Avoiding a Malthusian Future

From MasterResource

By Richard W. Fulmer — September 13, 2022

“To the extent that the challenges that the article documents are more real than Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 declaration that ‘The battle to feed all of humanity is over,’ the best response is to ignore the scientists’ solutions.”

In January 2021, Paul and Anne Ehrlich and a host of other famous scientists published the grimly titled article, Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future. The piece appeared in the online journal, Frontiers in Conservation Science, “where,” the masthead informs us, “scientists empower society.”

The heavily footnoted article warns that continued population growth will lead to increased consumption which will, in turn, result in loss of biodiversity leading to a 6th mass extinction, climate change leading to mass migrations, declining child health, water and earth toxification, more pandemics, increased terrorism, war over resources, and greater material inequality.

The authors also warn about carrying capacity “inflation” and “overshoot”:

A central concept in ecology is density feedback — as a population approaches its environmental carrying capacity, average individual fitness declines. This tends to… [slow or reverse] population growth. But for most of history, human ingenuity has inflated the natural environment’s carrying capacity for us by developing new ways to increase food production, expand wildlife exploitation, and enhance the availability of other resources.

This inflation has involved modifying temperature via shelter, clothing, and microclimate control, transporting goods from remote locations, and generally reducing the probability of death or injury through community infrastructure and services. But with the availability of fossil fuels, our species has pushed its consumption of nature’s goods and services much farther beyond long-term carrying capacity (or more precisely, the planet’s biocapacity), making the readjustment from overshoot that is inevitable far more catastrophic if not managed carefully.

Though apparently horrified by the fruits of human ingenuity, the authors seem dimly aware that material wealth is essential for solving the myriad problems they predict, but only insofar as it is required for “political capacity”:

The added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of ecosystem services on which society depends.

Their solution is, of course, less freedom and more government:

The gravity of the situation requires fundamental changes to global capitalism, education, and equality, which include inter alia the abolition of perpetual economic growth, properly pricing externalities, a rapid exit from fossil-fuel use, strict regulation of markets and property acquisition, reigning in [sic] corporate lobbying, and the empowerment of women.

While we are told that government solutions are essential, government focus is sadly misplaced:

Stopping biodiversity loss is nowhere close to the top of any country’s priorities, trailing far behind other concerns such as employment, healthcare, economic growth, or currency stability.

Moreover,

Nations have in general not met the goals of the 5 year-old Paris Agreement (United Nations, 2016), and while global awareness and concern have risen, and scientists have proposed major transformative change (in energy production, pollution reduction, custodianship of nature, food production, economics, population policies, etc.), an effective international response has yet to emerge.

What to do? Scientists (who “empower society”) must step up and get scary:

While there have been more recent calls for the scientific community in particular to be more vocal about their warnings to humanity, these have been insufficiently foreboding to match the scale of the crisis. Given the existence of a human “optimism bias” that triggers some to underestimate the severity of a crisis and ignore expert warnings, a good communication strategy must ideally undercut this bias without inducing disproportionate feelings of fear and despair. It is therefore incumbent on experts in any discipline that deals with the future of the biosphere and human well-being to eschew reticence, avoid sugar-coating the overwhelming challenges ahead and “tell it like it is.”

To the extent that the challenges that the article documents are more real than Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 declaration that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” the best response is to ignore the scientists’ solutions. Instead, I suggest we:

  • Stop attacking free markets. Capitalism fosters growth and prosperity which reduce population growth and foster a cleaner environment.
  • Stop subsidizing “green” power sources. Governments around the world have focused on impractical alternatives to fossil fuels:
    • Biomass powerplants, which are more polluting than coal and which require forests to be clearcut to provide fuel.
    • Wind turbines whose unreliability has increased costs and led homeowners and businesses to install backup generators.
    • Solar farms, which are also unreliable.
    • Biofuels such as corn-based ethanol, which is dirtier than gasoline and which may (depending upon the study) contain less energy than is required to produce it.
  • End cabotage laws (e.g., the Jones Act), which lead to the use of less efficient modes of transportation.
  • End farm subsidies, which result in the loss of forests, the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, the overproduction of goods, and unnecessary CO2 emissions and air pollution. 
  • Allow controlled burns to prevent forests from becoming tinderboxes.
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Rud Istvan
September 13, 2022 10:30 am

You would think a guy so wrong for so long would just go away rather than double down. But nope.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 13, 2022 10:39 am

And so boringly predictable: Socialism and The Experts will solve all these (imaginary) problems.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
September 13, 2022 2:26 pm

“… and scientists have proposed major transformative change (in energy production, pollution reduction, custodianship of nature, food production, economics, population policies, etc.) …” As if “climate scientists” know anything about those topics.

John Garrett
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 13, 2022 10:49 am

Most of the doomcasters are latent dictators and crypto totalitarians.
“Make me your leader and I will save you.”

They are simply incapable of tolerating other people’s freedom and liberty.

Last edited 20 days ago by John Garrett
Old Man Winter
Reply to  John Garrett
September 13, 2022 11:35 am

That extends to those who support them. For politicians, when
activities/products are banned or limited, people contribute to
their campaign & lobby them to change the rules. Powerless
Karens support them so they can control everyone else’s lives,
forcing them to “dance to their tune”. The more hyperbole
doomsters use, the more authoritarian pols & Karens will listen
to them to get the latest “reasons” to dictate to others. It’s
a sad spiral downward!

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 14, 2022 1:46 pm

Well, you ARE referring to people who don’t actually ‘Think’.

Climate believer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 13, 2022 12:39 pm

The “double down”, a common reaction among hysterical two year olds, and lefty political tacticians.

The correct response, in both cases, is to ignore them.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Climate believer
September 14, 2022 1:47 pm

BUT: “prepare for the worst”.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 14, 2022 7:53 am

Rud, the ‘elites’ are working to align a new ‘reality’ to jibe with Ehrlich’s 1968 forecasts. He was dug out of the trash heap of history and given The Royal Society’s highest medal. This is exactly what is being attempted with consensus climate science. Climate science schemes are more difficult to cook up because the weather has it’s own reality. Economics and human endeavors are more controllable. This is Davos’s thrust. The “Great Reset” is already repairing Ehrlich’s failed forecasts

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 14, 2022 1:44 pm

I began one of his books, but as shortly after he dissed Friedman I confirmed where he was going, and clocked out.

DMacKenzie
September 13, 2022 10:38 am

Avoid a Malthusian future by

  1. Teaching a man to fish
  2. Allowing profit motivation in the market place do its job, with some moral control of what is allowed to be marketed.
  3. Avoiding centralized control which will logically be short of checks and balances, and allowing the many minds of the market place to look after the supply chain for the rather minor profit they will add, compared to the large tax and manpower burden government control takes.
Old Man Winter
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 13, 2022 10:58 am

Be careful who you teach to fish!

Demfish0.jpg
KevinM
Reply to  Old Man Winter
September 13, 2022 12:37 pm

And here I was going to make a statement about declining fish stock. Dragnets.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 13, 2022 11:15 am

1) Rule of Law 2) Strong national defense 3) Allowance of free enterprise to create wealth 4) Minimum government 5) Constitutional Republic

Disputin
Reply to  Antigriff
September 13, 2022 11:42 am

Or, possibly, Constitutional Monarchy – after the necessary 500 years or so.

otropogo
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 13, 2022 8:12 pm

“…allowing the many minds of the market place to look after the supply chain for the rather minor profit they will add,…”

Back in 1968, Ferdinand Lundberg raised the alarm in “The Rich and the Super-rich” about the increasing concentration of wealth and power, not in government, but in the richest families of America.

Here in Canada, we are subject to “some of the highest ” mobile communication costs in the world (so high that the mass media simply imply that somewhere in the word they are as high or higher). This is increasing, not diminishing. Canadians do not own their email addresses, the ISPs do, and can (and do) transfer them at their pleasure. The largest Canadian corporations do as they please. The highest government officials will break the law to help them. To buy anything online, or use a bank or communication service we must, not only, blindly ” agree” to ever-changing terms and conditions, but even lie to say we’ve read the documents running several thousand words and understand them. And good luck finding a bank or telecom that doesn’t exact the same abject submission in return for shoddy, unreliable service.

How different is it in the USA or the UK?

“Rather minor profit…” you say?

“In 2020, workers lost $3.7 trillion while billionaires gained $3.9 trillion.46

Kennedy Jr., Robert F. . The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (Children’s Health Defense) (p. 34). Skyhorse. Kindle Edition. “

Last edited 20 days ago by otropogo
DMacKenzie
Reply to  otropogo
September 14, 2022 6:48 am

You seem embittered by those not following rules 1 and 2…

MarkW
Reply to  otropogo
September 14, 2022 8:51 am

Today’s wealth concentration is nothing compared to the 1920’s.

All of the things you are complaining about are problems with government, not with the rich.

I’ve always been fascinated by people who want government to have more power in order to protect them from people they believe to have too much power.

otropogo
Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2022 10:40 pm

“Today’s wealth concentration is nothing compared to the 1920’s.”

Nonsense!

“All of the things you are complaining about are problems with government, not with the rich.”

Government is a myth created and nurtured by the oligarchs to facilitate their continuous quest for ever more control of the world’s population and its resources.

“I’ve always been fascinated by people who want government to have more power in order to protect them from people they believe to have too much power.”

How does pointing out that government is inherently corrupt and consistently acts in the interest of the richest at the expense of the majority constitute wanting government to have more power?

The fundamental issue is that our democracy is founded on deceit. Access to information is a farce. Justice, law enforcement, and the court system are a sad hoax. Our news media are propaganda machines, pure and simple.

And it’s not because people don’t know this, it’s because the majority of the population want to be deceived. They elect and support the politicians and “civil” servants that best spout the lies they want to hear. And those ‘leaders’ are pre-selected and controlled by the super-rich.

That wasn’t a life and death issue for humanity before the age of nuclear ballistic missiles, nuclear power plants, and biological and chemical weapons. But now it is. Humanity desperately needs honest, courageous, credible leaders, but it’s been well-trained to follow sociopaths instead.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 14, 2022 1:49 pm

Great! Thank you.

Ronald Havelock
September 13, 2022 10:47 am

There is nothing wrong with CO2 emissions, period. That is my only objection to the author’s list of comments.The only known consequence of such emissions is improved food production. All other emission scenarios are unproven theories, including the “greenhouse” theory. Theories unsupported by empirical evidence deserve no place in science as contributors to human knowledge.

Steve Case
Reply to  Ronald Havelock
September 13, 2022 11:14 am

There is nothing wrong with CO2 emissions… The only known consequence of such emissions is improved food production. All other emission scenarios are unproven theories, including the “greenhouse” theory.
_________________________________________________

Is the degree of warming since 1850 partially caused by the increase in CO2? It’s really difficult to say how much if any. In any case a slightly warming world does not constitute the claim of an existential crisis of our time.



Mr.
Reply to  Steve Case
September 13, 2022 12:06 pm

An objective assessment of any purported warming up of climatic conditions across all the hundreds (thousands?) of climates around the world would firstly consider the visible, physical effects of significant anthropogenic activities on occupied and unoccupied landscapes –

  • broadscale clearing of vegetation
  • urban architectural developments & infrastructure

Iirc, when the rural-only recorded temperatures across North America are examined (ie absent the concentrated urban areas), there is no noticeable increase in ambient temperatures over these past 60 years or so.

KevinM
Reply to  Steve Case
September 13, 2022 12:39 pm

“Existential crisis” for who/what?
I keep being told that something might stop existing.

H.R.
Reply to  KevinM
September 14, 2022 7:04 pm

Your bank account

Green ain’t cheap and it takes a lot of Other People’s Money.

Guess what? We’re the “other people”.

Steve Case
Reply to  H.R.
September 15, 2022 12:42 am

Your bank account
_______________

First chuckle of my day (-:

Tom Halla
September 13, 2022 10:51 am

I would have thought Ehrlich could have done some research into why he was so wrong 54 years ago, but it is SSDD—Same Sh#t, Different Day.

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 13, 2022 12:06 pm

He didn’t think about it then.
He isn’t thinking about it now.
He hasn’t thought about anything in between.

Kemaris
Reply to  MarkW
September 13, 2022 12:16 pm

Yep. Paul Ehrlich is racist all the way down.

another ian
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 13, 2022 3:03 pm

There is that saying that there is a vast difference between the experience of a span of years and the experience of one year repeated the number of times in that span.

I guess we are seeing the result here of one year’s experience repeated 54 times?

Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 13, 2022 10:59 am

The article was published in January, 2021. Must have been earthshaking, and reached a wide audience, yet is the first I’ve heard of it. Maybe a nothingburger.

Duane
September 13, 2022 11:18 am

So humans adapting to the natural world is now called “inflation”? Mighty neat trick there. Ain’t propaganda grand? Turn a phenomenal biologic strength into a dodgy failing using just a word.

MarkW
September 13, 2022 12:01 pm

According to Ehrlich none of us should even be here, so why should we care what he thinks our non-existent future holds?

H.R.
Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2022 7:10 pm

I find it hard to stay motivated when I’ve been dead since 1985. But a couple of cups of coffee and I’m good to go for another day.

P.S. One of the perks of being dead is I get to vote Democrat in every election.

Peta of Newark
September 13, 2022 12:02 pm

Quote:”Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future.”

Sixteen authors producing a huuuuge scattergun of calamities;

  • a 6th mass extinction,
  • climate change
  • mass migrations,
  • declining child health,
  • water and earth toxification,
  • more pandemics,
  • increased terrorism,
  • war over resources,
  • and greater material inequality.

And They Still Missed The Mark

There’s only one thing we need to worry about (not on that list) = a thing that has taken down every previous attempt at Settled Civilisation

And nobody wants to know – so who are The Deniers?
this is not looking good

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 13, 2022 1:12 pm

Taxation?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
September 14, 2022 9:42 am

Government. Or more specifically, corrupt totalitarian government.

H.R.
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 14, 2022 7:25 pm

Bureaucracy. It eventually grows to consume the entire society.

The one at the top only thinks they are running things.

John the Econ
September 13, 2022 12:08 pm

Nobody trashes the environment more than poor people.

I’ve long argued that the Progressive agenda against middle class wealth would be a disaster for the environment. The environmental movement did not gain traction until the vast majority of citizens had achieved comfort levels well up the Maslow curve. People striving just for food, clothing & shelter do not have the spare bandwidth to worry about issues beyond their own survival. Eastern Europe is largely a toxic waste dump, because communist economies could barely feed its own people, much less be worried about the environment.

Free markets are what made this level of affluence possible, as well as the resources to clean up our messes. Destroying those markets will create a horror far worse than the one we’ve spent the last half century cleaning up.

Felix
Reply to  John the Econ
September 13, 2022 12:44 pm

I read somewhere a couple of estimates about how much regulatory excess has suffocated US GDP growth since WW II. One said 2% a year, one said 1.3%. It is impossible to realistically estimate how much better the entire would would be if GDP right now were 2-3 times per capita reality. Aside from just the increased wealth, past innovations would have happened sooner, unknown innovations would be in progress. Orbital vacations would be affordable to the middle class, moon vacations for the rich, and there might even be good enough battery technology to allow financially feasible solar and wind power.

These green fools are murdering more people than the 100 million murdered by Stalin, Hitler, and Mao last century.

KevinM
Reply to  Felix
September 13, 2022 1:08 pm

regulatory excess” depends how close you live to the runoff.

Gunga Din
Reply to  KevinM
September 13, 2022 2:50 pm

No. It depends on whether what is being regulated and level the regulation sets as it’s MCL is an actual threat.

MarkW
Reply to  KevinM
September 14, 2022 8:58 am

Are you actually arguing that most regulations are necessary?

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Felix
September 13, 2022 1:17 pm

That is their malicious, malignant, malevolent and mendacious intent.

Last edited 20 days ago by Robert of Ottawa
KevinM
Reply to  John the Econ
September 13, 2022 1:04 pm

Maslow. Yuch.

“Maslow’s biographical analysis focused on a biased sample of self-actualized individuals, prominently limited to highly educated white males (such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, William James, Aldous Huxley, Beethoven).

Although Maslow (1970) did study self-actualized females, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Teresa, they comprised a small proportion of his sample. This makes it difficult to generalize his theory to females and individuals from lower social classes or different ethnicity. Thus questioning the population validity of Maslow’s findings.

Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to empirically test Maslow’s concept of self-actualization in a way that causal relationships can be established.”

KevinM
Reply to  KevinM
September 13, 2022 1:06 pm

Author reflects weird pattern of saying stop treating people the same, because they are not different.

Dave Fair
Reply to  KevinM
September 13, 2022 2:32 pm

Just compare Western environmental concerns to those of the Third World.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  John the Econ
September 13, 2022 1:14 pm

You’re forgetting that is the purpose of the modern enviro-mentalist – AKA Watermelon. They are all socialists who think they know better and should control the world. Greenery is just an excuse.

Last edited 20 days ago by Robert of Ottawa
KevinM
September 13, 2022 12:22 pm

Earl is expected to complete the transition to a powerful extratropical storm by Saturday afternoon, leaving the Atlantic devoid of named storms – or even a tropical depression – on what has historically been the busiest day of the season, September 10.

News keeps making it difficult to feel scared.

Philip CM
September 13, 2022 12:22 pm

I’ve had my fill of these haters that want to decimate the human population as a means to preserve their idealized world view.

commieBob
September 13, 2022 12:23 pm

There is no shortage of articles showing why Malthus was wrong. link

Malthus’ predictions have proven wrong for almost two hundred years. Why are there still people who proudly declare that they are Malthusians? Probably the same reason some university profs are willing to proudly declare that they are Marxists.

MarkW
Reply to  commieBob
September 13, 2022 12:57 pm

According to his followers, Malthus is a lot like Marx.
One of these he’s going to be right.

KevinM
Reply to  commieBob
September 13, 2022 1:18 pm

One of the links…

“In 2017, the United States saw the fewest babies born in 30 years, a stat that produced a lot of hand-wringing.

But it turns out things could be worse — a lot worse. We could be Japan, whose unfolding demographic crisis provides some lessons for where America might be headed.

According to a new report from the Japanese government, Japanese women had 921,000 babies in 2018. That’s the fewest births since comparable records began in 1899 — when the country’s population was a third its current size.”

DavidC
Reply to  KevinM
September 15, 2022 1:58 pm

I am not someone who believes the world is over populated, but I have not heard a good reason why a shrinking population is a terrible thing. Yes the ponzi scheme of government taxation, benefits, and endless debt would collapse, but those aren’t things I support anyway. A new view and methodology of economic and government operation would be forced to be developed in order to support a flat growth or even reduction society. And just because there is a trend of declining population is going on for 30 years, doesn’t mean a generation or two of bunnies couldn’t recover positive growth. Quickly reducing the world population back 100 years would be disastrous. Doing it over a 50 year period isn’t.

Roger
Reply to  commieBob
September 13, 2022 1:32 pm

Is the planet’s capacity infinite?

M Courtney
Reply to  Roger
September 13, 2022 2:21 pm

The planet’s capacity is the physical resources multiplied by imagination.
Is imagination infinite?
No reason to think it isn’t.

HotScot
Reply to  Roger
September 13, 2022 5:20 pm

Obviously not, but leave the matter to the symbiosis between mankind and the planet and the limits will be found.

We are, after all, children of Mother Nature, and she operates on the principle of survival of the fittest, not socialism.

MarkW
Reply to  Roger
September 14, 2022 9:02 am

Probably not. But we are so far away from any limits on capacity that it’s a fools errand to worry about them now.

Felix
September 13, 2022 12:34 pm

“In January 2021, Paul and Anne Ehrlich and a host of other famous scientists published the grimly titled article, Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future.”

Look at Mr and Mrs Rip van Winkle there. I guess we underestimated their durability as much as they misunderestimated reality.

KevinM
Reply to  Felix
September 13, 2022 12:44 pm

No retirement plan – like C-list celebs on cooking shows.

son of mulder
September 13, 2022 1:26 pm

Living as long as Erlich is clearly filling up the planet. By his own predictions he should have died of hunger 40 years ago.

Bob
September 13, 2022 1:38 pm

Paul Ehrlich is a used up old piece if trash. He was wrong in the past and he blames that on the human ability to adapt but now he claims we have basically used up our useful adaptations and we are worse off for it. It is worse than we thought. Only wise professionals like him and his wife can save us knuckle dragging troglodytes. He can take a hike, take his wife with him. Yet another feeble attempt to show that he is right and it is a matter of conjuring up a proper message to prove it. Yet another crackpot.

markl
September 13, 2022 1:54 pm

It’s always what you must do not what I will do to support their beliefs.

dodgy geezer
September 13, 2022 1:58 pm

All of these good ideas are totally pointless, because the problem is NOT that the politicians don’t know what to do.

The problem is that activists have taken over and intend to run the entire world down. Every time a failure of their ideas results in disaster they will double down, insist on more of the same, and censor all disagreement.

The problem is with the opressive political system. And you won’t change that by pointing out the mistakes it is making…

rocdoctom
September 13, 2022 2:14 pm

I read Ehrlich when I was an undergrad (1969) because that was the thing to do. Thought it was bunk then and still do. Spent a career in the natural resource industry proving him wrong.

H. D. Hoese
September 13, 2022 3:09 pm

Before the Anthropocene I taught introductory ecology for over a decade so obviously am out of date. Preliminary check doesn’t impress, human population has an important effect but pushing advocacy so much with their proposed answers seems counter-productive. They are relying heavily on the IPCC and NRC reports. Density-feedback seems new to ecology and I could have missed it and one below is not OA; however, didn’t find any evidence of mentioned “classical” density dependence analyses which have been around along with density independence attention and assumptions for at least over half a century. This model claimed no need to confirm theory with observations, but seems a useful discussion. (Royama, T. 1977. Population persistence and density independence. Ecological Monographs.47:1-35.    https://doi.org/10.2307/1942222)

From the paper–“A central concept in ecology is density feedback (Herrando-Pérez et al., 2012)—as a population approaches its environmental carrying capacity, average individual fitness declines (Brook and Bradshaw, 2006). This tends to push populations toward an instantaneous expression of carrying capacity that slows or reverses population growth……We have summarized predictions of a ghastly future of mass extinction…..While there have been more recent calls for the scientific community in particular to be more vocal about their warnings to humanity (Ripple et al., 2017; Cavicchioli et al., 2019; Gardner and Wordley, 2019), these have been insufficiently foreboding to match the scale of the crisis.”

From Herrando-Pérez et al., 2012, open access (https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz004) abstract– “We found that the tone of the IPCC’s probabilistic language is remarkably conservative…”

From Brook and Bradshaw abstract (https://doi.org/10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87%5B1445:SOEFDD%5D2.0.CO;2) “Here we used multi-model inference (MMI), a form of model averaging, based on information theory (Akaike’s Information Criterion) to evaluate the relative strength of evidence for density-dependent and density-independent population dynamical models in long-term abundance time series of 1198 species.”

I know a fair amount about density dependence in the ocean, not so much otherwise. For the 2021 Texas freeze haven’t seen a report yet, but in 1940 it reduced the commercial fish catch over 90%. (Gunter, G. 1941. Death of fishes due to cold on the Texas coast, January, 1940. Ecology. 22(2):203-208.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1932218 

This recent issue of Ecology is all open access. https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15577015/2022/92/1

September 13, 2022 3:36 pm

Whenever governments tackle what they see as a ‘problem’ they invariably do the worst possible thing and make the lives of everyone in their population much worse.

Plebney
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
September 13, 2022 5:37 pm

It is relatively easy to prove that any centralized control must of necessity be counterproductive by virtue of the control alone, regardless of the intent.

roaddog
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
September 14, 2022 5:00 pm

Every major environmental crisis is a result of government policy.

JBP
September 13, 2022 3:43 pm

Ehrlich accomplished the goal: Provide a document that liberals, anti-progressives, greenies, and Marxists can use to justify more money, more power, more government. It also fuels the pork barrel of green industries. The document will be used. It has value. Refutations of it will never see the light of day, such as your protestations here.

So, what to do? Can Anthony get any politicians in the world to use what’s here? We are a lobby, we just need a foot in the right door.

Don Schwartz
September 13, 2022 3:44 pm

Great new book on the subject

Superabundance

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952223393?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

“Generations of people have been taught that population growth makes resources scarcer. In 2021, for example, one widely publicized report argued, “The world’s rapidly growing population is consuming the planet’s natural resources at an alarming rate . . . the world currently needs 1.6 Earths to satisfy the demand for natural resources . . . [a figure that] could rise to 2 planets by 2030.” But is that true?
After analyzing the prices of hundreds of commodities, goods, and services spanning two centuries, Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley found that resources became more abundant as the population grew. That was especially true when they looked at “time prices,” which represent the length of time that people must work to buy something.
To their surprise, the authors also found that resource abundance increased faster than the population―a relationship that they call “superabundance.” On average, every additional human being created more value than he or she consumed. This relationship between population growth and abundance is deeply counterintuitive, yet it is true.
Why? More people produce more ideas, which lead to more inventions. People then test those inventions in the marketplace to separate the useful from the useless. At the end of that process of discovery, people are left with innovations that overcome shortages, spur economic growth, and raise standards of living.
But large populations are not enough to sustain superabundance―just think of the poverty in China and India before their respective economic reforms. To innovate, people must be allowed to think, speak, publish, associate, and disagree. They must be allowed to save, invest, trade, and profit. In a word, they must be free.”

Last edited 20 days ago by Don Schwartz
Plebney
Reply to  Don Schwartz
September 13, 2022 5:40 pm

It is relatively easy to show that abundance depends on freedom.

Michael in Dublin
September 13, 2022 4:12 pm

Those who get drunk on government will end up with one hell of a hangover.

Simonsays
September 13, 2022 4:34 pm

Malthusians may actally get what they want but the irony is it will be obsession with climate change and decarbonisation that will be the cause.

If you have not watched this seminar from Associate Research Professor Simon Michaux from the Geological Survey of Finland  you should.

https://youtu.be/MBVmnKuBocc

As much as he tried to put a positive spin that we can find a solution, you came away with the feeling he and everyone in his audience knew that Electrification is never going to happen.

Here the total metals required for one generation of technology to phase out fossil fuels is listed by Required Production followed by Known Reserves for all metals based upon tonnes, as follows:

Copper 4,575,523,674 vs. 880,000,000 – a serious shortfall -reserves only cover 20% of requirements.

Zinc 35,704,918 vs. 250,000,000 – adequate reserves.

Manganese 227,889,504 vs 1,500,000,000 – adequate reserves

Nickel 940,578,114 vs. 95,000,000 – huge shortfall – reserves 10% of requirements.

Lithium 944,150,293 vs. 95,000,000 = huge shortfall – reserves 10% of requirements.

Cobalt 218,396,990 vs. 7,600,000 – huge shortfall – reserves 3.48% of requirements.

Graphite 8,973,640,257 vs. 320,000,000 = huge shortfall – 3.57% reserves of requirements.

Silicon (metallurgical) 49,571,460 – adequate reserves

Silver 145,579 vs. 530,000 – adequate reserves

Vanadium 681,865,986 vs. 24,000,000= huge shortfall -3.52% reserves of requirement

Zirconium 2,614,126 vs.70, 000,000 – adequate reserves.

Besides the obvious this list does make a very good basis for an investment strategy

Clyde Spencer
September 13, 2022 4:52 pm

There is an important difference between 1968 and 2022. In 1968 the free market was still free to innovate to solve social problems.

Today, we have California outlawing small 4-cycle engines, replacing nuclear reactors and fossil fuel electricity generation with unreliable solar and wind unsustainable sources. California has dictated the phase-out of internal combustion powered vehicles by 2030, without any real plans to massively electrify the state to support EVs.

Biden shut down the pipeline construction from Canada, cancelled scheduled drilling leases on federal lands and the Gulf, and is meeting the short-term petroleum needs by depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

In other words, the current liberal administrations are making it almost impossible to innovate technological solutions to problems, which has been the primary reason that Malthusian predictions have failed to come true.

Without changing the reins of power, it probably is not a safe bet that we will continue to innovate ourselves out of the constraints of Malthusism. Which may be part of the plan of liberals.

Marty Cornell
September 13, 2022 7:08 pm

What’s are “unnecessary CO2 emissions”? The biosphere craves more CO2 and is thriving with higher levels of this gas of life.

Gerry, England
September 15, 2022 5:13 am

I disagree with ending farm subsidies as contrary to the lies in the linked Guardian UN propaganda piece, they can be used to benefit the environment. It is entirely reasonable for a farmer to farm to maximise his income. So maintaining hedgerows costs him space and time. This can be offset by a subsidy to farm less efficiently.

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