Articles

Resources, population, environment: an oversupply of false bad news

Science  27 Jun 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4451, pp. 1431-1437
DOI: 10.1126/science.7384784

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Abstract

False bad news about population growth, natural resources, and the environment is published widely in the face of contradictory evidence. For example, the world supply of arable land has actually been increasing, the scarcity of natural resources including food and energy has been decreasing, and basic measures of U.S. environmental quality show positive trends. The aggregate data show no long-run negative effect of population growth upon the standard of living. Models that embody forces omitted in the past, especially the influence of population size upon productivity increase, suggest a long-run positive effect of additional people.