Seven Billion Creators Enrich The World
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  • A Nissen

    You sure need to dig deeper on this one WRM, no pun intended.

  • Toni

    Prof. Mead, do you know the connection between that old Malthusian population panic and today’s global warmists who wish everyone to panic? I quote again from “Aliens Cause Global Warming.”

    “I remind you that in the lifetime of most scientists now living, we have already had an example of dire predictions set aside by new technology. I refer to the green revolution. In 1960, Paul Ehrlich said, “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ten years later, he predicted four billion people would die during the 1980s, including 65 million Americans. The mass starvation that was predicted never occurred, and it now seems it isn’t ever going to happen. Nor is the population explosion going to reach the numbers predicted even ten years ago. In 1990, climate modelers anticipated a world population of 11 billion by 2100. Today, some people think the correct number will be 7 billion and falling. But nobody knows for sure.”

    Indeed. From

  • Jack

    Excellent post.

    The world economic crisis is mostly rooted in demographics. Phillip Longman has done some good work on this.

    Countries that don’t make children face a bleak future, economically, socially, culturally. It’s sad that countries that have contributed so much to the culture of the world, like Italy and Japan, are dying a long, slow demographic death.

  • Luke Lea

    WRM readers might be interested in how a real physicist analyzes the issue of overpopulation — with a few irreverent jokes thrown in along the way just to spice up the argument.

    [Incidentally, if Walt hasn’t discovered this guy already, he’ll find that he writes the most authoritative scientific arguments in clear English prose, to be found anywhere on the web in support his skeptical take on the AGW movement.]

  • David Billington

    You need to study this a bit more. The Green Revolution of the 1960s enabled India to achieve self-sufficiency in food but the rate of agricultural growth leveled off there in the 1980s. It was not really a scientific miracle: what green crops were designed to do was tolerate much higher inputs of inorganic fertilizer and water, and the environmental results have been problematical.

    India is still self-sufficient but much of Asia and Africa now depend on food surpluses produced by the United States and Canada. Since 1950, we have increased production for export mainly through mechanization (ie. internal combustion and gasoline).

    The world picture is not a simple “limits to growth” prospect, because in addition to possible offsetting declines in population there is a great deal of variability in possible diet. Rising meat consumption tightens grain supplies much faster than population growth. If the developed world eats less meat, and if the developing world’s meat consumption rises only to this level, grain supplies will still have to be expanded but not by as much.

    In the long run, water and energy and land are likely to pose a theoretical limit to population growth (until we can replicate food as in Star Trek). But we may face several decades in which other countries need to import more from us if current consumption trends continue. If world population stabilizes or even declines as a result of modernization, then the problem of the population-food balance should be self-correcting, but there could be some real challenges until then.

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