What others are saying
Population and poverty are not inextricably linked
According to demographers Joyce Burnette and Joel Mokyr, as humanity’s numbers have grown, our average standard of living has grown as well. These scientists wrote a paper entitled “The Standard of Living Through the Ages,” found in the book The State of Humanity. In it, they point out that every single statistic that we have on this subject points to one simple truth: that as population has grown over time, the average person has become better off.
They measured this in almost every way imaginable. Burnette and Mokyr have graphs showing rising per capita income. They have graphs showing average life expectancy, average height, caloric consumption, sugar consumption, cotton consumption, even beer consumption! Every single one of these averages has been steadily increasing over time as the population has grown.
This is in direct contradiction to overpopulation alarmists, who hold that as population increases poverty becomes more severe. They claim that this is simple common sense. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, science actually shows the opposite. As population grows, productivity and innovation grow, which means that more and more people have access to the goods and services that they need.
The implicit racism of Malthusianism
Now, the theory of Thomas Malthus has been used as the scientific justification for anti-human policies from his own time down to the present. But is it true? On the surface, the idea that the more people there are, the less there will be to go around appears to make sense. It therefore follows that if we get rid of some people (especially those we don’t like, anyway), we’ll all be better off. Thus, those interested in eliminating Indians, Irish, Jews, Slavs, Africans, or whomever have been able to argue that their policies, while harsh, are simply necessary to make the world a better place.
– Robert Zubrin, “Welcome, Child Seven Billion,”
National Review Online, Nov. 1.
The arrival of the 7 billionth child
United Nations officials chose Halloween as the milestone birthday despite demographers stating that it is impossible to know the arrival of the 7 billionth person. And it is unclear if they intended to emphasis this on the “scariest” day of the year. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the world’s population won’t reach 7 billion until March of 2012. Other scholars calculate November 2012 and even into 2013 or 2014, since population growth rates are falling in nearly every country.
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Nov. 4