24 March 2008

Neo-Malthusians Re-Emerge ~ WSJ on Limits to Growth

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article entitled New Limits to Growth Revive Malthusian Fears: Spread of Prosperity Brings Supply Woes; Slaking China's Thirst commenting on the massive changes in commodity and natural resource demands as humanity progresses to First World, Worldwide.

There's an ideological war-of-words, battle-of-ideas, and political movement-clash emerging between the market techno-optimists and the neo-luddite enviro-pessimists. Techno-optimists think most if not all limits can be overcome -- or end-run -- by a combination of economic incentives -- i.e. market-mechanisms, prices, and the self-balancing nature of supply & demand -- and transformative innovations -- i.e. those inventions which dial-up efficiency, employ new materials or processes, enable new usage modes, and more. Neo-luddite enviro-pessimists, by contrast, emphasize the slowness of macro-technological change, the irreversibility of environmental damage, the social injustice inherent in market-mechanisms, and so on.

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