‘The Population Bomb’

The Population Bomb, 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich, published by Cuthogue, N.Y. Bucaneer.

Abstract:  (extracts from Wikipedia)  ‘The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. The book dealt not only with food shortage, but also with other kinds of crises caused by rapid population growth. The book also popularized the previously coined term, population bomb.[1] The book has been criticized in recent decades for its alarmist tone and unfilled predictions. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.’

‘The Population Bomb has been characterized by critics as primarily a repetition of the Malthusian catastrophe argument that population growth will outpace agricultural growth unless controlled. Ehrlich’s critics claim that he made other predictions that did not come to pass in addition to his prediction of massive starvation of the 1970s and 1980s.’

‘Ehrlich stands by the basic ideas in the book.  The book sold over two million copies, raised the general awareness of population and environmental issues, and influenced 1960s and 1970s public policy. The world’s population doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999. It is currently (2010) at 6.8 billion, and is expected to reach 9 billion by around 2042 [3]. It will reach 12 billion by around 2100 if the current (2010) world fertility rate of about 2.6 babies per woman does not decline, and if the current (and historically low) world death rate remains low or goes even lower.’

‘In answer to the question: “Were your predictions in The Population Bomb right?”, Ehrlich responded:  Anne and I have always followed U.N. population projections as modified by the Population Reference Bureau — so we never made “predictions,” even though idiots think we have. When I wrote The Population Bomb in 1968, there were 3.5 billion people. Since then we’ve added another 2.8 billion — many more than the total population (2 billion) when I was born in 1932. If that’s not a population explosion, what is? My basic claims (and those of the many scientific colleagues who reviewed my work) were that population growth was a major problem. Fifty-eight academies of science said that same thing in 1994, as did the world scientists’ warning to humanity in the same year. My view has become depressingly mainline!’  Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb

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