The Population Bomb

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When the 1960’s happened the hippie collectivist environmentalists started their watermelon movement (green on the outside, red on the inside). They had nothing logical to support their fear mongering, so they just went with the long disproven falsehood of Tragedy of the commons, again. First Garrett Hardin regurgitated the Tragedy of the commons, despite the fact that it was disproven 160 years before he wrote it. Then Ehrlich did a shallow, plagiaristic, pessimistic derivative of Hardin and Malthus, entitled "The Population Bomb", basically saying that if you didn’t give government all your money and rights, so they could enact compulsory population control, then there would be mass starvations and war in the 1970s and 1980s that would destroy civilization. Of course it didn't happen, but many on the left seems it will, soon, and believe in over-population is a problem. As far as we know the carrying capacity of the earth far expands with technology and exceeds population growth (so is infinite) -- and current projections are that we'll peak in population in a couple more generations (well below any imaginary ceiling), as currently the worlds population could fit in Texas. Only science deniers think overpopulation is a serious capacity problem.

Predictions

Paul made bone-headed predictions like:

  • "[i]n ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct”,
  • "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by... hungry people.” He predicted the UK would be 70M staving people by 2000. The 66M denizens of 2019 seem perfectly well fed.
  • “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people.… We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions.”
  • India can't handle going from 400M to 600M because they'd never be able to feed themselves. The 1.2B there today, kindly disagree, and there's LESS malnutrition and starvation than there was at 400 or 600M. (Falling from 90% back then to <40% today).
  • He predicted an increase in the death rates in the 70's, but it's fallen from about 13.4/100K to nearly half that at 8.4K. Which should make the problem worse -- but we're much better off today.

Despite the opposite of all his predictions coming true, he claims to this day that his book was, "way too optimistic”. Showing this old dog can’t learn from his mistakes. And because his ideas were so wrong, and derivative, he’s won every award the left can throw at him: Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, MacArthur Prize, UN, American Institute of Biological Sciences — it’s like the whose who of those that don’t know what’s what.

🗒️ NOTE:
While overpopulation is not a carrying capacity problem, it can be an economics problem if population grows faster than the demand for labor. So there are spot population problems in many parts of the world. But that's not the same thing as Ehrlich and others on the left's premise.

Conclusion

The problem is scientists are fine at testing and measuring results of experiments, but they're actually really bad at prognostication and calculating rates of advancements in areas beyond their expertise (which is almost everything). They're usually specialists, trying to make broad economic, sociological, agricultural, political predictions, as well as missing advancements in scientific fields that they aren't experts in (which is all of them but the one they have a degree in -- and even there, they're often so specialized as to be viewing the world through a straw).

Tragedy of the commons
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We often get dire warnings about Malthusian Catastrophes, Ehrlich's population bombs and how individuals can't be trusted to manage shared interests. We need government to protect us from ourselves. History shows the opposite: individuals form small governments for common interests better than big governments, unless big government stops them.

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Malthusian Catastrophe

In 1798, this guy named Robert Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population , basically saying that since population growth was exceeding food production, our labor value would crash to zero, we’d all be poor and we were all going to die in 50 or 100 years (known as the Malthusian Catastrophe), if we didn’t give the government control over our breeding. Also we needed to “condemn the bad specimens to celibacy”. Hey, he must be right, he used math.

We ignored Malthus, and he was wrong about everything. The world not only didn’t go into meltdown by 1898 (or ever couple generations after that): it got better in every dimension along with population growth. But his ideas long outlived the era where they were proven wrong, and were often repeated by the the left like Keynes, or to this day.

Every time one the collectivist ideas fail (which is always), they try to repackage it (reinvent it), to sell the next gullible on the same bullshit. And this zombie has more lives than a cattery. But all the variants have a few things in common, their premise (humans can't control themselves and need government), their proposed solution (giving up our liberty/money to government to fix it), the outcome if we didn’t act (our near term violent demise, to add immediacy), and then finally — the unwillingness of the rational to heed their warnings, and then the complete lack of consequences that were predicted (proving that they were wrong all along). more...

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📚 References