Look into the Future
The concluding section of the 1974 LaRouche forecast was titled “The Consequences Unless We Stop the Collapse.” It provided a look into the future, as events have indeed more or less played out, over the past 25 years.
Taking the process of ecological holocaust as a whole, we see a series of interrelated cycles: the fall of soil fertility leading to a fall in food supply; leading to a fall in nutrition of both human beings and animals; leading to lower efficiency of human metabolism and further drops in nutrition; leading to increase in the disease population, further fall in human nutrition, and further susceptibility to disease. The cycle as a whole leads to a general collapse of the cognitive abilities of the population, to mass psychosis, collapse of industry, destruction of wealth, and therefore, an increase in the driving force behind the rate of primitive accumulation.
Knowing these cycles, we can outline what the inevitable consequences of this process would be overall in the next few years.
The study projected an intensification of famine and disease in the “weak link” areas, particularly the Indian Subcontinent and Africa. Famine would lead to the spread of cholera in these “weak-link” zones, “intensification of famine and epizootics in the underdeveloped countries, and the potential for pandemics of influenza, superimposed on existing diseases.”
Next, focusing on the “Fourth World” areas most heavily targetted for rape and pillage by the financier oligarchy, the report warned that by the 1980s:
With the spread of famine, the potential for pandemics of bubonic plague would already be present and would actually be realized.... To the extent that a general financial collapse was occurring simultaneously, areas of the advanced world, especially those dependent on imported food, such as Japan, would be vulnerable to plague, especially to the extent that sanitation, anti-rat measures, etc., are at the primitive level, as in Italy now.... At this point, the process of ecological collapse would be unstoppable.
To the extent that the British imperial system responds according to its normal behavior to the ecological holocaust, the holocaust would accelerate. Enough hospital beds, even in the most developed countries, if millions are diseased, don’t exist! The British imperial response can easily be imagined. You would have people lining up for antibiotic shots outside of the hospitals. “This treatment” is precisely what would most rapidly produce plague and other diseases, which are invulnerable or immune to antibiotics, and humanity would be left without that weapon.
The general, obviously schematic structure of the death rate would look like this: rising from the presently low (approximately 3%) level, to a high of an annual death rate worldwide in the area of 20 to 25%, which is typical of ecological holocaust type plagues in previous historical periods.
Economic Breakdown and Global Pandemics
From the EIR Special Report, Economic Breakdown and the Threat of Global Pandemics, dated July 1, 1985:
There are three principal pathways through which a full-scale global pandemic on a scale far worse than that of the 14th-Century Black Death could erupt within the coming years. The nature of the specific pandemic is determined by the diseases endemic, or mutations thereof, in the “weak link” areas of the human species; namely, those very areas in the developing sector deliberately weakened by the IMF and World Bank. The character of the coming period could most probably be determined by isolated outbreaks or localized “flare-ups” of one or a variety of such diseases. At a certain point the process would reach sufficient energy density for a “take-off” into a full-scale global pandemic:
I. A pandemic originating in one place and then “taking off” around the world. Historically, certain killer diseases, such as plague, mutant “killer influenzas” or cholera, for example, mostly endemic in India, China, and Africa have demonstrated “breakout” capabilities. Such diseases have the capacity in a very short time, of traveling large distances and killing millions. Under conditions of overall economic and health collapse, such as already have matured in Asia, China and Africa, those regions could readily “donate” a killer pandemic to any portion of the globe virtually overnight in this age of jet travel.
II. Pandemic originating from different endemic diseases specific to different areas simultaneously flourishing. As [LaRouche medical advisor] Dr. John Grauerholz’s “Handbook of Human Epidemic and Potentially Epidemic Diseases” documents, such conditions are already “bubbling kettles” in Mexico, Brazil, and throughout Asia, Africa, and Ibero-America, with diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and, potentially, yellow fever.
III. New, deadly emerging diseases such as AIDS. The most likely scientific hypothesis is that the virus for AIDS has most probably been around for centuries, perhaps longer, in a less virulent form in monkeys or humans or other animals. At a recent medical conference in Senegal, researchers hypothesized that the AIDS virus HTLV III may have only recently emerged in virulent form due to the “collapse in socio-economic conditions” in Africa, and may be followed by “conversions” to virulence of other relatively harmless viruses. It was discussed that the AIDS virus was probably converted from a virus in green monkeys to its current form—a lethal, rapidly mutable virus.
The distribution of the disease into the United States followed an initial entry from Africa into industrialized society through the immunological “weak link” of the homosexual community, but at this point, the virus is moving outward into the general population.
In short, a most lethal viral weapon attacking people with no real defenses can wreak severe damage in a very short period. Then, at a certain moment, the disease “takes off” from the restricted “high risk” populations to the general human population as a whole. All available evidence suggests that the virus has continued to undergo a series of mutations toward ever more virulent strains. The outbreak here and there of different diseases is a function of what organism is in the area. The existence of “reservoirs” of plague, malaria, and other diseases determines the raw material for epidemic and pandemic propagation.
The specific case of plague is instructive to look at. Plague is currently endemic in the Western part of the United States, Vietnam, Zaire, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Madagascar. Two-thirds of all cases in the U.S. occur in the state of New Mexico. According to a leading epidemiologist on the scene in New Mexico, the situation is currently close to the threshold for epidemic take-off. Ten years ago there was a sudden increase in plague from 1-2 cases/year to 20 cases/year. In 1983, there were 40 cases, and last year 31. In this epidemiologist’s assessment, were the number of cases to continue to jump to the 30-50 cases per year range, that might constitute the threshold for an uncontrolled epidemic.
Under conditions of severe drought, desert-dwelling rodents converge on inhabited areas seeking water and food from garbage. Already, the conditions exist in the United States which are most favorable for the migration of rodents to towns and cities. Cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are experiencing uncontrolled rat population growth. In the assessment of various plague experts, there is a definite potential, under sustained conditions of general economic and health collapse, for the threshold into an uncontrolled plague epidemic to be crossed.
Dynamics of Pandemic Generation
What are the main dynamics of the convergence upon the pandemic threshold?
a. Diseases such as AIDS and herpes are indicators of the collapsed status of man’s immunological system. The doubling rate of AIDS is now six months.
b. Decaying central cities where populations are concentrated are suffering gross cutbacks in sanitation and water management.
c. The food supply and quality of diet of populations have been severely curtailed.
d. Infant mortality in cities such as Detroit and New York has long since surpassed the threshold of normalcy, reaching 25-30/1,000 as compared with a previous maximum “normal” amount of 9-10/1,000.
e. The proliferation of plant and animal diseases directly affects the food supply as well as creating the conditions favorable for the proliferation of insect pests. It has been estimated that out of the slightly less than 1 billion known animal species on Earth, approximately 740,000,000 of these are insects.
Under conditions of further collapse of the human economy, the biosphere will favor the proliferation of parasites at the expense of hosts. In short, the dynamic of evolution will be shifted into “reverse.” Simultaneously, severe perturbations in weather patterns and the geo-surface are already occurring—drought, uncharacteristically huge (sizewise) tornadoes, cyclones and tidal waves, deforestation, and breakdowns in “natural” and human water management.
We highly recommend the following articles by Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche:
1. Lyndon LaRouche’s “National Defense Against Germ Warfare,” originally published in EIR, Vol. 28, No. 43, Nov. 9, 2001, pp. 58-59.
2. Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s “Threat of Pandemic Requires Crash Bio-Defense Initiative,” reprinted in EIR, Vol. 33, No. 9, March 3, 2006, pp. 68-69.