Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022
News Every Day |

Does the World Face an Underpopulation Problem?

Marian L. Tupy

“There are not enough people. I can’t emphasize this enough … And I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birth rate,” argued the Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year. He has returned to the subject of “population collapse” on several subsequent occasions. Contrast Musk’s position with that of the Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio‐​Cortez, who told her Instagram viewers that “It is basically a scientific consensus that the lives of our children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it OK to still have children?”


Humans impact the world in both good and bad ways. In a new book, Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet, my co‐​author and I have revisited a subject that’s intimately connected to population growth: resource scarcity. This debate goes back to the 5th century BC, with both Confucians and the Greeks agreeing that population growth needed to be controlled lest excessive fecundity overwhelmed the food supply and famine ensued. The English prelate, Thomas Malthus, resurrected the idea in his influential Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, and people have been arguing about the advisability of population growth ever since.

The debate has given us the Chinese one‐​child policy (1980–2015) and mass sterilizations during India’s Emergency (1975­–1977). HBO’s Bill Maher joked a couple years back that “the great under‐​discussed factor in the climate crisis is there are just too many of us and we use too much shit.” More seriously, Patrick Crusius, the shooter of 22 people in an El Paso Walmart wrote, “Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. But G** d*** most of y’all are just too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.” The stakes, in other words, are as high as they have ever been.

, ,

The problem with real prices is that they ignore changes in incomes. Typically, though not always, individual incomes increase faster than inflation. That’s because people tend to grow more productive over their lifetimes and across time. Contrast the productivity of workers equipped with shovels and those driving giant excavators. While real prices are measured in dollars and cents, time prices are measured in hours and minutes. To calculate a time price, all you need to do is to divide the nominal price of a good or service by the nominal hourly income. That tells you how long you must work to afford something.

Consider U.S. manufacturing workers. Between 1900 and 2018, the time prices of pork, rice, cocoa, wheat, corn, coffee, lamb and beef fell by 98.4%, 97.6%, 97.1%, 96.7%, 96.1%, 93.8%, 78.6% and 75.5% respectively. That means that the same length of time that bought 1 pound of each commodity, now buys 62.6, 41.1, 34.8, 30.5, 25.6, 16.2, 4.7 and 4 pounds. While people cannot eat rubber, aluminum, potash or cotton, the prices of these commodities are valuable inputs in the production processes that impact the prices of goods and services, and hence the overall standard of living. Their time prices fell by 99.4%, 98.9%, 98.2% and 95.8% respectively. All the while, the population of the United States rose from 23 million to 328 million.

The relative scarcity of resources is typically measured by looking at prices. If prices rise, resources are deemed to be getting scarcer, and, if they fall, more abundant. The media sometimes scare their readers by reporting “nominal” prices (hence all the headlines about food and fuel prices being at a record highs), rather than “real” prices, which take into account inflation. It was on the inflation‐​adjusted prices of five metals that the Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich and the University of Maryland economist Julian Simon bet $1,000 in 1980. If the real prices went down over the next decade, they agreed, Ehrlich would pay Simon. If they went up, Simon would pay Ehrlich. Ehrlich lost.

What happened to global time prices of resources? They fell by 84 percent between 1960 and 2018. The personal resource abundance of the average inhabitant of the globe rose from 1 to 6.27 or 527 percent. Put differently, for the same time of work that he or she could buy one item in the basket of resources we looked at, he or she can now get more than six. Over that 58‐​year period, the world’s population increased from 3 billion to 7.6 billion.

Surprisingly, we also found that personal resource abundance increased faster than population in all 18 randomly chosen datasets that we analyzed. We call that relationship “superabundance.” On average, every additional human being created more value than he or she consumed. But how does all that superabundance happen?

Musk offered a clue to the answer in the above‐​mentioned speech. He noted that “I don’t know that we should really try to live for a super long time. It is important for us to die because most of the times people don’t change their mind, they just die.” Superabundance, in other words, is a product of the human mind. It is ideas that lead to inventions, which, after they have been tested in the marketplace, lead to innovations that drive economic growth and increase the standard of living.

But large populations are not enough to produce superabundance—just think of the poverty in China and India before liberalization. To innovate, people must be allowed to think and to act. Such people can create tremendous value.

In conclusion, the world is a closed system in the way that a piano is a closed system. The instrument has only 88 keys, but those keys can be played in a nearly infinite variety of ways. The same applies to our planet. The Earth’s atoms may be fixed, but the possible combinations of those atoms are infinite. What matters is not the physical limits of our planet, but human ability to reimagine the use of resources that we already have.

Read also

‘It’s rude and inconsiderate not to tip’: DoorDash driver receives no tip on large Albertsons grocery order

We won £3.2million in postcode lottery – now all our neighbours are booking holidays in the sun… it’s like a fairy tale

Court determines Kanu’s rights abuse case Oct 27

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

Zac Efron Was Never The Same After Playing Ted Bundy — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

Zac Efron Was Never The Same After Playing Ted Bundy

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Алексей Смирнов

Жениться было нельзя, а в усыновлении отказали: как война перемолола жизнь любимца публики Алексея Смирнова

Спорт в России и мире

Сергей Лёвкин: В районе Северное Измайлово появится новый спортивный объект


All sports news today


Sports in Russia today


Российский бренд одежды Celebration выпустил первый метамодерн-спектакль в reels-формате

Новости России

Game News

Холодные приключения 28.0.1


12 октября в Челябинске выступит Классический Национальный Русский балет «Лебединое озеро»

Губернаторы России

Драма Михаила Бородина «Продукты 24» эксклюзивно доступна на PREMIER

Центр имени Кадышева вышел в общероссийский финал фестиваля «Диво России»

Строительство Южно-Лыткаринской автомобильной дороги – магистраль в будущее

Эпидсезон начался, и вот что нужно делать, чтобы не заболеть

В России за сутки выявили 21687 случаев коронавируса

Журналистка Жигалова предложила Тимати пойти служить поваром

Школьники побывали в пожарно-спасательном отряде № 211

Оркестр штаба Уральского округа выступил с концертом для военнослужащих и сотрудников

Певец Константин Легостаев без вести пропал после купания в море в Сочи

Россиянин Сафиуллин вошел в топ-100 рейтинга ATP

Контавейт стала амбассадором часов Zenith

Олейник уступил Латифи, Борщев – Дэвису. Итоги UFC Fight Night 211

В Волгограде должность заместителя мэра покинул Владимир Сидоренко

Автозавод "Москвич" объявил о создании дилерской сети в городах России

Заявление Президента Союза армян России Ара Абрамяна


Kатя Гордон осудила Азербайджан: "Расстрел пленных армян - это геноцид, ад и подлость"

Промес признан лучшим игроком матча «Пари НН» — «Спартак»

«Локомотив» в Москве проиграл «Уралу» в матче 11-го тура РПЛ

Великолучане поучаствуют в открытом турнире по ММА в Смоленске

20 очков и 6 передач Алексея Шведа помогли ЦСКА обыграть «Самару»

Эпидсезон начался, и вот что нужно делать, чтобы не заболеть

Центр имени Кадышева вышел в общероссийский финал фестиваля «Диво России»

Декоративные растения для участка: как выбрать саженцы

Москвичка примет участие в конкурсе "Миссис Вселенная — 2022"

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости

Алла Пугачёва

Появились неожиданные обстоятельства, связанные с отъездом Пугачевой из России

News Every Day

Zac Efron Was Never The Same After Playing Ted Bundy

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости