*The Wizard and the Prophet*

by on November 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm in Books, History, Science | Permalink

That is the new Charles C. Mann book, I pre-ordered long ago, here is the new Kirkus review:

A dual biography of two significant figures who “had little regard” for each other’s work but “were largely responsible for the creation of the basic intellectual blueprints that institutions around the world use today for understanding our environmental dilemmas.”

A thick book featuring two scientists unknown to most readers is a tough sell, but bestselling journalist and historian Mann (1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, 2011, etc.), a correspondent for the Atlantic, Science, and Wired, turns in his usual masterful performance. Nobel Prize–winning agronomist Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) developed high-yield wheat varieties and championed agricultural techniques that led to the “Green Revolution,” vastly increasing world food production. Ornithologist William Vogt (1902-1968) studied the relationship between resources and population and wrote the 1948 bestseller Road to Survival, a founding document of modern environmentalism in which the author maintains that current trends will lead to overpopulation and mass hunger. Borlaug and Vogt represent two sides of a centurylong dispute between what Mann calls “wizards,” who believe that science will allow humans to continue prospering, and “prophets,” who predict disaster unless we accept that our planet’s resources are limited. Beginning with admiring biographies, the author moves on to the environmental challenges the two men symbolize. Agriculture will require a second green revolution by 2050 to feed an estimated 10 billion inhabitants. Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is fresh and accessible; three-quarters goes to agriculture, and shortages are already alarming. More than 1.2 billion people still lack electricity; whether to produce more or use less energy bitterly divides both sides. Neither denies that human activities are wreaking havoc with Earth’s climate. Mann’s most spectacular accomplishment is to take no sides. Readers will thrill to the wizards’ astounding advances and believe the prophets’ gloomy forecasts, and they will also discover that technological miracles produce nasty side effects and that self-sacrifice, as prophets urge, has proven contrary to human nature.

An insightful, highly significant account that makes no predictions but lays out the critical environmental problems already upon us.

You can pre-order here.

1 Brett November 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Pre-ordering that was a no-brainer, given how excellent 1491 and 1493 were.

2 C November 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm


3 Art Deco November 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm

In that if you liked 1491 and 1493 you have no brains.

4 CorvusB November 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Ad hominem attacks require no brains, either.

5 Art Deco November 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Since you just made one, are you admitting to being brainless?

6 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Only so far as you are, ya big hypocrite.

7 a clockwork apriori November 9, 2017 at 5:32 pm

In regard to defensive innovation:
Where the rights to castle and/or to capture en-passant are mutually dependent, the solution consists of several mutually exclusive parts. All possible combinations of move rights, taking into account the castling convention and the en-passant convention, form these mutually exclusive parts.”

8 Palo Alto Goodwill support staff November 9, 2017 at 8:10 pm

apriori – you have no idea, do you, how much better of a comment you could have made on such a limited subject (breaking down normals’ chess strategy) with really good AI support. Or maybe I mean, you do, right? (that phrase is absolutely untranslatable). Funny, isn’t it, that the last anonymous vast work of art in the civilization that created Chartres might include a sweep-up of random internet comments that came close – surprisingly, unexpectedly – close to, not “the truth”, but to the last foolish picture of the truth that anyone who ever knew what it was to lose, all on one’s own, at chess, might have contributed (Welles – unlike poor Beckett, not a chess player – was pretty good on Chartres in F for Fake but he missed the real mystery of the place … too much foie gras? Yes, that was it.) *Verb. sap sufficit, cor ad cor loquitur, etc.* Big cathedral picture, bigger night backdrop; the cathedral as the least specific work of art that touches the heart, thereby dwarfing the suburban French night, as one would expect such a work of art, on such a night, to do. Not much money in chess, though.

9 Pagss November 9, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Hard to think of any artwork less specific that a well-built cathedral. “Ancient poetry as a whole”, maybe, but “ancient poetry as a whole” is not even “an” artwork, much less “any artwork.” I had a really good Greek salad meal yesterday, but it was very specific – not “olives and lettuce and hummus and mineral water” but “these olives and this lettuce and this hummus and, for what it is worth, this mineral water”. How about “High Renaissance Art”? Or, better, the “High Renaissance Art” of a few friends in one of the centos – XIV, XVcento, XVI? How about “movies” – (well) The “movie buffs” of yesteryear were excitable but too reasonable to advance “movies” as anything but very specific. Time and place, and all that, not to mention the limits of celluloid. So we are back to facts like the fact of the cathedral at Chartres. On that one summer night, in that French town which you could reach by a suburban rail line, a vast night (if you remembered), and, in its way, the cathedral that made the night, with all its infinities, look friendly and even – even compassionate.

10 Viking November 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Seems like an interesting topic, however, I do take exception to this claim:

“Agriculture will require a second green revolution by 2050 to feed an estimated 10 billion inhabitants. ”

We are currently at a population of around 7.5 billions. 10 billion is a 33% increase. Since it is 33 years until 2015, we need to improve agricultural efficiency enough to grow an additional 1% of current production each year. That is hardly a revolution, more like the incremental improvements that happen anyway.

On the other hand, Norman Borlaug developed new wheat lines that more than doubled the yield per acre. That was a revolutionary change.

11 Viking November 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Sorry, meant to write: “Since it is 33 years until 2050, we need to improve agricultural efficiency enough to grow an additional 1% of current production each year.”

12 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 6:54 am

Yes. 10 Billion seems totally feasible even on current tech. African yields currently suck. Lot of room at the bottom.

We also have considerable scope for horizontal expansion. There’s a lot of land not under cultivation that could be cultivated if required. European land under cultivation has been returning to nature for decades.

This is just another of those cases where the Greens are talking out of their collective, numerically-challenged behinds.

13 Ray Lopez November 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

For some reason I thought Borlaug did miracle rice not wheat, but given he did his best work in Mexico, wheat makes sense.

Bonus trivia: the Haber-Bosch process was more responsible for feeding the masses than Borlaug ever could, as it produced artificial nitrogen (before then you had to leave a field “fallow” so it could pick up nitrogen from the air or rotate crops to pick up nitrogen from N2-fixing legumes). Both Jewish inventors, Haber and Bosch, fell out of favor with the Germans and died pitifully, while the company they helped found, IG Farben, went on to develop Zyklon B for the Nazis and colluded with Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and Dupont’s fascistic founders, but then again in the 1930s many American businessmen, even the Koch founder, worked with Soviets and Germans alike.

14 Al November 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm

Ray, I think it is somewhat well known that the creation synthetic fertilizer was an amazing innovation.



15 Ray Lopez November 10, 2017 at 2:08 am

Thanks Al for the link, interesting site, and I would say it’s not well known except to people like you. Notice the two N2 inventors got shafted, as did most of the list, as evidenced by the common man not knowing most of these scientists.

16 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 6:56 am


Yes, Haber-Bosch is one of those top 100 inventions. Possibly top 10. But there’s honours aplenty to go around in this area. Well done Wizards. Now what have the prophets ever done to help?

17 Sebastião Thomaz November 9, 2017 at 5:25 pm

You need less than 1% increment per year, thanks to compounding.

The Netherlands case study shows this is more than possible, at least scientifically.

18 Viking November 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Re compounding, what I meant to say was that the absolute increase per year, needs to be 1% of the 2017 production level.

Regarding Netherlands, I do think lots of world wide agriculture is performed at sub optimal yield levels, and I my expectation is that in 2050, the agricultural production will be much higher than the 2017 production + 33%.

19 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 6:58 am

Totally agree. I don’t think there’s a single competent agronomist who takes the Green doom-saying seriously in this area. Even the quasi-Marxist UN FAO can’t make itself sound pessimistic.

20 bmcburney November 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Exactly. And yet here, supposedly, we have an author who as a “spectacular accomplishment” somehow manages to “take no sides.” In other words, the “historian” fails to draw any conclusions from the undeniable historical fact that one “side” has actual “accomplishments” which are so “spectacular” they pass for miracles, while the other has gone more than half a century without any of their “prophecies” remotely coming true. It seems more like a spectacular lacunae than any kind of an accomplishment.

21 Larry Siegel November 11, 2017 at 3:55 am

We don’t need much more than 2017+33%. Global ag already produces enough calories, and for the first time in world history obesity is more widespread than hunger. A little higher quality food outside the richest countries would be nice, and we are going to get it.

22 chris purnell November 10, 2017 at 11:55 am

The Netherlands are also redefining what ‘food’ means with the industrial production of insects. That would be a paradigm shift to meet any conceivable population growth figure.

23 Mark November 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Is genome editing a likely candidate for the next green revolution? For all of the moral hand-wringing about human gene-editing and designer babies, the livestock/agriculture domain has enormous real potential without the same moral constraints. Is consumer acceptance a legitimate barrier?

24 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 2:19 pm

It’s already here, GMO agriculture is a thing now. But much of the world refuses to use it. That will change out of sheer necessity.

25 Thor November 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm

This seems the most likely scenario, indeed it is underway.

But … then the goalposts will move, and we will be thinking about feeding 11, 12, 15 billion.

26 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

I really doubt population will keep growing, I think it plateaus and maybe drops Japan-style.

27 Mark Bahner November 11, 2017 at 11:29 pm

“Is genome editing a likely candidate for the next green revolution?”

Plant-based meat substitutes and cultured meat seem likely to be big…especially considering all the agriculture devoted to growing food for animals. (For example, 30 pounds of feed is used to produce a pound of beef.)

28 JWatts November 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm

“Agriculture will require a second green revolution by 2050 to feed an estimated 10 billion inhabitants.”

The current population of the Earth is 7.6 billion. Going from 7.6 to 10 is a 32% increase in population. This is nowhere near the population growth that occurred in between 1960 (3 b) and 1990 (5.3 b), when the world experienced a 77% increase in population.

We might experience a second green revolution, but it’s doubtful if will see a Malthusian collapse if we don’t have a green revolution.

29 JWatts November 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Beat to the point by Viking.

30 Viking November 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

By a whole 5 minutes!

31 The Other Jim November 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

A cuck like me.

32 A clockwork orange November 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Hamlet’s ruse, so useless, yet a wooden gal. A forklift for an endless instant, to bend less, to rest content; the Miser shook the serpent that fed a fish.

33 Dick the Butcher November 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Malthus posited a similar theory. Also see Ecclesiastes 1:9.

I’m not sure “compound interest” is an apt metaphor. Of course, each year, a smaller increase is needed, but it must be an increase and it must be consistently achieved.

What about the concept of “diminishing returns?”

One day In 2050, will be 100th anniversary of my birth. I’ll be happy to it to make 70.

34 A clockwork orange November 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm

as a I lay dying considered in response to the bible versus quotes:

35 Larry Siegel November 12, 2017 at 10:13 pm

You’ll be happy to live three more years?

36 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm

I wish there was a blog where the only commenters allowed were Thiago/Truth Seeker, mulp, rayward, prior, and the clockwork orange bot. The sheer insanity. Of course, one requirement would be those goofballs could only post there.

37 HL November 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm

TANSTAAFL: The Why America and GMU suck blog, presented without paragraph breaks

38 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

You win the design competition.

39 clockwork_prior November 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

GMU is a respectable third tier university – it does not suck.

40 JWatts November 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm

For reference:

“Tier 1 consists of major private research institutions like Yale, Johns Hopkins and New York University. Tier 2 schools are selective private liberal arts colleges like Middlebury and Vassar. Tier 3 are major public research universities, among them most of the University of California system. The remainder — less research intensive and selective, like Middle Tennessee State, Golden Gate University or the for-profit Grand Canyon University — fall into Tier 4.”

41 derek November 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Someone has to play the banjo on the porch.

42 David Pinto November 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I remember Borlaug being featured in the Weekly Reader when he won the Nobel Prize. It struck me odd that a scientist would win the peace prize. Years later his name emerged as one of the great heroes of the 20th century, the Weekly Reader blurb came back to me.

43 jseliger November 9, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Agriculture will require a second green revolution by 2050 to feed an estimated 10 billion inhabitants

Fortunately, it seems that vertical indoor farms are taking off: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/11/8/16611710/vertical-farms, so we may well be on our way into a second green revolution.

44 A Truth Seeker November 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

I am fascinated by hydroponics and vertical farming.

45 So Much For Subtlety November 9, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Sorry but vertical farming is just about the dumbest idea ever. No surprise to see Vox endorse it.

Farming operates on the reverse of solar power. The sun puts out an enormous amount of energy per square foot. It is on the order of 1000 W /m2 at sea level across the planet. Energy which we have trouble capturing. But vegetables, deprived on the sun, need just as much power from artificial sources to grow. LED lamps in this case. Which require an enormous amount of energy. Most of which the plant does not use. Now you can fiddle with that by trying to find wavelengths the plants like but basically you are providing a huge amount of energy and then wasting over 90% of the energy you have to provide.

Would you like to consider how much larger the entire power industry of the US would have to grow to provide enough energy to meet even one percent of US food demand? Present US power demand is what? About 4 million Gwh per year? The US has about nine hundred million acres of farm land – or about 300 million acres of “prime” farm land used for crops. 1 Acre = 4046.85642 Square Meters

Are you starting to see the problem?

46 msgkings November 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Better get this breaking news to all those vertical farming investors you know so much more than.

47 KWebb November 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm

Vertical farming is probably good for selling out of season fresh vegetables to higher end restaurants, but it’s unlikely to be up to the task of mass caloric intake.

48 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 12:17 am

This is fairly accurate today, but like most things the tech will keep improving. And also like most things it will never, nor is it intended to, completely replace traditional farming.

49 So Much For Subtlety November 10, 2017 at 3:20 am

For various definitions of “completely”. That Vox article, for instance, looks forward to massive layoffs in traditional farming.

Which ain’t going to happen. At least not until someone can explain why a lettuce from a normal farm just outside of New York is uncompetitive compared to a lettuce from a vertical farm just inside New York.

50 Sam Haysom November 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Oh look msgkings ankle biting again. You are such a bitch.

51 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 12:15 am

Trenchant commentary. Compelling and rich. Grow up.

52 So Much For Subtlety November 9, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Because ….. investors are entirely rational and there has been no mal-investment in Green scams in, like, forever?

Good one, Dude. That is funny.

I did the absolutely bare minimum of research before replying. That is, I looked at Wikipedia. And there have been plans for such farms since 1909. As of about now, there is precisely one commercial vertical farm on the planet. In Singapore. Which is not even that high – their stacks are nine meters tall.

So the question really is, what commercial investors? Who, apart from some government authorities, are fool enough to be taken in by such a transparent scam? Even George Monbiot – an idiot but not a total idiot – calculated that a loaf of bread from such a farm would cost $15.

53 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 12:16 am

I know so much more about capital markets than you that it would be a waste of my time to educate you. You just keep commenting and let the grownups handle the investing.

54 So Much For Subtlety November 10, 2017 at 3:14 am

What are you? Like twelve?

Come on. This is the lamest of lame responses. You should be able to do better.

55 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 7:04 am

Yes, it’s mostly dumb for the reasons you specify. Land cheap and power pricey.

Caveat: MIGHT be economic in city states with craving for fresh lettuce. And you do save a LOT on pest control (but you do with any enclosed farm, not just vertical). So if energy costs are low and land use high, it might pay…IIRC we burn something like 7J of chemical energy in farming to create 1J of biomass, so it’s not necessarily insane to burn, say 27J to create 1J of (plant) biomass.

One for the Mars expedition!

56 stephan November 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

There’s no shortage of prophets of gloom. Steven Hawking is always raising the alarm about something.These days it’s AI and climate change that will do us in.

How many of these prophecies came to pass: world starvation, acid rain devastation ,ozone hole radiation catastrophe, nuclear apocalypse,criminal super predators,year 2000 bug major disruption, worldwide biological plagues, unprecedented loss of species, etc…Most of these predictions come from environmentalists.

The world is doing fine. Thank you. Nothing to see here folks.


57 chuck martel November 9, 2017 at 5:22 pm

There’ll be an asteroid hit one of these days, or maybe a super volcanic eruption. It’s inevitable. No point in worrying about the other stuff.

58 Every Pessimist Ever November 9, 2017 at 5:26 pm

None of those have come to pass. Yet.

59 A clockwork orange November 9, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Circumspection circumambience circumfragrance circumvent ccicrumscribed, the circus of the scrivener outside the circle, in retrograde, to roll the ball with forward mouth, and jetty-teeth.

It’s the turning back. It aint no luck in the turning back. Unless with settled inertness, tyler’s weight gain, and Barcelona loss, wakes for a moment of lazy alterness.

60 Mike November 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm

So then the reasonable course of action, in retrospect, was to ignore all of those potential issues and hope for the best? The year 2000 issue was front-and-center when I graduated from college; I seem to recall quite a bit of time and money was spent mitigating it and plenty of very real issues fixed.

There may be a small logical flaw in assuming that, because nothing happened, the efforts made to avoid it were wasted.

61 peri November 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

Yes, efforts to address ozone depletion are a pretty big hole in his theory.

62 stephan November 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

The point is not that we should not do anything in all cases but we should evaluate more thoroughly these doomsday scares (often politically motivated)
The Ozone depletion scare was a greatly exaggerated threat
A World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report in 1998 stated that since 1991 total ozone volume was constant even though stratospheric concentrations of offending compounds were increasing in the 90s through 1998. The ozone hole depends mostly on meteorological conditions ( cold weather over Antarctica). Antarctica is the only place on Earth where it’s reliably cold enough for an ozone hole to form,
There is also a lot of natural chlorine sources such as volcanic emissions. The 4th largest ozone hole was measured in 2015 over Antarctica in a period where CFC levels had been declining for 20 years. The feared increase in UVB radiation that was part of the scare did not happen. Skin cancers/melanomas rates ( according to the US national cancer institute) were actually declining during the “ozone crisis”

63 peri November 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

True, hairspray was a pretty polarizing political issue.

I wonder, if it weren’t for the fascinating subject of politics, how we would ever think about anything.

64 mkt42 November 10, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Yes, one of the most important and most difficult parts of critical thinking is evaluating risk and cause-and-effect.

Maybe the magic wristwatch that I’m wearing has successfully protected me from tigers. And maybe the dozens of debris basins that Los Angeles County built in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains have successfully protected LA and environs from devastating debris flows (combinations of landslide and flood that used to regularly bury homes and people until the mid-20th century; see John McPhee’s _The Control of Nature_, which also predicted New Orleans’ flooding).

Both of those have worked so far, and it’s easy to evaluate which have been truly effective. Other risks such as anthropogenic climate change, and the attempts to reduce it, are harder.

65 dearieme November 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

“Neither denies that human activities are wreaking havoc with Earth’s climate”: happily, I do. Or to be more precise, I see no evidence worth a damn that it is.

66 A clockwork orange November 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Fumble recoveries:
Rickey Jackson

67 mkt42 November 10, 2017 at 3:25 am

Useful and interesting topics, but I’m not sure what an already-informed reader would gain by reading the book, aside from factoids and stories that don’t alter the big stories (green revolution and population-caused environmental stress).

A book about Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich’s famous bet would I think be more worldview-altering for readers who didn’t already know about the bet. I have a vague recollection that somebody indeed wrote such a book.

68 So Much For Subtlety November 10, 2017 at 3:33 am

The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future Hardcover – September 3, 2013
by Paul Sabin (Author)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (September 3, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0300176481
ISBN-13: 978-0300176483

Dare I say self-recommending?

69 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 7:08 am


What’s often missed is the bet was very unfair to SIMON. They were supposed to be measuring scarcity, but he forgot to specify that final prices should be adjusted relative to final incomes. Obviously scarcity is reduced if prices stay the same but incomes double!

Not only did prices fall, but incomes rose in the period, so his payout from the doomster should have been nearly twice as big.

70 lxm November 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Why do we need 3 billion more humans?

71 Alistair November 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Each additional person, ceteris paribus, gives you a wealth bonus made up of the following two effects.

Firstly, improved trade, comprised of a population density/geography effect (your nearest shop is nearer) and a specialisation/productivity effect (you now have 2 specialised providers doing 2 jobs well rather than 1 generalist doing 2 jobs badly).Secondly, their manufacture of non-rivalrous goods, including scientific research benefits you.

These effects are much larger than their marginal ecological load.

72 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Alistair is crushing his comments today, well done.

73 lxm November 10, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Great answer. Best I’ve ever heard. But I don’t buy it.

1. More humans: more war.

2. More humans: less other living things.

3. In general what do most humans do? We screw around. I don’t mean that only sexually. I mean that day to day over the course of our lives. You know what I mean: wasting time writing comments at marginalrevolution for example. We don’t need 3 billion more humans wasting time writing comments on marginalrevolution.

4. A few humans achieve, sometimes by accident, more than the average. They are the exception.

I suggest you ask a blue fin tuna what it thinks of 3 billion more mouths to feed.

74 lxm November 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Meant this as a reply to Alistair

75 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm

1. Nope, see Pinker’s book on how violence has decreased in the modern era as the population keeps growing

2. Nope, lots more forests now than before as richer countries go green. And total biomass is greater not less now than before.

3. It’s called living. If you are this misanthropic, of course you want less humans

4. Life itself is precious, there’s nothing better than a baby.

You’re obviously one of those human-hating animal worshippers. Fine, but that’s not how the human species needs to think to survive. Don’t worry, it is a near universal truth that the more prosperous a population gets, the fewer kids they have. We may never get to 10 billion.

76 lxm November 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Violence. I am glad that violence has decreased. I wonder how the people starving in Yemen think about that. And the Rohingya. And the Syrians. And the Somalis. And, of course, we could wind up trading nukes with N. Korea.

Check out the forest cover in Brazil.

And I am not human hating. I am actually human nurturing. I want conditions for a peaceful human community that gives up the standard human strategy of pillage and plunder for a strategy of preserve and protect. Much better than what we’ve got now. And unlikely.

I want that baby to thrive and not die of malnutrition, violence, or a curable/preventable disease that happens so often today.

Remember go ask the blue fin tuna what they think about 3 billion more human mouths to feed.

Don’t forget.

77 msgkings November 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

OK you get one more chance to not be obtuse.

The point of Pinker’s “Better Angels of Our Nature” is that even if you add up Yemen, Burma, Syria, and Somalia, it’s far less violence than ever before on the planet, especially per capita.

Also, once you are done cherry picking Brazil you can look into the facts which are that forest cover is increasing worldwide not decreasing. Global warming and rising CO2 levels are helping there.

Almost all humans haven’t lived by pillage and plunder for centuries.

Disease and malnutrition are at the lowest levels in history worldwide, even at our current peak population.

You are a very mood-affiliated green. The planet will have no problem with 10 billion. The real problem is what if we go to 9.5 and then start decreasing? Is a world that grows and lives like the Japanese a good one? Maybe so, they are a stable prosperous country. But they make due with less than Americans.

78 lxm November 11, 2017 at 8:09 am

We live by pillage and plunder to this day. It is the beating heart of human civilization.

Oil and coal industries are entirely pillage and plunder. Drill a well. Pump it till it’s dry. Cap it. Move On. Dig a mine. Remove coal till it’s gone. Move on. Classic pillage and plunder.

Fisheries in the ocean: classic pillage and plunder. Fish until the fish are gone. Then move on.

What’s happened to the elephants? They’ve been pillaged and plundered. And how about the whales? They’ve been pillage and plundered. Good thing we don’t use whale oil for lighting anymore.

The Ogallala aquifier: “The Ogallala aquifer turned the region into America’s breadbasket. Now it, and a way of life, are being drained away.” Classic pillage and plunder.

Remember the banks before the 2008 crisis? Professional pillage and plunderers. They were stealing from everyone. Even countries like Greece. Just wait to see what the investor class will do to Puerto Rico after the smoke clears.

Remember Wells Fargo? Classic pillage and plunder. Force your employees to steal from your customers and then when you get caught fire the employees.

Clothing manufacturers: Move your factories to poor countries. Hire the locals. Pay them next to nothing and make them work in deplorable conditions. Classic pillage and plunder. Are the locals better off? Maybe, but it is still pillage and plunder.

Harvey Weinstein

Donald Trump: Why won’t any American banks do business with him?

The list goes on!

You think of me as a “mood-affiliated green” (whatever that means).

I think of you as a man who cannot see what’s staring him in the face.

79 msgkings November 11, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Yes, yes, the pessimists are the smart ones. Anyone who thinks things are generally good and getting better are misguided, naive, overly optimistic dupes. Oh and also they are correct and have been forever.


80 msgkings November 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Also I do have to make a correction, you aren’t just a green. You’re a full-blown Marxist as your post betrays a serious lack of understanding of how commerce works. Banking fishing, energy extraction, farming, global trade….you don’t understand any of it.

81 lxm November 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm

When I get called a commie, I know I’ve won.

82 msgkings November 11, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Yeah, the Marxist Troll of the Week award.

83 lxm November 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Like I said.

84 Mark Bahner November 11, 2017 at 5:14 pm

“…and ‘prophets,’ who predict disaster unless we accept that our planet’s resources are limited.”

And the proof of their farsightedness is that none of their predictions have yet come true.

85 lxm November 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm

15,000 scientists disagree with you.


But what do they know anyway

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