SUPERABUNDANCE: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet HB
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- ISBN 9781952223396
- Author TUPY MARIAN
- Pub Date 01/01/2022
After analyzing the prices of hundreds of commodities, goods, and services spanning two centuries, Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley found that resources became more abundant as the population grew. That was especially true when they looked at 'time...
After analyzing the prices of hundreds of commodities, goods, and services spanning two centuries, Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley found that resources became more abundant as the population grew. That was especially true when they looked at 'time prices,' which represent the length of time that people must work to buy something. To their surprise, the authors also found that resource abundance increased faster than the population--a relationship that they call 'superabundance.' On average, every additional human being created more value than he or she consumed. This relationship between population growth and abundance is deeply counterintuitive, yet it is true. Why? More people produce more ideas, which lead to more inventions. People then test those inventions in the marketplace to separate the useful from the useless. At the end of that process of discovery, people are left with innovations that overcome shortages, spur economic growth, and raise standards of living. But large populations are not enough to sustain superabundance--just think of the poverty in China and India before their respective economic reforms. To innovate, people must be allowed to think, speak, publish, associate, and disagree. They must be allowed to save, invest, trade, and profit. In a word, they must be free.
As reviewed by Stephen McQuoid, General Director of GLO, in March 2023: 'This is not a Christian book and with over 500 pages of detailed research, philosophical and economic argument, it will not be to everyone’s taste. However, it is an interesting work and one which offers an alternative viewpoint to the negative one which is often portrayed in the mainstream media.
The authors begin by suggesting that humanity has an inbuilt pessimism which they suggest needs to be investigated. They point to Malthusian fears of over population growth and the possible exhaustion of resources. This has most visibly been expressed through China’s one child policy and the Indian state of emergency that was declared by Ghani which enforced government family planning. While they freely acknowledge that the world’s population has exploded (2.5 billion in 1950 to 7.8 billion in 2020), they state there is no evidence that this cannot be sustained and so no panic is required.
They reason that world population will peak at a still sustainable level and then fall slightly due to prosperity. Moreover, the critical mass of population that has built up has led to innovation so that in today’s world we get much more for our money than ever before and we make more money than ever. They suggest that free market economics has been the biggest cause of development and prosperity and that the greatest threats will be from extreme right- or left-wing political dogmas as well as from extreme environmentalism. Indeed, having a critical mass of people who have the freedom to think and to innovate will be what will save the world from decay and destruction. No doubt some left leaning thinkers will be sceptical of the authors thesis. Nevertheless, I find their research persuasive and they provide a welcome relief from the doom mongers, and the ‘net-zero’ catastrophists. A worthwhile read if you want to develop a more nuanced perspective on population growth.'
Publisher: Cato Institute (20 Sept. 2022)
Hardcover: 520 pages