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Jack Parsons


Jack Parsons was a founder, leading member and benefactor of the Optimum Population Trust. This page contains a brief biography and links to some of his work on population.

Jack died at the age of 85, in the autumn of 2006. He had an unusual and wide-ranging career. Following an engineering apprenticeship until World War II, in which he served as an RAF pilot, he worked in civil-engineering, before exploring Western Europe on foot. After winning a Mature State Scholarship, he graduated in philosophy and politics, and later lectured on social relations and cybernetics at the then new Brunel University, where his interest in human population issues grew strongly.

In 1967 he helped found the Conservation Society and, as hon Education Officer, gave many public lectures and broadcasts on the population problem. He served on the Liberal Party’s Optimum Population and Economic Growth panels, and was a member of the Independent Commission on Transport. His last full-time post was that of Deputy Director, Sir David Owen Population Centre, then at Cardiff and more recently divided between Keele University and the IPPF. From 1991 onwards, he provided much essential assistance to David and Yvette Willey as they were setting up the Optimum Population Trust.

He was a consultant to the IPPF, OXFAM, the IUCN (for which he helped draft the Supplement to The World Conservation Strategy) and other bodies — and had many publications in this field. His first two books: Population Versus Liberty (1971) & Population Fallacies (1977) were well received originally, re-reviewed in the USA some years later — and remain in print. His 1998 opus: Human Population Competition received critical acclaim and the 4th edition (2002) is also available in interactive form on CD ROM. His last book (2006) The Treason of the BBC, based on his 50 year plus experience in contact with the BBC, demonstrated how this important public body had systematically and over many years refused to publish any serious discussion of basic human population problems.

He gave the keynote address to the 1993 World Congress on the Optimum Population — at Cambridge — and later completed a computer database (CO-ORD) on the problems of social control in complex societies. He was a Patron of the Optimum Population Trust, an hon Associate of the Rationalist Press Association, and an hon life-member of the Centre for Alternative Technology, CAT. In 2002 he launched the Population Policy Press, a non-profit attempt to help lift the near-universal Hardinian Taboo on discussion of the population problem.

Read papers written by Jack Parsons.