This paper argues that the belief that the rapid growth of the human population will inevitably lead to a major ecological disaster is neither intuitively nor empirically tenable. A significant portion of the world's pollution comes not from overpopulated poorer nations, but from Western nations with very low population growth rates. On the other hand, most of this damage is the result of misguided government policies, and not Western overconsumption. Overpopulation is not likely to be a problem environmentally because Malthusian predictions are often made based on the assumption that current rates of resource use and population growth rates will remain the same. Such assumptions ignore the critical role that adaptability has played in allowing humans to avert Malthusian crises. Substitution of products, innovative production methods, and technological changes all ensure in the long run, very few of the facts that predictions are based on will remain fixed.
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