MALTHUSIANS AND “CORNUCOPIANS”.

MALTHUSIANS AND “CORNUCOPIANS”. I posted here about the Paul Ehrlich-Julian Simon bet . This wikipedia article gives the background: “In 1968, Ehrlich published The Population Bomb, which argued that mankind was facing a demographic catastrophe with the rate of population growth quickly outstripping growth in the supply of food and resources.” Ehrlich had predicted mass famines with hundreds of millions of people starving to death in the 1970’s and 1980’s,.There would be shortages of natural resources, whose prices would rise. The economist Julian Simon made a bet (actually 5 bets) with Ehrlich in 1980 that the prices of five commodities, which Ehrlich could select, would be lower in 1990 than in 1980. Simon won on all five bets. Now this article in the Economist (August 6) discusses the current state of the battle between the “Malthusians” and the “Cornucopians”. ( I was unfamiliar with the term “Cornucopians”, but there is a wikipedia entry on the term). The article is entitled “The Revenge of Malthus”, and it makes the point that Ehrlich would have won if he had accepted Simon’s offer in 1990 of double or nothing. It also points out that Ehrlich would have won the bet if the ending date were today. A glance at the accompanying graph shows that in fact events of the last 30 years are powerful evidence for the Cornucopians. The prices today are just a smidgeon above the prices in 1980. If the prices of the five commodities are higher than in 1980 once every 30 years or so, it’s pretty strong evidence against the Malthusians.

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One Response to MALTHUSIANS AND “CORNUCOPIANS”.

  1. Pingback: MALTHUSIANS AND PHYSICISTS; CORNUCOPIANS AND ECONOMISTS. | Pater Familias

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