Answers With Joe

The Population Explosion – Was Thanos Right?

Get two months of Skillshare for free: In Avengers: Infinity War, the Mad Titan Thanos wants to wipe out half of all life in the universe as a way to save it from overpopulation. This is clearly evil. But is he right?

The first person to sound the alarm about overpopulation was Thomas Malthus in 1798. His belief that overpopulation will lead to unimaginable suffering became known as a Malthusian Catastrophe.

Many years later, Paul Ehrlich wrote about overpopulation in his book The Population Bomb, and predicted that the 70s and 80s would be times of famine and suffering around the world.

This didn’t quite pan out. Julian Simon, an economist, challenged Erlich to a bet to see if commodities went down over time. They did.

And Erlich lost the bet. Today we know that as society develops, the birth rate goes down, meaning that the population will level out eventually.

But we still need to evolve our lifestyles to be more sustainable if the Earth is going to be able to manage over 10 billion people.

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