Malthusianism is Still at the Core of the Progressive Ideology

At the center of the progressive attitude is the absurd concept of overpopulation, the fear of a growth in the human population above the constraints imposed by the finite resources of the planet. It has its roots in Thomas Robert Malthus’ work An Essay on the Principle of Population, first published in 1798, which suggest that human population grows following a geometric progression, while food production follows an arithmetic progression; and because of the negative net difference, the depletion of resources is inevitable, resulting in famines and war.

But history doesn’t support this thesis: the growth in population always brings not only an increase in production, but also in productivity. More people means more efficient division of labor, which in turn translates into more specialization. It also means more brainpower, which results in better processes, better allocation of resources, new technologies, new materials… Malthus, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, made the understandable mistake of extrapolating highly-irregular data coming out of a historic event about which he had a very-limited understanding. In the following decades, many economists and social commentators, from both the right and the left, weighted in against this thesis using both empirical data and theoretical arguments. But nothing has been as demolishing for Malthus’ thesis than the last 60 years in human history: nothing like the following graph to make the point.

Of course this can’t be enough to change the mind of an arrogant progressive. Their obsession with this perceived “overpopulation” keeps driving them to support everything that, in one way or another, can function as a form of population-control: abortion, contraceptives, everything involving homosexuality; regulatory constraints of everything with a potential for improving the conditions of large masses of poor people, like GMO’s and cheap energy production; and even Chinese-style birth quotas imposed and enforced by dystopian central-planners.

So, in a world in which the progressive mindset is the norm among so-called “authority figures,” what should we take home? Well, for starters, when a well-known “overpopulation” creep like Bill Gates tells you to inoculate yourself and your family with some life-saving medication, show a little common sense and be suspicious. And learn how not to give a damn when all the other creeps call you “a conspiracy nut.”

Give Some Credit To Engineers, Please.

When we think about the huge increase in life expectancy in the last 200 years, usually we give the most credit to medicine. But only a relatively small percentage of this increase can be attributed to medicine, while engineering is responsible for most of it.

Sanitation is a good part of it: sewerage and drainage, water treatment, air filtering… Improvements in the safety features of buildings, bridges, roads. Safer transportation methods, like railroads, automobiles, and planes. Monitoring and predicting natural disasters. New agricultural techniques. Massive production of energy.

And even when it comes to medicine, many advances in the medical sciences are the result of the application of technologies developed by engineering, like computers, statistical analysis, and new materials. And laser, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound…

So, next time you flush your toilete, pay a little respect to all the engineers that made possible for people to live longer, healthier lives.