Monday, October 16, 2006

Should Americans worry that there are 300,000,000 of them now?

Don Boudreaux quoting John Tierney's NYT column of October 14:
“Overpopulation” is history’s oldest environmental crisis, and it’s the most instructive for making sense of today’s debates about energy and climate change. It’s a case study of intellectual arrogance, and of the perils of putting too much faith in a “scientific consensus” of experts infatuated with their own forecasts.

Four decades ago, scientists were so determined to prevent famines that they analyzed the feasibility of putting “fertility control agents” in public drinking water. The physicist William Shockley suggested using sterilization to impose a national limit on the number of births.

Planned Parenthood’s policy of relying on voluntary birth control was called a “tragic ideal” by the ecologist Garrett Hardin. Writing in the journal Science, Hardin argued that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” He and others urged America to adopt a “lifeboat ethic” by denying food aid, even during crises, to countries with rapidly growing populations.
Russell Roberts quoting David Henderson in the Wall Street Journal:
In 1968, long before Julian Simon popularized the idea that population growth is good, [2006 Economics Nobel Prize winner] Mr. Phelps made the same argument: The more people there are, the more ideas are developed, and ideas, once developed, can be transferred to others at almost no cost.

UPDATE: Posner and Becker join the debate.

2 Comments:

Blogger DG said...

"And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin." (Quran 17:31)

If our Creator can create us from just one sperm out of millions present in the semen of males, is He not able to provide food for us?

"Shaytan (Satan) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' NEEDS, All-Knower." (Quran 2:268)

7:54 AM  
Blogger uae alias said...

I think yes, USA should fear not because they are 300 millions.
I believe the problem isn't with the number of people but with the distribution of fortune and resources... that for sorry USA is missing up with as the social leveling capitalist syndrome is clearer in USA more than it is anywhere on the globe. there are only 2 clear classes the high and the low... medium class is vanishing! + high class are only few people of the population!
So rather than seeking away to reduce the human growth numebrs I believe we (not only USA) should consider better ways of resources distribution among citizens.
Hatha wallaho walyoo el tawfeeq lol

DG: Very impressive comment!

12:16 PM  

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