Essay by domenichelliCollege, UndergraduateA, July 2008

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The most personal life decisions of every person on this planet are involved when deciding the incentives for sacrificing the future for the present. This rings true when looking at the decision to mass-produce a vaccine to help control the epidemics of the early twentieth century. The first record of an influenza pandemic was of an outbreak in 1580, which began in Asia and spread to Europe via Africa. In Rome, over 8,000 people were killed, and several Spanish cities were nearly wiped out. Periodic outbreaks occurred during the 17th and 18th centuries and continued on into the 20th century as well. The most famous and lethal pandemic was that of the so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919. Current estimates of the death toll are now as high as 100 million (Billings 1997). Although these statistics may create remorse and dispair, the main cause for dread is that of the creation of the influenza vaccine.

This may sound like an absurd statement, but as of today, the main cause for most of our environmental, economic, and food production problems is population growth (Daly 1992). And population growth causes countless problems such as malnourishment and environmental sustainability issues. For that, the worst invention must be the influenza vaccine.

The twentieth century has been marked by an important historical development: an unsuspecting evolution of the power to seriously impair human life on our planet. Although growth rates vary from country to country, the fact that we are growing as a global society at a rate of over 2 percent a year is striking (International Census Bureau 2008). The world population growth rate rose from about 1.5 percent per year from 1950-51 to a peak of over 2 percent in the early 1960s due to reductions in mortality. These reductions in...