French writer Jacques Attali did not advocate for depopulation through a pandemic

6 January 2023
What was claimed

French writer Jacques Attali claimed the future would be about finding a way to reduce the population through a pandemic.

Our verdict

Mr Attali has denied saying this. The quote does not appear in Mr Attali’s 1993 book Verbatim 1: 1981-1986, as claimed on TikTok.

A Facebook post claims that the French writer Jacques Attali wrote in a 1981 book that: “The future will be about finding a way to reduce the population”.

The post includes a supposed excerpt from the book, which continues: “Of course, we will not be able to execute people or build camps. We get rid of them by making them believe it is for their own good…

“We will find or cause something, a pandemic targeting certain people, a real economic crisis or not, a virus affecting the old or the elderly, it doesn’t matter, the weak and fearful will succumb to it. The stupid will believe in it and ask to be treated. We will have taken care of having panned the treatment, a treatment that will be the solution. The selection of idiots will therefore be done by itself: they will go to the slaughterhouse alone.”

Mr Attali has himself denied the quote, telling AFP Factcheck in 2021: “This text is totally invented [...] It is in no way close to the initial text. It's like saying that I will have written Mein Kampf.”

While the Facebook post does not specify in which book the quote supposedly features, a TikTok video posted in September 2022, also shared on Facebook, appears to suggest this excerpt was taken from Verbatim 1: 1981-1986—the first of three volumes published by Mr Attali recalling his time spent working as a special advisor to former French President François Mitterrand.

While the first volume of the book covers events from 1981, it was published in 1993.

Verbatim does not appear to be translated into English, however it is possible to search the original French text.

Nowhere in the book do the French translations for the words “pandemic” (pandémie) or “slaughterhouse” (abattoir) appear. The word “virus” (virus) appears once, in the context of the discovery of the virus which causes AIDS.

The claim made on Facebook has also been debunked by fact checkers at Reuters and Snopes.

According to AFP, Mr Attali did make some comments regarding future use of euthanasia in a 1981 book titled “Future Life” (L’Avenir du Futur).

In the book, Mr Attali is quoted by AFP as saying “ soon as a person gets to be older than sixty or sixty-five, and his productivity and profitability begin to slip, he costs society dearly."

AFP also quotes him as saying: “In a capitalist society, killing machines, prostheses which will make it possible to eliminate life when it is too unbearable or economically too costly, will emerge and be common practice. I therefore believe that euthanasia, whether it is a value of freedom or a commodity, will be one of the rules of future society”.

The Facebook post also refers to Mr Attali as a “Bilderberger”. This may be a reference to the Bilderberg meeting—an annual conference involving political leaders, academics and other industry experts from Europe and North America.

The meetings are held off-the-record, and as such have long been the subject of conspiracy theories.

Image courtesy of ActuaLitté

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.