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Did I say cooler? Here’s Jeff Sachs as the world approaches 7 billion people:

The world population continues its rapid ascent … unless the world population stabilizes during the 21st century, the consequences for humanity could be grim … A rising population puts enormous pressures on a planet already plunging into environmental catastrophe.

Sachs himself is well aware of the positive relationship between population, life expectancy, income and living standards. He is also well aware of the fact that global primary grain crop yields tripled in the last 60 years with no increase in land under tillage. He also knows that the pace of fertility decline is quickening, even in places one would never have expected to happen. He also knows that demographers expect global population to stabilize by mid-century in the 9 billion range. He also knows that deforestation is not happening because of population pressures in poor countries. He also knows that planners’ efforts to “maintain a stable population” may have some unsavory consequences.

I am sure if he had more space in that OpEd, he would have articulated all of that for his readers. I’m sure he was space constrained, so had to make some hard choices about what information to share with his readers. Yep.

8 Responses to “Cooler Heads Prevailing”

  1. chuck martel says:

    Interesting that someone would be silly enough to use Thomas Malthus as a reference to almost anything. Read William Cobbett’s 1819 letter to Malthus (Political Works V, 395-406) for another opinion.

  2. Harry says:

    Is he saying he is opposed to drilling worldwide?

  3. Danielle Wedde says:

    I just saw this. And then immediately came here to see your reaction before forwarding the article to you.

    Hope all is well!


  4. Harry says:

    Twenty acres that I can see from my porch are planted in Roundup-Ready soybeans, hardly an angry weed in sight. Those beans may be ground and fed to Holstein cows, in the winter, mixed with corn.

    We feed the world and ourselves, thanks not to an abundance of resources, but rather to the effort voluntarily provided by pepole who risk their own money for profit. Cuba, North Korea, and wherever else the planners farm, starve. Moreover, they starve not just merely because their system does not work more efficiently. They starve from freedom:

  5. Sachs knows the more he agrees with people who advocate for environmentalism, the more money he is likely to make through speaking engagements and so forth. None of this surprises me.

  6. Rod says:

    Wherever collectivism prevails, so does poverty, and with poverty you get ignorance and the apparent knowledge or self-control to prevent giving birth to too many children. The birth rate in Europe, by contrast, is well below two children per family/couple/unwed mother, and in this country it is slightly above two children.

    Mark Steyn has written about this in America Alone: that in Europe the native French, Germans, etc. are being out-bred by immigrant Muslims, who have large families and who subscribe to an entirely different culture than the Europeans.

    At any rate, as long as collectivism and fascism/statism prevails in the so-called Third World, there will be a population problem, and as Harry has observed above, continued waste of land and non-application of the farming practices that have yielded so much agricultural production in this country.

    Here’s how it works. The American farmer is motivated to get out there and plow or disc when the ground is fit, and then he plants his crop, using fertilizer and herbicides. When his crop is ready to be harvested, he hustles to get it done when the soil is not soaked so he does not get stuck. Before the harvest, he prepares his machinery (designed and produced by capitalist companies like John Deere and New Holland) and greases and oils it so it won’t break down when the weather is fit. If his combine breaks down, he hops off the seat of his combine and fixes it himself, probably in the field. Then he takes his wheat or corn or soybeans to a dryer where excess moisture is dried off by propane or natural gas (evil carbon fuels). He then sells his crop and takes advantage of whatever hedging he made by selling some of his crop with evil futures on capitalist derivative markets.

    In the Soviet Union (and now probably in Russia, where communism is returning), the decision on what to plant and when comes from a committee of commissars, who have a five or ten year plan for vast acres in places like the Ukraine. If the strident worker feels like it, he’ll plant the crop when the committee tells him to, even if he can make mud balls out of the soil. When it comes time to harvest the wheat, some of it is harvested by hand, the old way, using a sickle; the rest is harvested by a Rube Goldberg combine designed by taking this and that from American farm machinery. When the combine breaks down, the combine operator takes a few whacks at the machine with the hammer (not a sickle) and he goes back to the collective headquarters, from which the combine fixer might get around to fixing the combine in a day or two. In a day or two, the wheat is on the ground after a heavy thunderstorm that banged the bejeesus out of the wheat. Then the combine operator returns and drives the combine through the wheatfield and gets maybe two bushels per acre. This is why the commie Soviets missed their grain harvest target every year since 1917.

  7. Rod says:

    I meant “lack of knowledge” in the post above.

  8. Rod says:

    This may please others reading this thread —

    Back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, the Pennsylvania Holstein Association put together several “Russian bull deals” where if one could meet certain pedigree requirements, one could sell 9 month old bull calves to the Soviets for $1500 apiece. I sold several bulls in these deals, but my favorite offering was a really nice bull calf that I named “Woodson Elevation Yoho U-2.” I hoped that some Russian would discover the name on the registration certificate and check out the calf to see if he was a spy.

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