Thursday, July 02, 2009

Krugman's Revealing Defense Of Malthus

I am almost somewhat reluctant about posting this post, since I've already written so many posts about Krugman recently, so it might give the impression that I'm obsessed with him (which I'm not).

However, he is unfortunately a very influential pundit, and lately he has produced unusually many misleading and dangerous posts/columns, including his infamous "treason to the planet"-column.

Now Krugman claims that some unnamed commentators have accused him of being a Malthusian, something which he reacts to not by trying to differentiate his views from Malthus' but by defending him. While acknowledging that Malthus' dire views about population growth have been dead wrong for the last two centuries (which is to say the two centuries that have passed after Malthus made his predictions), he claims that Malthus was right before that.

This is a perfect example of an own goal from Krugman's part. I won't bother to argue with his data despite the fact that they are extremely unreliable given the fact that statistics authorities didn't exist until the twentieth century and given the fact that most people at the time were mostly self-sufficient farmers, because the data if true actually argues against his own views.

Remember that the accusation arose because of his views that because of the alleged threat from global warming/"climate change", we need to dramatically reduce and preferably end our use of fossil fuels (like coal and oil).

The thing is here that one of the reasons why the Malthusian worldview has proven to be dead wrong for the last two centuries is precisely because we have started to use fossil fuels in large scale (both coal and oil were used on a limited scale before the Industrial revolution, but it was only after that that large scale use of coal and oil started).

While the dramatically increased use of fossil fuels wasn't the only reason why the dire Malthusian forecasts were proven wrong, it was certainly a very important factor.

By emphasizing indirectly (without realizing it) how it was only after the large scale use of fossil fuels that mankind lifted itself from the predictions dire Malthusian worldview, while at the same time pushing for the end of use of fossil fuels, Krugman is indirectly acknowledging (without realizing it) that he is pushing for the creation of a dire, suffering ridden Malthusian world.


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