Malthusian inversion: Slowing population growth could mean cheaper food and a cleaner environment

| | January 29, 2020
harvesting x
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

I’ve noticed several articles in the past few weeks talking about slowing or even falling population growth …. The richer we get, it seems the fewer babies we want or need.

[Editor’s note: Jayson Lusk is an agricultural economist at Purdue University.]

We’ve all probably been adequately exposed to the concerns and problems associated with over-population from the writings of Malthus to Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. Less well appreciated are the benefits and costs associated with a falling population.

A smaller population would no doubt produce some benefits. Probably the most obvious benefit is that a smaller population would lessen human’s demands on our environment and natural resources.

Related article:  Calestous Juma: Africa needs its own Green Revolution based on science and technology

Among the adverse consequences, however, of falling population is likely to be downward pressure on farm incomes. The Malthusian concern implied a large population that was incapable of sufficiently feeding itself. For humanity writ large, this outcome would have been a tragedy …. Innovation and productivity growth, fortunately, prevented the hunger problems that would have accompanied a rising population.

[F]lat or declining population, along with innovation, have the potential to have positive environmental outcomes, and it will important to think about appropriate farm policy in light of these trends.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend