- Is Catastrophe Coming?
- The Numbers Game
- The End of the Lode
- The Pollution Panic
- Ecology is a State of Mind
- Man-made Men
- Prosperity is Possible
- What can be done?
The Numbers Game
IN THE literature of doomsday, the growth of the
world's population is the most common theme....
There is no doubt that the population of the world
has recently been growing more quickly than ever before, and
it is evident that growth at this pace cannot continue indefinitely.
The most gloomy prophecies are, however, unwarrantable. Too
often these arguments rely on arithmetic that is misleading
in its simplicity, but in any case there are already signs that
the most rapidly growing populations in the world will in the
next few decades be held in check by natural social forces-
not just the machinery of contraception - which have in the
past century given Western Europe and North America a measure
of demographic stability. The threat of widespread famine can
be taken seriously only by choosing to ignore the evidence now
accumulating that the next few decades are likely to be decades
of plenty, as the Old Testament would say... The pressures of
the growing population of the world on other natural resources
or on the environment will grow, it is true, but there is nothing
to suggest that they will be insupportable. Declarations that
population density will bring political, social, and personal
calamities seem to spring from naive understanding of the nature
of international relations and from dubious analogies between
human and animal populations. The demographic catastrophes which
are prominent in the doomsday movement are unreal threats...