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Posted Mon Feb 7 2011: from Christian Science Monitor, Editor:
As world population heads toward a peak, Malthusian worries reemerge
Food and people. Thomas Malthus posed them as two forces rarely in balance. Plentiful food encourages population growth. A booming population devours more food than can be produced. Famine and other ugliness follow. Population crashes. Students who learn of Malthus's grim prediction usually take away two lessons. The first is the sharp contrast between arithmetic and geometric progression. Food supplies grow slowly, Malthus said. But consumers multiply like rabbits. A geometric progression outstrips an arithmetic one every time. The second lesson is about why Malthus's catastrophe hasn't occurred. Most scholars think it is because the 19th-century Anglican parson didn't have sufficient regard for technology and innovation. From the "green revolution" to global trade, from drip irrigation to entrepreneurial ingenuity, Homo sapiens learn and improve. We farm better, manage resources more carefully, and as education increases, birthrates fall. A wise species - which is what "sapiens" means, after all - avoids a crash. That's the story so far.... We have about 40 years before the jury renders its final verdict on Malthus. The population of the planet is currently 6.9 billion. By 2050, it will hit 9.2 billion, according to the US Census Bureau.
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'Doc Michael says:
The commons just goes on forever. That's quantum progression.

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