Paul Ehrlich

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Readers will know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Malthusians. Thomas Robert Malthus was a British Scholar and Reverend. He wrote a lot about population and resources and was the first writer to talk about catastrophe -- running out of resources if the population grew to large. Since then, there has been no shortage of acolytes to follow down his hand-wringing path preaching doom and gloom. The Anthropogenic Global Warming crowd is a perfect example -- we have to hamstring our economy to avoid the tipping point which is just around the corner. What I find fascinating is that not one of them has ever been correct. I cannot think of one catastrophe that was predicted that came true. The Club of Rome - Limits to Growth -- BZZZZZTT!!! Dead wrong. Peak Oil - debunked. One of the more virulent Malthusians out there is Paul Ehrlich. Firehand has a few words to say:
Be it noted: Paul Ehrlich is a slimy little bastard
Ace notes:
But then come back here and recall with me that Paul Ehrlich is one of the most discredited pseudo-scientific alarmists of all time. In 1968 he predicted that population growth would exceed the resources available on the planet, resulting in decades of famine and disease. He conned universities and governments into thinking that hundreds of millions of people would die by the 1980s.
I also have to point out that in the early 70's he was one of the Global Cooling Will Kill Us All(unless we act NOW!!!) people; and now he's a Globular Warmering Will Kill Us ALL!!!(unless, etc.) bigshot.
And don't forget the Simon-Ehrlich wager:
In 1968, Ehrlich was the author of a popular book, The Population Bomb, which argued that mankind was facing a demographic catastrophe with the rate of population growth quickly outstripping growth in the supply of food and resources. Simon, a libertarian, was highly skeptical of such claims.

You could name your own terms: select any raw material you wanted � copper, tin, whatever � and select any date in the future, "any date more than a year away," and Simon would bet that the commodity's price on that date would be lower than what it was at the time of the wager...

Ehrlich and his colleagues picked five metals that they thought would undergo big price rises: chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Then, on paper, they bought $200 worth of each, for a total bet of $1,000, using the prices on September 29, 1980, as an index. They designated September 29, 1990, 10 years hence, as the payoff date. If the inflation-adjusted prices of the various metals rose in the interim, Simon would pay Ehrlich the combined difference; if the prices fell, Ehrlich et al. would pay Simon...

Between 1980 and 1990, the world's population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich's selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor. Chrome, which had sold for $3.90 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.70 in 1990. Tin, which was $8.72 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.88 a decade later.

As a result, in October 1990, Paul Ehrlich mailed Julian Simon a check for $576.07 to settle the wager in Simon's favor.
Talk about asshat -- the guy should stick with his butterflies...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 5, 2010 7:53 PM.

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