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Dheep' P • 2 years ago

Mr. Erlich was just a bit early in his predictions. The Population continues upward till someday it meets that brick wall. One way or another. It is inevitable. People are NOT going to change either enough or in time. Humans are basically a species in denial. almost complete & total denial ... It's a comin'

Htos1 • 4 years ago

LMAO! This guy knows better than to pop up these days!

Cary Garner • 4 years ago

The next big reason for abortion is Climate change. One more reason to give the Government's total control. The predictions and analogies have been completely wrong. The Godless attempts to be their own God. That you can make salient predictions about.

R. Humus • 4 years ago

Ehrlich's vision of population control is simply a way for educated, liberal white people to be racist towards brown and yellow ones without losing their membership in the dopey liberal club. And I'm normally a liberal.

In this and the previous century, starvation was a political weapon, not a natural consequence. There is plenty of food in the world. The issue isn't amount, it's distribution. San Jose has the same population density as Bangladesh, but no one claims there are too many white people in Silicon Valley.

India is now a net food EXPORTER. So much for his recommendation that we let them all starve to death.

RH • 5 years ago

We don't really have an accurate count of the world's population because some third world countries do not count indigenous peoples in their census. So, at this point, the population is probably higher than we think it is.

Culper Sr. • 6 years ago

No one really knows how many forced abortions took place in Communist China. Given that Chinese communism is among the most savagely totalitarian forms of government around one has to regard none of the abortions taking place under the repressive one child policy as really a free choice. Moreover, traditional China’s preference for sons means that most of the abortions were of girls. This is also true in India and elsewhere. Third world demographics show the number of “missing” girls as in the hundreds of millions. China’s own population website brags of 400 million abortions since the 1970s. For this they were awarded a United Nations population control award. World wide over the same period the number of abortions has reached around 1.5 billion; about 20% of the world population. That ought to be enough population control for anyone.

Metal_bender • 6 years ago

Malthus more or less had to assume constant calories/hectare [calories/acre] (although he knew potatoes were a game changer for Europe), and constant levels of consumption/person. Thus, he arrived at his conclusion of human population outstripping food production. _The Population Bomb_ focused on population, and also pretty much assumed constant food production and per capita consumption. It was written hastily, so OK. Ehrlich predicted (or drew a scenario of) doom & disaster by dates that have already passed. OK, does that mean the fundamental argument is false?

The Club of Rome was able to consider multiple alternative production rates and consumption rates, leading to their conclusion that unrestrained consumption would lead to a population/civilization crash. (BTW, I understand that the Club's estimates are still on track with reality, and that a/the major crash is still expected between 2020 and 2050. The degree of co-operation needed to avert that crash presently seems beyond human capability.). The Club's analysis allows for technology improvements. That alternative won't "save" us. Reasonable improvements in food calories/hectare production will not "save" us. A draconian reduction in population _might_ save the lucky ones who make the cut, if what's left is called "saved." Only a slight reduction in consumption by the highest consuming groups, coupled with cessation of further population growth, will bring all of us through.

Apparently, educating women has the dramatic effect of restraining unmitigated population growth. That and moving the entire world population into what the US calls 'middle class.'

What we want is not "consumption," but consumption that makes us feel better - happier. Consuming renewable stuff is better than consuming unsustainable stuff. Certainly shifting to renewable energy in place of coal & nuclear power would reduce unsustainable consumption. Maybe heavy computer & Wi-Fi implementation would make us feel better about our lives, while consuming less unsustainable materials. Maybe.

tma_sierrahills • 6 years ago

This article is yet another reminder that any intelligent discussion of overpopulation has nearly been driven from the public square. The result of the same relentless campaign in the MSM, the Globalist corporate world, the fashionable virtue-signaling Multi-Cultural Marxists and others to promote open borders into the West. Where to start?

Suffice it to provide a couple of examples. It is routinely reported that Africa's exploding population is why Africans MUST invade the West, and why we MUST accept them. Until When? Incredibly, Africa's runaway overpopulation nightmare has now been re-framed as a success. You see, as President Obama crowed, "Africa has the youngest population!" Well yes, if I decided to have 25 kids, I probably would have the youngest household population on the block, but who would pay for them all? India has over-the-horizon shantytowns where human sewage is the order of the, but, hey--they have a space program!

But, rest assured, as this article strongly implies, the world, including the U.S., can infinitely redouble its population numbers, as more and more people suffer in squalor, and more wars break out over limited resources, and as more and more of Mother Nature gets paved over. And as science and technology tethers us all out ever farther away from sustainability until some Armageddon population crash, or a series of crashes, which should remind us of what happens when a 'higher' species selfishly chases utopia and adopts the multiplication philosophy of the locust swarm or the cancer cell.

Hansjörg Walther • 6 years ago

The underlying mistake is to assume that population automatically grows first and then people scramble to find the food. It is far more plausible that it works the other way around: First there are improvements and then population grows into this, but only at a slower pace. If there are no improvements, population just doesn't grow and stabilizes.

This is unthinkable for those who since Malthus are convinced that there is inevitable "population pressure." But populations can and do stabilize. They have always done this over the past 100,000 years. It is probably a part of human nature (and also of that of other species).

If you are interested in the argument, which is much longer, you can start here (only preliminary steps, more to follow):


Dan • 5 years ago

Good point, and much more in line with nature than Ehrlich's hypothesis. Look at any species, and they flourish when there is food and die off when there is none. It is the latter that is hard and which we have tried to avoid with UN food aid, for example, thereby prolonging the crisis by subsidized an increase in birth rates which then need even more non-local resources taken from other areas of population, or we see refugees migrating to other once relatively stable areas of population. All this begins a cycle which cascades into the over-population we have now.

michael_in_adelaide • 6 years ago

Fossil fuels are essential for the industrial agriculture that feeds the world (and the that field the Green Revolution that meant that Ehrlich's predictions did not come to pass). However, as oil and other fossil fuels decline in availability I don't see how we will feed a future population that is still growing by 80 million people every year. Ultimately, Ehrlich will be proved correct. However, I am no fan of Ehrlich since he continues to make dramatic, attention-grabbing statements in the media that only serve to have him dismissed as a whacko/doomer by the broad general public and that make it difficult for other people (who are actually trying to have population discussions taken seriously) to capture public attention. In my opinion, Ehrlich's continued activity on the population issue does more harm than good.

Richard Mahony • 6 years ago

'The sheer count of people, the critics said, matters much less than what people do. Population per se is not at the root of the world’s problems. The reason, Ehrlich’s detractors said, is that people are not fungible—the impact of one living one kind of life is completely different from that of another person living another kind of life.'

Which critics? What did they publish that refuted Ehrlich? What data sets and peer reviewed studies did these unnamed critics rely on in order to refute Ehrlich? Did further studies confirm or challenge the conclusions of Ehrlich critics?

Every human pursues his own ends. Every human pursues his own interests. Competition between individuals and between groups over access to scant resources leads to murder, to skirmishes, to battles, to small-scale wars, to civil war, to world wars, to genocide.

The more humans there are packed into a local, bounded environment, the more competition and the more conflict will arise in that environment. This conflict may spill over into adjacent environments and lead eventually to mass, uncontrolled migration as humans flee the conflict.

Employers, the organised religions, the entertainment industry, the media, and politicians promote population growth because it is in their financial interests to do so.

colowww • 6 years ago

Ehrlich acknowledged it is "possible" for the human population to get much bigger, however he said we would need to turn the planet into massive feed lot to accomplish it. 30% of the earths non polar land is consumed by human activity now. Id say we are well on the way to fulfilling that projection.

colowww • 6 years ago

Most of humanity responded to Ehrlich's warning by having smaller families. This in turn caused most of Ehrlich's projections to unfold at a slower pace, because population growth slowed dramatically. When Ehrlich wrote the Population Bomb, demographers were projecting a global population of about 9 billion in 2010. Over a billion people are having trouble finding water now with 7.5 billion. What happens when we add two billion more people? Ehrlich's projections of water wars, and famine will look a lot more prophetic.

Doug Sterling • 4 years ago

What nonsense!

ninoinoz • 6 years ago

Rev. Thomas Malthus has been wrong for the last 200 years.

Why are his successors given any notice whatsoever?

msr2day • 6 years ago

Understanding the ecology of Economics would be the first place to begin - and to date I've not seen a worthwhile book on that thought, let alone describing it in full as it operates in 2018. Economists are theorists, not the practical practitioners. Financiers are the practitioners/users of the Economist's theory (much as engineers and doctors are the practitioners/users of the theories generated by scientists) and Finance is controlled only by the capability to earn profit. Once money became the medium to "control" the distribution of goods and services, the greedy were going to be the most successful/powerful in the ecology.

infamouscrimes • 6 years ago

Yet another annoying piece of Pollyanna propaganda. Technology will save us! Smart people will save us! No, they won't. One billion people already do not have enough to eat, yet Mann thinks that's winning. So we should all live like India, climbing on top of each other for crumbs. What about the fact that every American uses 20X the resources of a Chinese? Exponential growth is unsustainable. Birth rates are already declining in civilized countries, it's the ignorant poor who are the problem. We need to educate them about birth control. It's the best pound of prevention we could spend money on.

leftofcenter • 6 years ago

We are exploiting the earth to its limits, but without growth the corporate economy will go belly up, with growth we cause millions of other species to go belly up. Take your pick, wear condoms and do without crap you don’t need or keep breeding and exploiting until a mass die off occurs. Crowding and resource scarcity is one factor in our behavior to rob the commons. Climate change, overfishing, water scarcity are the results of not considering population as a factor in our feelings about the world and the reality of our resources. Whatever happens it's not the end of the universe, it’s just one tiny planet out of billions orbiting in a Goldilock orbit .People need to accept the gift of life and act with intelligent thoughtfulness about the earth's ability to sustain life for all species. Of the billions of sperm and egg combinations over years of random selection, you were lucky enough to become a representative for the earth. Do what you can do to make it sustainable.

2abner • 6 years ago

the concept of overpopulation is contrary to the "be fruitful & multiply" Biblical concept

Max • 6 years ago

So keep multiplying until you eat up every last vestige of other lifeforms in the planet. That will get you really far into a future of overt cannibalism. ONce we eat each other up, life, much more resilient than the human race, may come back without us. Religious concepts that deny reality only serve your own ego, not mankind at large

MKF • 6 years ago

This seems a rather surprising, and unfair, attack on Ehrlich, coming from someone who has such a good understanding of history.

A few thoughts … a little hard to follow the writer’s point(s) on Paris, New Delhi and growth – and comparing what was a Third World city to a First World city (and, people still openly defecate throughout India; in France, I think not so much) … and neglecting to mention in the comparison the geographical size of the two areas. Yes, there’s a distinction between overcrowded and overpopulated. But one would have to be a population denier to not understand that India is both overcrowded and overpopulated. In 1961, India had 439 million people. In just 10 years, it added another 100 million +. Today it’s at 1.3 billion – more than a doubling in a few decades.

Any question about overpopulation in India? Just look at the loss of biodiversity and continuing pressures on it.

Re: food. Oh, of course, technology will always come to the rescue and save Man from himself. Right! Nobel Laureate and the Father of the Green Revolution Norman Borlaug knew that we’d only bought time, and the population side of the equation would have to be addressed.

Overall, Mann seems exceedingly optimistic in the face of so many facts that would not logically lead to an optimistic view if we stay the course we’re on.

FreetheBirds • 6 years ago

Erlich was wrong, because we are still here, debating his theory. The flaw in the theory is that he equates humans with plants and animals. "We are subject to the same biological laws as any species, Vogt said. If a species exhausts its resources, it crashes." Humans have minds that allow us to change how we use resources and find new ones.
But people's need for resources is not the problem. Getting rid of "surplus population" won't keep people from coveting more power and more wealth, and being willing to destroy others in their efforts to gain more of either.

By your definition, many cities in California are Third World cities, because they are struggling with open defecation there, too.

NP1 • 6 years ago

we are faced with the triumvirate of chaos (my term), just as Erlich said:

Population, Energy depletion and Environment (Climate change)

deal with one and the other two will rise up and bite you in the ass---every time. Yet there is denial at the highest level that there is a problem

Back in the 60s/70s, the effect of Borlaug's improved seed production could not be foreseen. But his green revolution helped billions to survive, and pushed us into believing that we could feed unlimited numbers,
50 years ago the world population was around 3.5bn, and maybe a quarter of them went hungry--that's still close to a billion people. Today there's 7.5Bn, and there's still a billion people hungry, and around 2 bn living at or below the universal poverty line of $2 a day

We are on target to reach 9 or 10bn or higher by mid century.

There is no possible way that number can be fed---Africa, the prime focus of mass starvation is being stripped of its basic environmental support by all three of the above chaos factors. Even if we could grow enough food, we can't ship it to where it's needed.

So if we cannot feed and extra 3bn over the next 30 years, it follows that something is going to cull our numbers. Starving people fight for survival (that is basic human nature), exactly how that fight will pan out is open to conjecture, but our numbers must reduce, one way or another.

We have conditioned ourselves to believe to we have a right to ''more'' of everything, forever.

We are about to discover that we have been misled into thinking prosperity is something you vote for

"The End of More" (Pagett Amazon) explains why there's no more to be had.

It doesn't make pleasant reading.

squeakywheel • 6 years ago

Still making excuses? Just keep it up. Population has its limits. Food production is just one part of the equation. The article mentions starvation being related to conflict but what ignites conflict? With global warming reducing glaciers which reduces fresh water flows and pollution fouling fresh water supplies the "food" destined for trouble is potable water. Pandemic disease is another lurking problem as people live in dense cities with close contact. Population does need to be controlled or it will eventually be the control itself.

Jeffn • 6 years ago

In the ‘70s, war was largely caused by communist imperialism.
But it’s time for you to face facts- the population bomb movement, and its attendant Luddite and Eugenics fantasists, is the most comprehensively failed pseudo science cult since phrenology.

colowww • 6 years ago

The sheer count of people, may matter less than what people do. But it still matters a lot.

2abner • 6 years ago

"The sheer count of people, ..., matters much less than what people do"

colowww • 6 years ago

The sheer count of people may matter less, but it still matters.

jeffersoncorrect • 6 years ago

The man is of course correct but hardly the first. Robert Malthus wrote in 1798 that human population grows exponentially while food supply only increases in a linear fashion. All of the current issues such as global warming, pollution, and water quality are all sub sets of the root cause of overpopulation. Since governments and religions are heavily invested in continued growth models no serious efforts are addressing the root cause. The easily predicted ending will not be pretty.

NomDeGrrr • 6 years ago

Actually, he was better known as THOMAS Malthus -- the doom and gloom prognosticator of his day, although Robert was his middle name.
Malthus was a very religious man and a member of the clergy, if I remember correctly. But, before vaunting him as some kind of prescient prophet, best look at his methods. His cataclysmic conclusions were arrived at because they're the only ones that could be arrived at, given the input data he used. If you were to start with today as "zero", you'd arrive at the same "predicted ending--not pretty" eventually, using his mathematical model. It is mathematically impossible not to.
What is usually overlooked in all this "doom and gloom scenario" is technology, and man's ability to adapt.
The beauty of Economics lies not in the classical definition of the subject--allocation of scarce resources--but rather in my Econ. 101 professor's definition: the study of man's attempts to satiate his UNLIMITED wants and needs with LIMITED resources. See the big conundrum there?
That conundrum has always been there, ever since the time of Adam and Eve, and it will always be with us, regardless however many in population makes up the "us" part.
Neither you, nor Ehrlich, nor myself, nor especially The Club of Rome, will ever live to see Malthus predictions come true, now will we? Will anyone?

2abner • 6 years ago

"global warming, pollution, and water quality are all sub sets" but of the global over-obsession with animal consumption..