Bill Maher fretted to Jeffery Sachs Friday that if all people of the world consumed like Americans we would need five Earths to supply the resources. Yet a hundred years ago, we could tell a similar story using Europe as a baseline instead of the States. How can I make this claim?
What Maher and Sachs are ignoring (as too many people do) is that if the people of the world used more resources, they would be able to produce more of them. More creativity, more inventions, more ideas, more productivity, more investment, more hands at work, more active minds. The history of the world is replete with scares of shortages and the panics never hold out to the adaptive world of free markets.