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Important Perspectives on “Overpopulation” July 20, 2011

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Politics.
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Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe has just written an excellent piece in which he once again debunks the modern-day Multhusians.  The term, in case the dear reader is unaware, is rooted in Thomas Malthus, the 18th Century doomsayer who was famous for warning everybody who would listen that population growth would eventually outstrip the food supply.  Yet, as Jacoby points out, the world’s population has grown almost sevenfold in the past 200 years, yet people today, on average, have a higher level of education, are better-fed, more productive, and lead more comfortable lives than ever before.

On a micro-level, Jacoby begins the article with the glorious news that David and Victoria Beckham have just welcomed their fourth child into the world.  The news is glorious in that two famous people with very good genetics are passing those good genes on for future generations to enjoy.  Moreover, the Bible, particularly the book of Genesis, teaches us that babies are a blessing.  But the usual, if not insane, voices have criticized the happy couple on the supposed grounds that they are being “environmentally irresponsible.”  The dirty little secret of such critics, though, is that they reject Biblical teachings, and instead espouse an Earth-worshipping paganism, in direct violation of Commandment No. 1.

This is insane on two levels.  Mark Steyn has pointed out that for every “eco-abortion” done in England or Germany, that is just one more kid that people will have in Yemen or Somalia.  Worse yet, those who advocate “eco-abortions” are, in essence, advocating economic stagnation.  Economic growth and population growth are closely linked — indeed, they are practically one and the same.  Given, an increasing population means an increasing amount of people who need jobs in order to make a living.  What fuels job growth is demand for productivity — demand that will never materialize if the population is not big enough to support it.  Is it just me, or do most of these zero-population advocates already have a decent net worth that would insulate them from the reality that many of us have to contend with?  The astutue analyst Michael Barone said it best:

“Now some people say that low population growth is desirable. The argument goes that it reduces environmental damage and prevents the visual blight of sprawl.  But states and nations with slow growth end up with aging populations and not enough people of working age to generate an economy capable of supporting them in the style to which they’ve grown accustomed.  Slow growth is nice if you’ve got a good-sized trust fund and some nice acreage in a place like Aspen. But it reduces opportunity for those who don’t start off with such advantages to move upward on the economic ladder.”

The reason that yours truly refuses to succumb to the “overpopulation” hysteria is that all the empirical evidence tells me that there is no such thing.  Dr. Thomas Sowell said it best:

“The next time someone tries to sell overpopulation hysteria, ask them to name just one country that had a higher standard of living when its population was half of what it is today.”

Kudos to the Beckhams, not only for passing on their good genes, but also for doing their part in helping to raise the world’s standard of living.

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