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A world of woe: Why Malthus was right
PBS Newshour, by Paul Solomon*

Original Article

Posted By:StormCnter, 7/9/2014 10:08:15 AM

A note from Paul Solman: Around the world of economic history, in 80 words: In the beginning, humans were hunter-gatherers and lived a pretty easy life, though only until the age of 35 or so, on average. About 12,000 years ago or less, folks discovered agriculture, and population exploded — but material life actually became harder than before. Then came the Industrial Revolution and at least in the West, sudden and steady economic growth that made us rich: “A Farewell to Alms,” as economic historian Greg Clark put it in his first controversial book seven years ago. The controversial part: he

Comments:
* [ interview with Gregory Clark]

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: StormCnter, 7/9/2014 10:12:41 AM     (No. 9916584)

I saw an article in the WSJ (sadly behind the subscription wall) about the demise of Pitcairn Island. The population is down to 49 people, with only one woman of childbearing age. When I searched the net to see if I could find the story elsewhere, my search turned up this PBS piece, which I thought was interesting.

FTA: Clark asked me to consider, for example, the South Seas Mutiny on the HMS Bounty in 1789, made famous by Hollywood. A handful of mutineers ran off first to Tahiti and then brought a number of native women with them to uninhabited Pitcairn Island, 1357 miles away.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Gorzabozo, 7/9/2014 11:00:10 AM     (No. 9916682)

The participants of this interview completely omit modern birth control and the fact that the populations of many advanced nations today are soon to begin falling. Being that the birth rates of these same nations have been slowly falling for decades population decline of the developed world appears to be a near-certainty.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Michaelus, 7/9/2014 11:20:33 AM     (No. 9916723)

Completely wrong about hygiene in old Europe - but it is interesting to hear how smart guys still want to kill off the poor so they can have "better lives".

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Calvinesq, 7/9/2014 11:40:22 AM     (No. 9916764)

Yep. There are way too many progressives/liberals.

Time to cull the herd.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Hazymac, 7/9/2014 11:41:34 AM     (No. 9916769)

Although it should be self-evident, the future belongs to those who reproduce. Malthusian beliefs underlie destructive Green (and leftist) political philosophy that calls for human depopulation of the earth down to under one billion souls. The sempiternal pessimist, Malthus wasn´t right about anything, and politicians who kowtow to his misanthropic foolishness are involving the rest of us in a losing game.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: jeffkinnh, 7/9/2014 12:00:04 PM     (No. 9916812)

Malthus wrote for his time but development has left him behind. Population expansion is no longer an inevitable force. Modern societies often reduce the number of children by individual choice.

But beyond that, resources are not limited as much as Malthus saw in his time. The amount of knowledge mankind has, has grown massively and continues to grow at an accelerated rate. That knowledge helps us to find resources and use existing ones in more efficient manners. We SEE the effects we have on the environment and we CHOOSE better ways to live. We can grow more food, we have access to far more energy, we can manage waste far more efficiently.

Malthus´ predictions are like ancient man KNOWING it will be dark at night and planning their lives accordingly. Modern man turns on the lights, having the ever more efficient lighting technology and reliable power to do so at whim.

Every time someone makes predictions about mankind being bound by some limit and facing doom, technology provides answers that makes them look like idiots. The US is now (or soon will be) the premier gas and oil producer in the world. Remember all that talk about energy independence a while back? It´s just about here, NOW! No one saw that coming a couple decades ago.

The only ones that suffer in the long run is the doomsayers.

Sure there are groups of people, like in Africa, that seem to suffer deprivation. But the truth is, these people suffer mostly because of political and societal constraints that prevent them from becoming modern societies that can solve their problems.

You can choose how you want to live but don´t expect me to feel sorry for you when your choice leads to a life of deprivation.


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