Stunning that the reliably liberal and alarmist NYT runs an article, “The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion,” with equally stunning video demonstrating that Paul Ehrlich, author of the uber-alarmist The Population Bomb (1968), was totally, totally wrong.
The full case for Ehrlich’s idiocy on the economics of demography is far, far stronger than the article and video show, but even so, they’re a total take-down of Ehrlich. Why ANYONE has ever considered Ehrlich even simply a scholar–let alone a leading scholar–on demographic issues is a deep, deep mystery, since his predictions proved false so quickly.
His error begins with his equation of people with bacteria or insects–the former, though Ehrlich ignored it, not only reproduce but also produce, and the latter only reproduce.
This comment by Gita Sen, Development Economist at the Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, in Bangalore, on the video makes my point about Ehrlich’s idiocy on demographics precisely:
I know Paul Ehrlich reasonably well, and I respect him as a biologist. I don’t, and never have, and he knows it, agreed with his views on population. There’s a tendency to apply to human beings the same sort of models that may apply for the insect world. The difference of course is that human beings are conscious beings, and we do all kinds of things to change our destiny.
As I argued in my book Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future (1990, out of print) and in chapter 7 of my book Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate, people, made in God’s image, can be creative and productive stewards, making more resources than they consume. Julian Simon made the case thoroughly in The Ultimate Resource 2.
(Featured image courtesy of James Cridland, Creative Commons/Flickr.com.)