Steven W. Mosher is president of Population Research Institute (www.pop.org) and author of the book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ, 2008). Michael J. Miller interviewed him on the subject of his book.
Miller: Dire scenarios about imminent overpopulation, from Malthus to Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, have not materialized. Where are the mistakes in their calculations?
Steven Mosher: In some cases they were deliberately exaggerated, even fabricated, in an attempt to frighten individuals into having no more than one or two children, and legislatures into funding population control programs.
Assuming that the alarmists really believed those projections, I think that their principal error came in the 1960s when they assumed that Third World countries would have to reach Western standards of living before birth rates decreased. They supposed that only affluence would convince people in Nigeria, China, or Peru to have fewer children.
Of course, population control programs played a role in limiting fertility. But the principal reason why almost all Latin American countries today are at or near replacement-rate fertility levels is that the death rate among infants and children went down, and therefore couples voluntarily stopped having large families. They’re still relatively poor, yet they began limiting the number of children. Reduce the mortality rate and population growth ceases.......................
Ooops! Sorry, NYer. Thread above by NYer.