In 1975 The Environmental Fund declared: “The world as we know it will likely be ruined before the year 2000….World food production cannot keep pace with the galloping growth of population.” Of course, this prediction by American thinkers of the day never came true, but it highlights a theme in public policy that is still true today: the idea that a growing population is a major problem. This idea is false.
In The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein makes the point that since 1968, the world’s population has literally doubled, and yet most of the population eats better than it did 45 years ago. Whether it be increased mechanization in agriculture, more refined fertilizers, or genetically modified crops that are more resistant to drought and insects, technological innovation has made billions more people better off.
Epstein goes on to explain that while world population has soared exponentially since the 1800’s, according to the World Bank, GDP per person and life expectancy have soared at equal rates. Why? Because more people equals more innovation and better ideas for how to feed and keep people healthy.
For those who advocate for population controls, they should answer the basic question: how many people is too many? Or how many people on Earth is the optimum number for humanity to thrive? How could anyone know the answer to these questions? By allowing technology and free markets to provide the opportunities and necessities for people around the world, there is no limit to how many people is too many.
Almost half of the nations on the globe live in mostly unfree or repressed regions based on the Heritage Foundation’s . That means that billions of people have never had access to the affordable food, pharmaceuticals, clothing, or technology offered to us from private companies that many of us take for granted every single day.
With such a system of free economics as the norm for human beings everywhere, there is no limit to how many people our society needs to keep improving.