Paul Ehrlich - The Population Bomb

By a spooky coincidence, Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in 1968 in the same year that population growth rate peaked at 2.09%/yr. The global population that year was 3.55b. If that growth rate had been maintained ever since then we would have passed through 10b this year. So we're really lucky that 1968 was also pretty much when we transitioned from exponential growth to linear growth and hitting 10b is still 38 years away. It's easy to see now in retrospect that the demographic transition happened and come up with all kinds of reasons why it happened. It's harder to come up with reasons as to why Ehrlich should have seen it then. He was writing in a time when we'd had a 100 years or so of exponential growth over 1.5%/yr and in the previous 20 years it had been accelerating. So I think he deserves a break for being overly pessimistic back then.

10b, right now, and having got there so fast, would not be pretty. I don't think its going to be pretty in 2056 either, but we have a little more time to adjust.
[from: Google+ Posts]

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