Overpopulation isn’t the problem

Ronald Bailey of Reason highlights an encouraging opinion piece in the New York Times that argues against the persistent fears of overpopulation. According to Erle C. Ellis:

The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been. Since prehistory, human populations have used technologies and engineered ecosystems to sustain populations well beyond the capabilities of unaltered “natural” ecosystems.

Ellis mentions his learning the “classical mathematics of population growth,” only to be confronted by the simple yet overwhelming fact that populations have grown over millenia while increasing the productivity of land. He continues:

I discovered the agricultural economist Ester Boserup, the antidote to the demographer and economist Thomas Malthus and his theory that population growth tends to outrun the food supply. Her theories of population growth as a driver of land productivity explained the data I was gathering in ways that Malthus could never do.

While I am not familiar with Boserup’s work, this article has led me to be intrigued about it. In any event, the article could be well worth your time.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Economics, Environment and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s