Malthus, End Times, and Finite Resources

Q: There's not much in this picture!

A: The important stuff is in the last 1/10″

Dr Alexander A Bartlett is one of those fortunate people who can communicate simply and effectively.  What he discusses in the following series of videos are  exponential functions and their relationship to population and human survival.  Our society is based on progress and progress, in the capitalist sense, implies that every year we must do better for standing still means falling behind.

As population continues its inexorable rise (see graph) toward infinity (infinity is not something you can never get to, you can only approach it), the production of food is never enough to feed the people demanding more and more. But the resources will never be enough to satisfy demand and the historical remedies to over population have been disease, famine, war, and death.

The core questions are:

Can population continue growing indefinitely?

Can the economy continue to grow indefinitely?

Can we continue to feed a population that grows exponentially?

What does that mean?

How long can we continue to use finite resources?

Sometimes “…you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” (Bob Dylan)

For most of us the notion that we will live better than our parents is taken for granted.  But don’t we live in an economic world where there is only so much money and what we earn comes from the pocket of another?  How can this amount be divided among a population that doubles every 70 years?  This and other questions are answered in an entertaining lecture by Dr Bartlett.

If you’re still with us:

World Population ThreatThomas Malthus


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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