Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to the Washington Post:
Brian Czech repeats one of today’s most frequently heard mantras – namely, that continued economic and population growth spell disaster for the planet and humanity (Letters, Nov. 5).
Virtually all available evidence contradicts this doomsday claim. For example, the earth’s population today is seven times larger than it was in 1800, and yet most people today live lives that are far more sanitary, healthy, long, and rich in experiences than were those of all but the most privileged potentates and pooh-bahs before the industrial age. Each hectare of land now feeds more mouths and clothes more bodies than ever before. Water and air in capitalist countries are cleaner than they were a century ago, or even just 50 years ago – and still getting cleaner. Available supplies of oil and most other raw materials show no signs of being depleted, despite the fact that today we use absolutely larger quantities of these materials.
Mr. Czech commits the common mistake of assuming that humans are net consumers of resources. But when markets are reasonably free and property rights extensive and secure, most people are net producers. History amply supports this claim. I challenge Mr. Czech or anyone else to offer evidence to the contrary.
Donald J. Boudreaux