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CHEER UP, PROFESSOR MAULE!

February 18, 2008

I tried, but so far I have utterly failed to snap Dr. Maule out of his funk. He still thinks things look bad and will only get worse:

Have the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity prevented the death by starvation of millions in developing nations? Have the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity eased the spread of new and dangerous diseases throughout the planet? Have the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity lengthened life expectancy in the former Soviet Union? Have the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity prevented the riots that have broken out in various places when supplies of drinking water, gasoline, food, or other essential items become exhausted? Did the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity prevent the massive death and destruction of a world war fought principally over access to land, oil, rubber, and other supplies?

I would answer "Yes, the supply-demand curve and human ingenuity have prevented the death by starvation of millions in developing nations." I would also say that they have prevented "the riots that have broken out in various places when supplies of drinking water, gasoline, food, or other essential items become exhausted," because I'm not aware of any such riots actually occuring outside of a failed state, war zone or disaster location.

But since I haven't made much progress cheering up Dr. Maule, I will turn the floor over to Ronald Bailey (via Instapundit):

Along the way, Malthusians predicted that massive famines would occur. They didn't. Food supplies increased faster than population growth and food became cheaper and more abundant. In addition, the amount of land devoted to farming barely changed. As a consequence of growing food security and the spread of improved public health and medical technologies, global human life expectancy more than doubled. Perhaps the Malthusians are at last right? There are good reasons to think not.

Read the whole thing.

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