In keeping with my earlier post about the world’s population hitting 7 billion, Nicholas Eberstadt of the Washington Post debunks 5 myths about the world’s population.
- The world is overpopulated.
- Rapid population growth keeps poor countries poor.
- For all its ethical problems, China’s one-child policy boosts its economy.
- If your population declines, your economy does too.
- The world will have 10 billion people by 2100.
#1 is roughly analogous to my earlier post – the “problem” of overpopulation is frequently cited, rarely quantified. The issue is not that there is no limit to human expansion – but that the limit has never been quantified, and is constantly shifting as technology advances.
#5 is just a sub-trope of a larger thought that any Fox should take to heart – be wary of all predictions of human events. The longer the time scale of a prediction, the more likely it is to be full of crap. That doesn’t mean that demographic predictions are completely without value or shouldn’t be made at all, but simply that they should be taken with at least a shaker of salt.