Another for the ‘I Miss Julian Simon’ File

by Don Boudreaux on May 21, 2011

in Complexity & Emergence, Myths and Fallacies, Population

Here’s a letter to the Los Angeles Times:

I write this letter mere hours before – if the prediction of a small sect of Christians is correct – the world will end.  Many people around the country recently have enjoyed a good laugh when reading accounts of the gullible faithful few who believe this prediction that the world will end later today: after all, evidence for this prediction is utterly lacking.

Yet letter writers in today’s (final?) edition of your paper are as certain that the world will soon crash and burn because of population growth as the May 21st doomsters are certain that the world will crash and burn because of Biblical prophesy.  And just as for the prediction of the world ending on May 21, 2011, evidence for population growth causing a catastrophe for humanity is utterly lacking.

Are humans today who live on densely populated continents (such as Europe) poorer, less healthy, and suffering shorter life-expectancies than are humans today who live on sparsely populated continents (such as Africa)?  No; quite the opposite.  Are humans today who live in densely populated urban areas generally poorer, less healthy, and suffering shorter life-expectancies than are humans today who live in sparsely populated rural areas?  No; quite the opposite.  Has human wealth, health, and life-expectancy worsened as population grew dramatically over the past two centuries?  No; these have improved dramatically.

So in light of this overwhelming evidence that growing population and greater population densities are positively associated with improvements in the human condition, why suppose that growing population nevertheless is a “bomb” destined to explode and hurl us into hell for our sinful refusal to follow the teachings of wild-eyed preachers such as Paul Ehrlich and Lester Brown?  Theirs is a fact-immune religious creed that I thoroughly reject.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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{ 84 comments }

Anotherphil May 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Right, just like it ended with his prior prediction in 1994.

Harold Camping is a reminder of the Bard’s injunction that the devil can quote Scripture to his own end. People that believe him may call themselves “Christian”, but are actually a small group of millenarians that adhere to a rather recent (1800′s?) concept known as “dispensationationalism”.

There’s absolutely no difference between a preacher (I use the lower case on purpose) holding a Bible (on the radio or TV) and telling his followers he knows the day and the hour and some economist telling us he’s calculated “the multiplier” to three digits or some guy with a chart telling us he knows the price of a stock in 90 days.

But, like Krugman, Camping will still have followers when nothing he predicts comes true.

Dan May 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

He will retort with a miscalculation on population size for end of world, like Krugman has called for larger and larger amounts of ‘stimulus’ for his prediction of prosperity to occur.

Mesa Econoguy May 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Imagine all the reconstruction if today is “the last day ever. Ever ever.” What a stimulus opportunity….

Don Boudreaux May 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

:-)

Dan May 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hahahahahaha!

Methinks1776 May 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

:)

vidyohs May 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I wonder how many people will have to die, and the remainder distributed across the lands, to eliminate the cycles of El Nino and El Nina, or to stop the Jet Streams, or to stop the wandering of the magnetic poles, or to shield the Earth from the effects of sun-spots……….when someone (muirduck) figures that out and comes up with an answer I can be found on my deck reading a novel and sipping some manipulated grapejuice, kill me there.

Thank you very much.

vidyohs May 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Apologies to the hosts, but as I made a jab at the muirduck (ducktor) above regarding his pet bogie man, I thought in view of the general tone of this post I could add this and make a tangent point.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wait-why-did-this-kid-have-his-leg-reattached-backwards/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110519/hl_nm/us_paralysis_treatment

muirduck, and other detractors of the level of medical service available here in the USA; please note that the two operations above were done here in America, not in England, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Cuba, or Russia.

We do pretty damn good for a nation that is slandered as being low down the totem pole in terms of the quality of medical service, eh muirduck?

Methinks1776 May 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I notice people who fear the “hideous” effects of population growth are never the ones who volunteer to remove themselves from the planet or even refrain from reproducing. I’ve always found that interesting. Maybe it’s fear of other populations growing – populations not like themselves. If that’s the case (and evidence suggests it is), then this is another matter entirely.

Justin P May 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I agree. I always tell the AGW alarmists, if they are so worried why are they burning carbon so they can surf the internet?

brotio May 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Cardinal Torquemuirduck of The Church of AGW (led by His Holiness: The Divine Prophet Algore I) has always said, “you guys are spewing too much carbon”.

Carbon spewed by True Believers in The Church does no harm to Mother Gaia.

kyle8 May 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

There has always been a very large amount of blatant racism connected with the population control movement, going back to Margaret Sanger and even before.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 2:13 am

Even the very liberal Justice Ginsberg worried about the effects of unfettered abortions, especially on minorities.

Economiser May 22, 2011 at 10:32 am

Agreed. Those most concerned about population growth inevitably worry about its effects on their children and grandchildren. Contradictory much?

vidyohs May 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Apologies to the hosts, but as I made a jab at the muirduck (ducktor) above regarding his pet bogie man, I thought in view of the general tone of this post I could add this and make a tangent point.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wait-why-did-this-kid-have-his-leg-reattached-backwards/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110519/hl_nm/us_paralysis_treatment

muirduck, and other detractors of the level of medical service available here in the USA; please note that the two operations above were done here in America, not in England, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Cuba, or Russia.

We do pretty good for a nation that is slandered as being low down the totem pole in terms of the quality of medical service, eh muirduck?

Stephen Reed May 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

There is some population level where the consequences of such a level would be clearly negative. There are physical constraints at some point whereby the resources to nourish and sustain such a population are going to be extremely costly, whereby large numbers will be unable to afford it.

There difference between you and the doomsayers is merely a dispute on what that number is. Rather than call them names, why don’t you post your analysis that the number is much higher than 7 or 10 billion (the predicted population in 50 years) before we reach the above scenario?

Don Boudreaux May 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm

How do you know that, Stephen? I dispute your claim – or, rather, I dispute the claim that we must worry about human population levels. They will take care of themselves.

Stephen Reed May 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Here are my claims, which, if any do you disagree with?

1. At any given state of knowledge/technological development at a specific point in time with the current amount of possible available natural resources that can be used/extracted, there is a population of X that is capable of being kept nourished and use enough resources to maintain what we would all consider a basic acceptable life (food, shelter, fresh water to drink and associated energy use for daily living). One such constraint would be number of calories of food that can be produced per year. The daily minimum consumption to survive is something around 1,700 calories per day per person. Therefore, at a minimum, the upper limit to X would be the total number of calories that can be produced daily given all available farming techniques on all possible land that can be used to grown food, divided by 1,700.

2. If, at that given point in time, actual population P > X, then there will not be enough resources available for, at the very least, the difference between P and X. This difference will therefore suffer and likely live a short life (whether it be through starvation or malnourishment, etc.) Such an outcome is not a desirable one.

You state that “population levels take care of themselves”. Since I assume you don’t include a Malthusian catastrophe here, do you believe people will voluntarily choose to have less children in a scenario where P is approaching X? Or did you mean something else? If you mean the former, can you elaborate? If you mean something else, what else allows population levels to take are of themselves?

We have also had episodes in history where population levels were not able to be sustained. The society that once lived on Easter Island is one example among several where the “ultimate resource” was unable to prevent a catastrophe that was related to too big of a population for the state of technological development at the time.

Additionally, it is certainly possible that we will not be able to develop cost effective substitutes to fossil fuels for all uses because the problem may be extremely complex. Because modern agriculture and global food distribution depends so heavily on cheap and abundant fossil fuels, we could certainly run into serious issues once peak oil does happen if we have not developed an effective alternative by then. Peak oil already occurred in the U.S. in the late 70′s, which the entrepreneurial culture and most technologically developed society was not able to prevent. There is no reason to believe that peak oil on a global scale is not going to happen sooner than a few decades.

Ken May 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Stephen,

“Since I assume you don’t include a Malthusian catastrophe here, do you believe people will voluntarily choose to have less children in a scenario where P is approaching X?”

This is tautologically true Stephen, when you allow markets to work. The price of the resources needed to maintain a population of X is essentially infinite because there aren’t enough resources to sustain a population of X, therefore as more and more resources are consumed (as P gets closer to X), the price of those resources increase. People respond by consuming less, including having fewer kids. Malthusian catastrophes can NEVER happen in free markets because both consumers and producers respond to a changing environment.

The problem with your entire comment is that you think you know ahead of time how many resources are available and what they’ll be used for (of course this is complete hogwash), so think you are capable of computing X. Your example of Easter Island is also a myth perpetuated by people like Paul Ehrlich who need the Malthusian catastrophe myth to be kept alive. You should keep in mind that you do NOT know what resources are available. The oil you have your panties in a twist over was considered a nuisance to farmers and other industries 150 years ago. Today it forms that back bone of our global economy. Not even having the humility to recognize that there are unknown unknowns that turn into black swan events like turning a nuisance into the back bone of an economy is what I find so amazing about people like you. You think you’ve got it all figured out ahead of time and don’t even consider that the knowledge that you have in your head is nothing compared to the cumulative knowledge of 6,000,000,000 people.

“Peak oil already occurred in the U.S. in the late 70′s”

Funny then that we have more oil available today than in the 70′s. Additionally, your entire argument is based on the false assumption that prices will NOT rise as demand outstrips production. If you don’t understand that the current increase in the price of gasoline doesn’t reflect that reality, to what do you attribute the increase in gasoline prices? No resources will be completely consumed because that last little bit will cost to much to use. I bet you don’t even know that we use fossil fuel oil today because of the spike in whale oil prices that occurred over 100 years ago. You seem to think people won’t adjust and base this on fantasy rather than coldly observing the world around you. People adjust and adjust quickly.

“There is no reason to believe that peak oil on a global scale is not going to happen sooner than a few decades.”

There is plenty of reason: when I was in grade school in the early 80′s I was told the world would run out of oil (by people like you) by 1990. Didn’t happen. Not to worry, by 2000 there won’t be enough oil. Guess what: it’s 2010 and there’s plenty of oil. The panic over oil using the same flawed logic you are using has been going on at least since the late 1920′s. The reason to believe that we won’t run out of oil is because all the fools using unsound logic, like what you’re using, has been shown to be wrong for almost 100 years.

Regards,
Ken

Dan May 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Entire argument is based on assumptions. It is fallacious to even assume the catastrophic population of over 10billion would be reached. We barely even use a fraction of available land on planet earth at 6billion plus people and we are to believe double the population is unsustainable?

Pasty White May 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Stephen,

Your scenario seems to neglect the fact that we have genetically modified foods, where the amount of time to ripen is less, and has the potential of creating crops that can adapt to harsh climates. And thus increasing the worlds food supply.

Victor May 26, 2011 at 5:46 am

A person is a net problem solver, therefor, any problem we have will be solved sooner with more, than with less people. Food, energy, water, diseases, we will solve the problems better with more than with less.
The limits of this Earth are solely in your head, bounded by the current paradigm, they are not and never will be absolute.

We have caves here in the Netherlands, a hundred feet deep, miles long, they were dug in the Stone Age by people looking for what they thought was their fundamental resource: flint.
They might be scared that once their precious resource could not be found anymore and their society would collapse.

Each year more energy from the sun falls on planet Earth than all the reserves of fossil fuels and uranium combined. A bath tub of water is enough to power the world economy for a year with cold fusion.

You are the modern day Cave man unable to see the solutions of tomorrow for the problems of today.

muirgeo May 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

“They will take care of themselves.”
Don

As you asked Stephen…” How do you know? ” And maybe a little bit more frightening … How will they take care of themselves? They will “take care of themselves” sound exactly like the scenario some of us are hoping to avoid.

Marcus May 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

“They will “take care of themselves” sound exactly like the scenario some of us are hoping to avoid.”

Oops, an accidental moment of honesty by muirgeo.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 2:15 am

Sounds like muirgeo fears independence of the individual.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 3:16 am

I think the “they” refers to population levels NOT individuals in the context of Don’s post. They…population levels… will take care of themselves…. again… how?

Anotherphil May 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I take it you aren’t the drop complaining its not part of the flood, right former Mayor of Harrisburg, Pa?

Gil May 22, 2011 at 1:33 am

Isn’t the problem when talking world population – humans across the world are not homogeneous groups. While the West was growing throughout the latter half of the 20th century other parts of the world were starving to death. Millions have indeed died from poverty over the past fifty years while Westerners have been getting fatter. So, actually yes some countries did hit their Malthusian limit and saw famine and death. T’is interesting that the “That 70′s show” is romantically set in the same time period as China’s Cultural Revolution.

SaulOhio May 22, 2011 at 7:48 am

Notice that the starvation in China happened not because of population, but because the communist government destroyed the country’s agricultural economy.

Gil May 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Gee is high prices caused by money printing or loss of good and services? Does it matter whether population outstripped food production or food production was forcefully stopped or slowed down? Either the population is now higher than its capacity to feed itself.

SaulOhio May 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

And how would an Austrian economist calculate such a number, even if he believed there was one? Hayek warned that trying to do such calculations was a “Fatal Conceit”.

Frank33328 May 22, 2011 at 8:43 am

Stephen, do you share your overpopulation concern for any species other than humans or is it just humans? If just humans, that what makes us so special we need concern?

George Paras May 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Julian Simon’s best insight is that people are the ultimate resource. Each one of us is a potential source of solutions to any problem.

Don Boudreaux May 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Indeed so. It is an insight both revolutionary and profound.

Methinks1776 May 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

And in light of that, it is particularly troublesome that government’s raison d’etre is to hinder that resource in every possible way.

vidyohs May 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Yes m’lady, right on(!); and not just to hinder all, but as well to control that which they can not hinder successfully.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

“Yes m’lady…”

You pussy!

Victor May 26, 2011 at 5:36 am

The human mind is our fundamental resource
- J.F.Kennedy, 20-02-1961

muirgeo May 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Too bad he never understood that his free markets tended to raise unemployment rates and assign huge masses to squalor and marginalization never being able to fulfill their potential. HIS world wast billions of “Ultimate Resources”.

Methinks1776 May 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

More and more I’m beginning to understand that your house looks like the set of Sanford and Son and you believe this is the result of your being allowed make your own choices in life.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

Aside from dictators abuses, today……….. The world lives in better standards today. I can’t possibly account for some chained to walls under socialistic rulers.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

Oh, how the French live with consistent low unemployment and all of the human advancements put out. How shall we keep up?

Gil May 22, 2011 at 1:18 am

Why such a simplistic view? By that reasoning the countries with highest populations should be the richest. Maybe that should read: people with an I.Q. of over 110 are the greatest resource.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 3:22 am

No many people with great potential and great IQ’s are born into poverty never to escape while Jack Asses of privilege are born with silver spoons in their mouths and choke on them adding nothing productive to the world but living off others success.

People like Julian Simon seem comfortable having a pool of slave labor to feed the capitalist machine and comfortable that the worthy ones escape while the rest are trash. To be a libertarian must require you to hate most people… especially the poor ones that drag down society. Hell, I see that mind set everyday here on this blog. The poor are drags on society and deserve their lot while the wealthy are that way because they are good and valuable and intelligent and MUST have earned their way. Its a sick sick view of the world.

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

I keep telling you – “jackass” is one word.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm

But I am not talking about the animals… I’m talking about the people. You know Jack Asses. It’s in the urban dictionary as jack ass too… so it’s ok… relax your spinchter… jack

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Oh, that’s right. I forgot that you’s uh ebonics spittin’ pimp up frum da’ hood, yo.

When can we expect you to commence “you mama” responses to Don and Russ’ posts?

Marcus May 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

Nice spin but we all know that liberals treat people like they treat their dogs.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

My dogs have it made.

Marcus May 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

And there we have it. There’s really nothing else to say.

Victor May 26, 2011 at 7:40 am

This is the greatest leftist mistake.
Not only do you think the liberals’ ideology is invalid, you think the people behind it are intrinsically selfish and even evil.

It makes it impossible to have a decent discussion. I see people discussing politics from socialist partys with disgust in their eyes when talking with liberals.

Not for one moment do you give it a thought that maybe also liberals want to make the world as good as possible.

Anotherphil May 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Maybe that should read: people with an I.Q. of over 110 are the greatest resource.

I’m not sure of that. I think of all the (reportedly) high IQ people in government, especially the present White House, and I’m pretty sure most have a higher than 110 IQ. I’m guessing the guy that removes my trash every week might be a greater resource than parasitic despots like Obama-who seems NEVER to have held productive employment.

Of course, given Obama’s lack of disclosure-I’ll use a known quantity-former degreed NUCLEAR ENGINEER James Earl Carter.

kyle8 May 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The best way to control population growth is free market capitalism. Because it is the only engine that has proven to produce prosperity for the masses. And prosperity always results in voluntary population control.

muirgeo May 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm

This is actually true. Well the first sentence. Reading Kenneth Galbraith ‘s, ” The Affluent Society”, made me realize that if indeed we ever did get away from these poorly regulated inefficient markets towards more efficient and prosperous well regulated markets THEN we would more quickly run into resource issues.

Sadly the only benefit of these inefficient markets is they are so inefficient that resources aren’t being depleted too fast… but indeed that’s a perverse pay off considering all the misery that goes unaddressed.

Methinks1776 May 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I don’t think Galbraith went by “Kenneth”.

Galbraith went to the Soviet Union in 1984 (7 years before it went over the cliff) and couldn’t say enough great stuff about how well people lived there! According to him, Moscow was awesome (full employment!…pursuing the acquisition of almost mythical consumer goods like food and shampoo). Just couldn’t say enough great stuff about how much better it was than here. Just super all around.

So, it seems that Soviet Russia is Galbraith’s ideal, Muirdouche. Since you think this blind idiot is the creme de la ba fangou of ekonomyck thinking, we can conclude that your ideal ekonomee is Soviet command and control.

Noted.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 3:51 am

He said NOTHING like that in the Affluent Society. I’m pretty sure he said nothing of the sort….. likely this is just a little bit of your silly McCarthyism eking through to contaminate the blogosphere.

But sure you guys always resort to some sort of McCarthyism and I suspect that is what you are getting at. No you are a silly person methinks… as is Dan’s silliness below. Silly silly people…

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

Read his New Yorker article from 1984 – the one he wrote upon his return from the Glorious USSR.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Yeah, so I paid for and downloaded that article because I’ve heard this one too many times. You’ve completely mischaracterized the article. Anyone who wants to confirm this can download it and see. You are verifiably WRONG.

From the article, ” I am not attracted to the Soviet system, but I am committed to the needs for arms control.” J K Galbraith. He does go on to compare our two systems and some areas of relative success to be found in Moscow ( the opera and ballet). He NEVER endorses their system. He does indeed not see any instability and does not predict it’s coming demise.

Anyway the big picture here is now a clear understanding by me for your ability to say and or believe things that are untrue with out taking the time to verify them.

What you have done here is far worse than all my spelling and grammar errors combined. As I’ve always said, you are not interested in honest debate or having your positions challenged. You are stuck in 5th grade debate tactics and innuendo and bullying. You are too chicken-shit (one word or two?) for real discussion and a real self- appraisal of the views you hold.

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Totally, Moron. But, then, you think Hayek agrees with your pile of garbage.

Galbraith states once that he is “not attracted to the Soviet System”, but you have to wonder what he’s talking about as he spends the rest of the article breathlessly describing just how attractive it is. What shortage of houses? So many have been built!

And the scholars who privately managed to tell him the problems of the Soviet system? Galbraith thinks this would be admirable – if only the scholars weren’t saying it to score points against the Soviet system. All good, though. “Difficulties” were met with “wry humour”.

He did note the smoking and overweight were a bit of a problem in Russia, but totally missed the rampant alcoholism.

“That the Soviet system has made great material progress in recent years is evident both from the statistics and from the general urban scene. . . . One sees it in the appearance of solid well-being of the people on the streets . . . and the general aspect of restaurants, theaters, and shops. . . . Partly, the Russian system succeeds because, in contrast with the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”

It succeeds, according to Galbraith “because, in contrast with the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower”. An economist or a fool?

The streets are so much cleaner in Leningrad and Moscow (never noticed that myself). And he says there is no doubt they are safer (why wouldn’t they be, with drunks and the KGB roaming the streets at all hours?). The transportation is so much more efficient (unless you take ten steps outside of the city – there, nobody has paved roads, running water or electricity. Saddle up the donkey, Vanya. He died? shit.).

He had not trouble agreeing with some Leningrad academic that both countries faced problems with the enormous cost of the great modern metropolis. In three areas, Galbraith thinks the Soviets have better solutions than ours and we should adopt them (let’s hope culling the population and forcing the rest into communal apartments isn’t one of ‘em.)

“The first of the economic problems of the Soviet Union comes directly from this affluence, or relative affluence; it is the formidable burden that the infinitely numerous, incredibly diverse requirements of the modern consumer-oriented economy place on a socialist planning system.”. Most immigrants risked their lives to leave because of the affluence, of course.

Not a problem when all the USSR produced was tanks (and people starved to death and lived “v zhope”, but that’s the price you pay to build a brave new world). Now (in 1984), “the modern consumer economy, East or West, calls for the production and distribution of a truly mystifying number and variety of products (‘coz nobody wanted consumer goods the mystify him before)…”. They’re required in the U.S. and in only moderately less measure in the USSR. Say what? Oh, that’s right – according to this Keynesian, consumer demand is not organic. Sadly (according to JKG), private production crowds out public production and investment.

He acknowledges that the USSR has measures of failure – but then, according to him, neither the the unplanned nor the planned economy “works very well”.

There’s no Veblenian leisure class in the USSR , according to Galbraith. When I first read that years ago, I remember laughing.

He does point to some problems – Insufficient investment in infrastructure, just like the U.S. The shoe factory makes boots and women’s shoes. Yet boots are easier to make and the factory meets its quota by producing those instead of women’s shoes. Women who might want women’s shoes? Men’s heave boots for you. Obviously, this is problem across all consumer products, but to Galbraith this is a “small” if compelling example of the challenges in the consumer economy.

He does call mindless nonsense the suggestion that we can overstrain the Soviet economy by forcing them into an arms race. He correctly points out that this is central planning, which….according to Galbraith is “not our special forte”.

What was it JKG proposed? Expanding certain classes and contracting others. Specifically, the establishment of a class of elites that ran the country (like the USSR) and decided investment (like the USSR) – Supplanting private production and consumption with public spending and investment. He moaned an awful lot about all this production in private hands causing all kinds of “imbalances” he didn’t like. “The greater the wealth, the thicker the dirt.”

When he was still alive, I did sort of wish I could transport him to a few other spots on earth where he could find out just how thick the dirt of poverty is.

Don’t worry, Muirdiot. Nobody expects you to understand any of this.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 2:24 am

Muirgeo is sounding Stalin-esk with every passing day. How long before population solutions to failed govt directed economies lead to tens of millions being slaughtered as is typical from the govt you espouse? Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Chavez, Castro, Hussein, Pol Pot, etc.,….. Filthy murderers of millions. All of your heroes who brought about the society you seek, sought out ‘final solutions’ to their failed ‘isms’.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 3:27 am

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Chavez, Castro, Hussein, Pol Pot,…

Dan….SHADDDUPPP!!!

Dan May 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

Put FDR in with these evil thugs.

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm

No … why don’t you just shut up… or maybe grow up.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Not my Fault that FDR was a corrupt socialist who regularly intervened in the market place and using people like pawns. Those interventions had disasterous results. Ruining people’s lives.

Gil May 22, 2011 at 1:20 am

Really? If humans are the “greatest resource” then the last thing you’d want to do is cap the population. If more poeople equals more wealth then a downturn in population will equal future wealth destruction.

muirgeo May 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Taking the side that population pressures are not a significant potential threat to us IS to be on the same side as a creationist or a doomsday prophet. Placing doomsday prophets along side with climate scientist, population scientist, biologist and basically every other scientific discipline and all the major science academies shows an extreme degree of hubris on your part.

Don’t try to confuse reams of scientific data and even some basic precepts of biology and population biology with astrology and biblical charlatans.

YOU are the creationist equivalent here arguing against the scientific evidence of which you are vastly ignorant of. In your own field of specialization you have IMO missed the boat… you have no credibility to repudiate respectable science and its practitioners.

Again you are the one who seems not only to have completely missed the call of the economic collapse… you STILL don’t even seem to acknowledge it… put down your stones… you have lots of broken glass as it is.

Today there are as we speak 1.5 billion people living in abject squalor… far more that ALL the people who existed 150 years ago. They might have a different perspective of how well the environment is holding out and how well the new world is treating them.

Anotherphil May 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Muirbot: Just as a test of YOUR scientific credentials:

1.) Which of the following which most accurately predict population levels over time:

A.) Exponential Function

B.) Ito Calculus

C.) Hypergeometric Function

d.) Second-Order Linear Differential Equation.

2.) Utilizing your answer above, describe the basic behavior (shape)of population growth curves.

Anotherphil May 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Well Muirbot… what’s your answer?

muirgeo May 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

In an ideal environment growth is exponential but in the real world it is limited by carrying capacity.

In nature most populations that undergo exponential growth eventually CRASH. But for some reason people like you think there is no way this could happen to our species because …what ? we have the Invisible Hand God watching over us.

Yes we are an amazing species and capitalism has great potential but we still are a species and I am not going to assume we’ve broke all bounds for carrying capacity.

I know Rush Limbaugh said some day we would just send extra people into space on shuttles…. so like maybe 50,000 blast offs a day… yeah that should work.

Anotherphil May 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

In an ideal environment growth is exponential but in the real world it is limited by carrying capacity.

Wrong. The correct answer is d.) second order linear differential equation. The function is “self limiting” but until it begins to level off, deceptively looks like an exponential function-but only to the those who want it to scream “apocalypse”.

Thanks for publicly proving your ignorance.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Sooooooo………….. a socialist and Atheist/agnostic?
Can’t force people into believing anything……Can mandate a system of beliefs in authoritarian systems, as they do, but the same results from command economies occur regardless of religion……… disaster.

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

“….assume we’ve broke all bounds for carrying capacity.”

that’s “dun broke all alleged bounds fo’ duh perpuhtratin’ uv carrying capacity”.

You’re a failure even in ebonics.

Now, answer the question. It’s multiple choice. Are you too stupid for multiple choice (rhetorical question. Go look up what that means in the Urban Dictionary.)

Anotherphil May 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm

YOU are the creationist equivalent here arguing against the scientific evidence of which you are vastly ignorant of.

At least one is an idiot with a computer, how sad.

Trey May 22, 2011 at 12:08 am

The total number of homo sapiens who have every lived is ~100 billion. Except for a few kings and queens, most of those people lived in squalor. (The notion that primitivism was like the Garden of Eden is a myth.) Billions of people alive today (a large fraction) live much better lives than sum total of all the royalty who have lived throughout human history (a small fraction). We are doing something right, and if we keep doing this there’s no reason that all 9-10 billion people on the planet when the population maxes-out can’t be well above the poverty line. I take that back. There’s at least one reason it might not happen: neo-Malthusian rhetoric that attacks the collective human mind, making it think it’s a pathogen. (A sort of auto-immune disease.)

Dan May 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

1.5 billion living under socialism/communism/authoritarianism and the likes are the reason for living conditions subpar to our own standards. But, the very reason they are alive is due to the advancements made by capitalism and ‘the West’ living.
The medicines and charitable givings of ‘the West’ are some of the biggest reasons for so the populations to grow.
Should their regions adapt individualism and capitalism, their standards of living will increase.

Peter McIlhon May 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm

“Today there are as we speak 1.5 billion people living in abject squalor… far more that ALL the people who existed 150 years ago. They might have a different perspective of how well the environment is holding out and how well the new world is treating them.”

This is a horrifying fract (fake fact) considering that we have the EXACT same population now as we did 150 years ago.

Note the sarcasm.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 2:35 am

Muirgeos distractions of vast amounts of people living in ‘abject squalor’ is absurd. Even, the poorest in the world live better than most throughout much of history. Dictator imposed oppression and abuses aside.

Methinks1776 May 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

Aside? Included. Human history is filled with oppressive rulers.

Marcus May 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

Muirgeo shows us faux concern for 1.5 billion people living in ‘abject squalor’.

Fact is, that’s less than 25% of the world population. The human race has never had it so well. And all the trends show that it’s getting better.

He has to deny it because the data is incompatible with his political ideologies. It’s appropriate that he refers to us as ‘creationists’. Real creationists use the same tactics.

Anotherphil May 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Muirbot wouldn’t be so quick to disparage material squalor if he had the slightest idea of how much worse the intellectual squalor he embraces was-one can overcome poverty-but when you embrace ignorance-you are beyond hope.

Gil May 22, 2011 at 4:21 am

If some people are our greatest resources then other people other our the worst non-resource. Many people have created much wealth destruction and loss of human life.

Dan May 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

Oh how we easily remember the few bad apples while overlooking the overwhelming majority who bring light to the world.

Steven P. Cornett May 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm

We have two lessons from the Campman episode:

1). Never put yourself in the wrong end of theology (with the Rapture, which is not a doctrine of orthodox Christianity) or scripture (for we know not the day or the hour) with a date. That’s the losing move in Mankind’s favorite game, “cheat the prophet.”

THE human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And one of the games to which it is most attached is called, “Keep to-morrow dark,” and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no doubt) “Cheat the Prophet.” The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun. [Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill]

2). Give thanks for the days we do have.

Anotherphil May 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm

An old clergyman once said worry about the end of YOUR world, because for an awful lot of people-the end their world won’t be the end of THE world.

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