Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Valuable Reminder: The Population Bomb Was a Dud

In the age of climate scares, William McGurn reminds us:
Fifty years ago this month, Mr. [Paul] Ehrlich published “The Population Bomb.” In it he portended global cataclysm—unless the world could be persuaded to stop producing so many . . . well . . . people. The book sketched out possible scenarios of the hell Mr. Ehrlich believed imminent: hundreds of millions dying from starvation, England disappearing by the year 2000, India doomed, the average American’s lifespan falling to 42 by 1980, and so on.

Mr. Ehrlich’s book sold three million copies, and his crabbed worldview became an unquestioned orthodoxy for the technocratic class that seems to welcome such scares as an opportunity to boss everyone else around...
Robert McNamara, whose leadership would prove even more destructive at the World Bank than it had been in Vietnam, would declare overpopulation a graver threat than nuclear war—because the decisions to have babies or not were “not in the exclusive control of a few governments but rather in the hands of literally hundreds of millions of individual parents.”...
In his day Mr. Ehrlich’s assertion about the limited “carrying capacity” of the Earth was settled science.

-Robert Wenzel  

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