Is Jared Diamond, the Malthusian alarmist about our future prospects, arithmetically challenged or economically challenged? That’s the first question I asked when I read his op ed in January 2′s New York Times.
“The average rates at which people consume resources like oil and metals, and produce wastes like plastics and greenhouse gases, are about 32 times higher in North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia than they are in the developing world,” says Diamond. Based on this, he calculates that, if everyone in the world consumed as much as we do, “It would be as if the world population ballooned to 72 billion people.”
Of course, it is perfectly obvious — to Diamond — that the world cannot support this. So he “is certain that within most of our lifetimes weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be consuming less than we do now.”