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Should We Panic About Overpopulation?

You’re in a conversation and someone says, “The earth is overpopulated. At this rate, we’re going to run out of food and resources.”

What would you say?

Panic-stories like this get a lot of attention, but none of Ehrlich’s doomsday predictions came true. No worldwide famine. No catastrophic scarcity of resources. In fact, Ehrlich’s models have been repeatedly debunked.

Nevertheless, the idea that the population is booming at an unsustainable rate still holds the public’s imagination.

So the next time someone says that the earth is overpopulated and we’re all about to starve, remember these three things:

First, there’s plenty of food and natural resources to go around.

Second, the population is not locked into a pattern of exponential growth.

Third, there are actually too few people on earth to sustain countries’ economies and the global standard of living.

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Sources and further reading:

For more on yearly food production and distribution, see: https://foodfirst.org/publication/we-already-grow-enough-food-for-10-billion-people-and-still-cant-end-hunger/

For more on Japan’s prisons serving as havens for their elderly women, see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-03-16/japan-s-prisons-are-a-haven-for-elderly-women

For more on the tax cut for mothers in Hungary, see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/hungary-is-so-desperate-for-kids-mothers-of-four-wont-pay-income-tax/2019/02/11/04701764-2e01-11e9-ac6c-14eea99d5e24_story.html

For more on China’s population control policies, see: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/02/china-population-control-two-child-policy

For more on China’s economic situation resulting from their population control efforts, see: https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/10/31/chinas-median-age-will-soon-overtake-americas

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