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The Infamous 1968 'Population Bomb' Doomsayer Still Stands by His Claim

Even though England is still totally here.

"Population growth will kill you stone cold dead." That was the alarming message delivered by Paul R. Ehrlich, who warned in his 1968 book The Population Bomb that the explosive population growth was outpacing our planet's ability to support mankind.

Booming population growth, in his eyes, would lead to 65 million people dying in the US because of hunger and England would disappear by 2000. There would be "an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity," he wrote.


That didn't happen—just look at England! Still, nearly a half century later, Ehrlich told the New York Times in a new video that he still stands by those statements:

The end is still nigh, he asserted, and he stood unflinchingly by his 1960s insistence that population control was required, preferably through voluntary methods. But if need be, he said, he would endorse "various forms of coercion" like eliminating "tax benefits for having additional children." Allowing women to have as many babies as they wanted, he said, is akin to letting everyone "throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor's backyard as they want."

Not so fast, buddy. As the short documentary explains, the world can feed itself with "high-yielding, disease resistant crops" despite rising populations. Also, the women's need to breed isn't as necessary as it once was because in many societies, they are "ever more independent, socially and economically."

With that, and the growing concern of climate change in the forefront of the world's threat index, the population bomb was a bust, even though it wasn't one Ehrlich expected.