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Population, Consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Human Well-Being in the Age of Industrialization (Part IV – There Are No PAT Answers, or Why Neo-Malthusians Get It Wrong)

By Indur Goklany -- April 26, 2010

Editor’s note. This is the conclusion of a four part series by Indur M. Goklany, in which the Neo-Malthusian view of the adverse effects of industrialization, economic growth and technological change is contrasted with empirical data on the substantial progress in human well-being during the age of industrialization. Having established this, he appropriately warns about predicting the future. For ease of reference, links to the previous three parts are included at the end.

Neo-Malthusians believe that humanity is doomed unless it reins in population, affluence and technological change, and the associated consumption of materials, energy and chemicals. But, as shown in the previous posts and elsewhere, empirical data on virtually every objective indicator of human well-being indicates that the state of humanity has never been better, despite unprecedented levels of population, economic development, and new technologies.…

Population, Consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Human Well-Being in the Age of Industrialization (Part II — A Reality Check of the Neo-Malthusian Worldview)

By Indur Goklany -- April 23, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the second of a four part series. Part I provided a long-term view of commodity prices, their affordability and the impact on human well-being. Here, Indur M. Goklany looks in more detail at global trends in human well-being in the Age of Industrialization, from 1750 – 2007. (Part III and Part IV are here.)

In the worldview of many environmentalists and Neo-Malthusians, as population and economic development increase so does the consumption of energy, land, water and other natural resources. Originally, Malthusians feared that we would run out of these resources, and natural resource–based products, particularly food, would be in short supply, resulting in famine and a general decrease in human well-being. But as shown in the previous post, instead of becoming scarcer, resources (such as metals and food) actually have become more affordable, and the hunger and famine that had been foretold went AWOL.…