Boudreaux on Overpopulation

April 13, 2008

In Common Wealth,  Jeffrey Sachs writes: “We should be aiming….to stabilize the world’s population at 8 billion by mid-century.”

To which Don Boudreaux responds:

Eight billion. I’m not sure where Sachs got that number. And, to be frank, I’m not curious about where he got it. … No matter where the number comes from, it’s worthless.

Awesome. Maybe it’s not polite, but sometimes it’s not even worth considering what makes people claim to know things they can’t possibly know.


One Response to “Boudreaux on Overpopulation”

  1. Dave Gardner Says:

    If you go on to read the rest of Boudreaux, and you read it critically, “awesome” may not be the best adjective. Boudreaux just muddies the water dealing with minutia (that’s what you do when you don’t have solid facts or logic to deal with the big issue). Does it really matter whether the number is 3, 7, 8 or 9 billion? The actual number doesn’t have a huge impact on whether we need to address the issue or not. Yet Boudreaux equates not being able to pinpoint the number with being a good case to ignore the issue.

    Boudreaux would have us believe that if necessary we’ll adjust our lifestyles (just don’t advocate doing it NOW while it inconveniences him). And he would have us ignore the entire issue because the future is uncertain. We can’t possibly know what technological rabbits we’ll pull out of the hat over the next 50 years. Fiddle-dee-dee. That’s about the nicest thing I can write about such a dangerous, irresponsible attitude. When in doubt, gamble.

    Dave Gardner
    Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity

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