It’s too bad people still talk about rising global population as if it’s a problem. It’s not and history has clearly made that assertion true*. The reviewer himself suggests just the piece of history to which I’m referring – that the world population has quadrupled in last century – even though he seems to refuse to acknowledge the attendant prosperity. By any useful measure – life expectancy, quality of life, wealth, … – anybody born today, into a world with four times more people than existed a century ago, is better off than if they had been born a century ago.
The reviewer (link above), while apparently sympathetic to my point (that technology saves and that people drive technology), still comes to the same wrong conclusion that all environmental, tree-hugging types do:
Such changes make Weisman’s determination to figure out the world’s carrying capacity somewhat futile. He says early on, “This will likely be the century that determines what the optimum human population is for our planet.” Poppycock. There is no such number. When we were hunter-gatherers, we maxed out at perhaps 1 million. Farming got us to 1 billion or so. Now we have industrialization, a revolution still in progress.
Weisman is probably right to say that, at 7 billion people, we have overshot for now.
“Overshot”… huh? Just above the reviewer says “there is no such number”. But apparently, deep down, he does think there is a number and apparently that the number is <7 billion. There is no rational reason to make such an assertion and there are plenty of reasons not to (in fact, some of those reasons the reviewer himself states in the full paragraph quoted above).
Are resources dwindling? No. There is more oil, more gas, more food, more iPads, more cars, more affordable airplane tickets, more everything. There is one resource that is expanding, but not nearly fast enough: people. People are the ultimate resource. We need more people, not fewer.
* – the reviewer himself points us to one example:
Ehrlich’s doomsday prediction of billions starving in the 1980s failed to spot that the green revolution would double world food production in the final 30 years of the 20th century.