New York Times Says Paul Ehrlich Got It Wrong


Several decades late, our national "paper of record" acknowledges on its editorial page that population alarmist and darling of ideoloigcal environmentalists, Paul Ehrlich, was wrong. The population bomb fizzled.

The Times' Editors write: "A generation ago, Paul Ehrlich warned in "The Population Bomb" that with demands on resources soaring, overpopulation would kill our planet. As demands on water and air soared, many thought he was right. Now it turns out that population growth rates are plummeting … In the second half of the century, the entire world's population should start declining, if these demographic projections prevail. That could present a more affluent world with problems that are the mirror image of what Paul Ehrlich once worried about."

The editorial points out that fertility rates are below replacement in nearly all developed countries and will likely fall below replacement by the middle of this century for nearly all countries. The Times further notes, "Helping poor countries improve their economies is not a matter of charity but of intelligent foreign policy." I read the foregoing as a tepid endorsement of economic growth and globalization. By such small steps does the editorial opinion of the "gray lady" fall in line with reality.

Who knows maybe professors will soon toss out Ehrlich and start teaching Bjorn Lomborg instead? One can hope can't one?