Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"The Population Bomb": How a book can unintentionally give repressive governments excuses to do what they want


The Smithsonian Magazine has an interesting interpretive article about a 1968 book, Paul R. Ehrlich, “The Population Bomb”. I remember scanning this on the bus when I was in the Army. 


The article indicates that the book had a tremendous but misleading influence on the future of world population growth, causing repressive birth control policies in authoritarian countries (maybe even China’s one-child policy).  The article notes that it is consumption per person that matters as much as population itself.  That ties in to the current debate on climate change, which Trump wants to deny.

  

It’s interesting that a single book can have so much worldwide influence. Sometimes well-meaning authors give authoritarian leaders excuses to do what they want. 

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