Friday, December 26, 2008

More on Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren

From Ross Douthat (the Atlantic), via Instapundit:

It is, I suppose, possible to find a "key insight" about population growth in Ehrlich's book that's anodyne enough to qualify as "elementary" and irrefutable. But there's a pretty good reason that the book is remembered primarily for its mix of hysteria and moral idiocy: When you kick off your argument by predicting that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over," and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now," and then proceed to argue for mass sterilization programs, the quarantine and abandonment of countries too overpopulated to save from total collapse, and various other "triage" methods (honestly, The Population Bomb has to be read to be believed), you pretty much forfeit the right to be praised for your prescience forty years down the line.

2 comments:

kevin p. said...

They were correct: from the 70s til now, between 8-15 million children have died *per year*, with a total over 300 million dead.

Just because you have food in your cupboard, don't assume everyone else does.

Clement Wan said...

How do you figure they were right? If you look at _any_ metric for human nutrition amongst the bottom quintile of the population, it has been improving - and improving dramatically since these predictions were made.

As for the deaths of children - I'm not sure where you're getting your stats from and while I don't doubt them on their face, I do doubt that it is from starvation or anything remotely resembling overpopulation which was the point of the post. Hunger is a construct that is the direct result of tyrannical governments and policies not of overpopulation, western governments, colonialism or even multinational corporations. Zimbabwe of course being the prime example that proves that rule.