Defusing the Erlich bomb

The New York Times has a tight new historical mini-documentary which looks back on and debunks Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” myth. This myth was prominent during the 1970s and 80s, part of the wave of pessimism that swamped American campuses and newsrooms after about 1975.

The Federalist praises the video but points out what might be a subtle bait-and-switch of the viewer’s locus of concern — from overpopulation to alleged overconsumption.

The excellent academic podcast EconTalk has a long serious discussion on the famous wager with Ehrlich, which was an eye-opener for many (including me) around 1987-90.

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