Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Malthus Was Only Postponed

Here's a letter I sent to the Boston Globe in response to an opinion piece stating that a global decline in birth rates will lead to woe for future generations. I think we're in for a world of trouble, but too few people is not at the top of my list of concerns. It was published in the June 21, 2008 Boston Globe.

Jeff Jacoby refers to a Malthusian fallacy (The coming population bust, Boston Globe, June 18) and suggests that the world is not overpopulated by humans. The crises of starvation, disease and a destroyed environment that Malthus predicted have not been canceled but merely postponed by the unforeseen discovery of fossil fuel. By using oil and natural gas to power machines, pump water and manufacture fertilizer, we have expanded food production way beyond what we could produce by organic, muscle-powered agriculture alone. When the oil runs out - as it inevitably must - we may well discover that there are, indeed, too many people on this small globe.

No comments: