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Stop Scaring Yourself

Excellent article in today’s Parade magazine by Michael Crichton about the decades of false doomsday predictions he’s seen. It won’t be online until the 13th of December, 2004, but you can read it today by picking up a Sunday Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer.

In fact, the trend of false doomsday predictions goes back further than even Mr. Chichton points out, but the author is working only from his personal recollections. In fact, way back in the 18th century (1798), Thomas Malthus published his Essay on the Principal of Population, in which he observed “that in nature plants and animals produce far more offspring than can survive, and that Man too is capable of overproducing if left unchecked. Malthus concluded that unless family size was regulated, man’s misery of famine would become globally epidemic and eventually consume Man” (berkley.edu).

As Crichton points out, doomsday predictions have been around for all time. Until we learn to generally ignore them (as Crichton recommends), we will continue to live in fear, and hurt ourselves with legislation reacting to problems that don’t really exist.

3 Responses to “Stop Scaring Yourself”

  1. Arcanius: the weBLog » Says:

    […] Filed under: Everything Politics — Arcanius @ 02:12 pm Related to a previous bit I posted, this is from the Wall Street Journal Online: Twists and Turns “S […]

  2. Erik Says:

    The funny thing is that the Mr. Malthus just had to learn the very basics of the animal fund chain o learn that populations auto-maticaly right themselves through such things as famine, bringing themselves to a sustainable level.

  3. nordsieck Says:

    It is somewhat ironic, that the poor (unsuccessful) produce far more offspring than the rich (successful) creating a sort of economic anti-darwinism in the modern world.

    Tying this in to the modern political landscape, it seems to me that social programs will increase at an increasing rate, as the ratio of economically successful people to those who are not economically successful increases geometrically. This is assuming that people follow basic laws of economics and utility.

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