Malthus and His Discontents

Coming Soon: A Vast Desert

Here’s a review of two books about Thomas Malthus, the man who might well be considered the first “doomer,” as the word is used presently. According to the review, there are three stages of Malthusianism, the last being the current strand of doomers: those who think our population is in overshoot and will exhaust the world’s resources before they’re able to be replenished. Another definition of doomer might be someone who doesn’t believe in infinite growth—or thinks it’s only an illusion anyway, considering that the elite is getting both richer and smaller while a growing majority of people have less stability, less stake in the affairs of their insulated governments, and less viable food and water sources.

The third phase began in the later twentieth century with a new Malthusianism aligned with ecology and the fear that Earth’s resources would soon be outstripped by excess population. A reputation for apocalyptic…

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