Update on Paul Ehrlich doomsday scenario

from another site:

"If you're not familiar with Paul Ehrlich, he was the scientist who predicted that untrammeled population growth would destroy the human species.

Now, can we extrapolate this "abundance" measure indefinitely into the future?

That is, will we eventually run up against a finite limit to our "natural" resources on our planet?

Or, as the authors suggest, will human ingenuity overcome that obstacle?

I wouldn't place any bets against humanity...

icon_wink.gif

Monty

P.S. In the interest of making a complete argument, it's necessary to temper the conclusion with the fact that we've only been extracting resources on this scale for the past 200 years (+/-) or so and that the currently-used resources might be different than those necessary in the future.


Earth Is Nearly 520 Percent More Abundant Now Than in 1980

Thanks to the ultimate resource: the human mind

RONALD BAILEY | 5.31.2019 12:17 PM
Reason

Good news: The Earth was 518.98 percent more abundant last year than it was in 1980.

So says the latest edition of the Simon Abundance Index, which tracks the relative availability of 50 fundamental commodities over time. The index, which was first unveiled last year by Marian Tupy of the Cato Institute and Gale Pooley of Brigham Young University–Hawaii, was inspired by economist Julian Simon's famous win over population bomber Paul Ehrlich in a bet on whether the prices of a basket of non-renewable resources would rise or fall between 1980 and 1990. They fell by more than 50 percent, and in 1990 Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07.

In constructing the index, Tupy and Pooley first measure the "time price" of that basket of 50 commodities—that is, the amount of time that a person has to work in order to earn enough money to buy something. They calculate this by multiplying the World Bank's average global GDP per person with the Conference Board's estimate of annual hours worked. Tupy and Pooley find that from 1980 and 2018, the average time price of the basket of 50 basic commodities fell by 72.3 percent. In other words, the time it took to earn enough money to buy one unit in that basket of commodities in 1980 bought 3.62 units in 2018...

Tupy and Pooley then use the time price of the commodities and the change in global population to estimate overall resource abundance. In their words:

"The Index represents the ratio of the change in population over the change in the time price, times 100. It has a base year of 1980 and a base value of 100. In 2018, the Index reached a level of 618.98. That is to say that the Earth was 518.98 percent more abundant in 2018 than it was in 1980. The compounded growth rate of abundance came to 3.44 percent per annum, which means that the affordability of our basket of commodities doubled every 20.49 years."

Back in 1981, Simon argued compellingly that human minds are the ultimate resource. "There is no physical or economic reason," he wrote, "why human resourcefulness and enterprise cannot forever continue to respond to impending shortages and existing problems with new expedients that, after an adjustment period, leave us better off than before the problem arose."



...In other words, over the last 38 years, every additional human being born on our planet appears to have made resources proportionately more plentiful for the rest of us.

Disclosure: Marian Tupy and I are co-authors of the forthcoming book Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know."


https://reason.com/2019/05/31/earth-is- ... n-in-1980/
 

The Heretic

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We already have.

Natural resources are finite.

Sure, we can extract more oil due to fracking, but at the cost of earthquakes where there didn't used to be any, and severe pollution when the fracking fluids get into wells and other byproducts are disposed of.

We are not only over fishing, destroying some fisheries, but we are polluting the oceans so much that sea life is dying from ingesting plastics.

There is only so much potable water and arable land, both of which require energy to pump and farm. It isn't rocket science to understand that more people means less resources per person, especially water and land - a six year old can understand the math.

Carrying Capacity is not new science - it is something that is a natural law that we have observed for millenia and been aware of for centuries, possibly longer. Any species can outgrow the capacity of its environment to support it. Deer, rabbits, mice, insects - all of these and other species are known to exhibit this behavior when placed in certain conditions (abundant food and few predators). Humans too - the Aztec and Mayans outgrew their environments - other populations have too. Of late we have spread out further, but we are also much much larger and growing much faster in absolute numbers. At our current population and current rate of increase, we will have a die off in 30-50 years.

We are probably already past our carrying capacity in many areas. The SW USA is a good example, especially California which has been exceeding their potable water supply for a while now. Parts of Oregon too.

This is a gradual thing - it is a frog in the gradually warming pot of water scenario. Everything seems fine for a lot people right now, but we are heading to a boiling point. Prepare. I am. I won't live long enough to see the outcome - the die off, but my kids will. Which is why I am prepping for them.
 

bbbass

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IMO there is no doubt that we need to reduce over-consumption or over-utilization in certain geographical areas, or in certain natural resource industries, both for practical as well as ethical reasons, but there is no evidence that the aggregate effect is leading to global disaster for humans. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Erlich had his opinions, they led him to make a bet with a scientist that had an opposing opinion, and he lost the bet. "The bet between Julian Simon, the economist, and Paul Ehrlich, the environmentalist. Ehrlich insisted that commodities would become more expensive: they were running out in the face of the population explosion. Simon asserted the opposite: more people meant more brains meant better methods of extraction and lower usage per unit of production. Thus prices should fall. Simon won" So he effectively disproved his own theories. Like all other environmentalist fanatics... FAIL!!!
 
None of my 1968 college-era buddies ever questioned the wisdom & sage advise of Paul Ehrlich. Under his vision we all were convinced of the pending collapse of the Brazilian Rain Forest, the last ice crystal of any/all world glaciers, and the impending diet of dirt clods & stones by the few remaining humans, who in any case deserved their savage plight.

In the decades since, I have seen numerous pleas to feed those suffering the blight of innumerable locust swarms, of intolerable frailty of fresh water supply, and various epidemics. Paul has been wrong on so many measurements, yet his warnings remain on display.

Skeptics point to the increasing relative wealth of the poor nationally & ever growing hordes of hungry migrants demanding better conditions in their adopted host lands.

Few seem satisfied petroleum based food supply has increased dramatically and legions of UN delivery trucks require the new suckee-squeezee pumping techniques, instead criticizing those with largess to feed those needy. Whatever the claimed results of world population control, log phase increase in hungry crowds seems unstoppable.

While 'intelligence and adaptability' is much touted, our homo sapien sapien advantages are yet to be demonstrated as a long term survival reality.
Even the Lemmings have a longer species history, as do cockroaches. Yes, the 'survival & prep' discussions continue to interest.
 
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bbbass

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While 'intelligence and adaptability' is much touted, our homo sapien sapien advantages are yet to be demonstrated as a long term survival reality.
Even the Lemmings have a longer species history. Yes, the 'survival & prep' discussions continue to interest.
Resource consumption has yet to be demonstrated as a global extinction event.

Yes, humans will eventually die out. Just like all other species. <shrug>

Enjoy life while you have it... I refuse to live in fear!!!
 

MannyGlocks

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The world is coming to an end...yes, when the sun burns it up, but being the 'doom and gloom meister' now sells books, lectures, appearances...paging another of the many, oh al, paging 'the algore'...you said we'd be dead in ten years many more than ten years ago...a hole.

Now, get on your jet, named 'the carbon footprint' and fly, fly away pest.
 
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Our human species is already running on empty. How much is actually left in the fuel tanks is up for debate. We are on very thin ice. The word here is DIE BACK. Natural. Someday sooner or later mother nature will up and smack us along side the head HARD! Evolution and lots of time and catastrophic natural events will be our come uppings.

Probably a very big volcano resulting in drastic bad climate change. Also possible is a mega tsunami from a huge land slide or a huge earthquake. Less likely is a very big asteroid hitting the planet. The end results would be the same. No crops. No food. Mass starvation. A rather grim forecast indeed. Sooner or later it will happen but not in my lifetime.

From 7-8 billion back down to around 100 million within only 20 to 50 years. Very quick indeed. Lots of books and movies about this. Some accurate. Some not so accurate.
 

Certaindeaf

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Our human species is already running on empty. How much is actually left in the fuel tanks is up for debate. We are on very thin ice. The word here is DIE BACK. Natural. Someday sooner or later mother nature will up and smack us along side the head HARD! Evolution and lots of time and catastrophic natural events will be our come uppings.

Probably a very big volcano resulting in drastic bad climate change. Also possible is a mega tsunami from a huge land slide or a huge earthquake. Less likely is a very big asteroid hitting the planet. The end results would be the same. No crops. No food. Mass starvation. A rather grim forecast indeed. Sooner or later it will happen but not in my lifetime.

From 7-8 billion back down to around 100 million within only 20 to 50 years. Very quick indeed. Lots of books and movies about this. Some accurate. Some not so accurate.
Kinda like the. 22 shortage of 2015.
 

The Heretic

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Resource consumption has yet to be demonstrated as a global extinction event.

Yes, humans will eventually die out. Just like all other species. <shrug>

Enjoy life while you have it... I refuse to live in fear!!!
It isn't extinction - it is a die off.

Humans will survive. Most species don't go extinct from carrying capacity - at least not general species - certain populations do. There are still primates, reptiles, canines, felines, rodents, bovines and so on - many of these have had die offs where they have a large population reduction due to exceeding the capacity of their environment. Time and time again. As I said, this is not something that is a theoretical event - it has been witnessed many times, even for humans. The Mayans, the Olmec, the Sumerians, the people of Easter Island (an excellent example) are all examples of humans exceeding the carrying capacity of their environment and then having a severe reduction of their populations - and/or moving away from a region.

We already see some human populations suffering from this - e.g., the Sudan and some other regions in Africa.

Ignore at your own peril, or at your children's peril. The preparations for this are not really any different from any other SHTF scenario; find arable land with water, that can sustain you and your family without outside assistance, away from dense populations, and work it to provide food, shelter and security.
 

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