Are there limits to growth? That's what people tell me while citing higher food prices, a planet of 6.7 billion, and cities often exceeding ten million. "There are too many people," they say. What nonsense.
Eleven years ago, Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug wrote that with current technology we could feed 10 billion people (a population we're not going to reach until around 2050). With 21st century technology we can surely feed more. Alex Tabarrok reminds us that US land use for crops has been steady from the late 1930s to the late 1980s, a trend likely continuing right now.
Whenever people make note of the resource usage of developed countries or the "carrying capacity" of the planet, they always ignore that people are not passive. We are not infants, sucking thoughtlessly away at the tit of the world. We create more than we consume. Our inventions exceed our immolations (at least in today's world). For every mouth to feed there is a mind to think, hands to work, and feet to move. We cherish our lives, our wealth, and our hope for a better future and we will lash out with every appendage to maintain our true and steady course.
Are there limits to growth? Probably, but we're not going to encounter then in our lifetime. Or even in our grandchildren's grandchildren's lifetime. History is replete with doomsayers and prophecies of cataclysm. And as seductive as their wild-eyed claims are, as invincible as they seem, they're always wrong. Never forget that.