Sunday, December 27, 2009

The problem is people

Malthus was right.

It is not necessarily a mistake to fail to foresee future developments, but it most certainly is a mistake to take them for granted.

It's not just the fossil-fuel fueled industrial revolution that created vast agricultural surpluses. Those surpluses only delayed the inevitable for a while, and would not have sustained population growth that occurred in the latter part of the 20th century. For that, the green revolution was required.

What will be the next revolution, the one that's going to sustain two-Chinas worth of people that the globe is supposed to add to today's human numbers if they increase as projected?

It is a mistake to take future developments for granted. It seems unlikely that the "two-Chinas" population projection will come to pass.

To say that "the problem is pollution not people" is to, as they say, put the cart before the horse.

in reference to:

"Indeed, the big mistake made by the original prophet of population doom, Thomas Malthus, was his failure to appreciate how fossil fuels would transform the world economy. To be fair, it would have been hard to foresee, back in 1798, how industrialisation - powered by fossil fuels - would create the vast agricultural surpluses that would sustain a huge increase in population. But his mistake points to the real culprit here: the problem is pollution not people."
- BBC - Ethical Man blog: Are our children to blame? (view on Google Sidewiki)

No comments: