Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 26

The Population Bomb

Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich
Published: 1968
ISBN: 1-56849-587

since its publishing for its alarmist
tone and, in recent decades,
for its inaccurate predictions.
The worldwide political far-right,
ignoring how many things the book
actually did get correct, uses it as
the poster child for most of what is
wrong with the sustainability and
climate change debate. The Ehrlichs
continue to stand by their basic
ideas and as late as 2009 were still
stating, "Perhaps the most serious
flaw in The Bomb was that it was
much too optimistic about the
future." They also believe that the
book achieved their goals because,
"It alerted people to the importance
of environmental issues and brought
human numbers into the debate on
the human future."
Simply put, they assumed that
available eco-resources, food
in particular, were nearing their
limits. Considering that the book
was written in 1968, the Ehrlichs
would have found it difficult to
anticipate the geometric rise in the
agricultural output that has been
achieved through advancements in
agribusiness and technology. But
that gain has not come without a
huge environmental consequence-
dead zones, loss of arable land,
and acidification of waterways-and
there are still about a billion people
a day who, according to Dr. Jeffrey
Sachs of Columbia University and
the United Nations, suffer in a
constant state of starvation.

26

The book goes to great length
in describing the state of the
environment and pointing out
the food insecurity problem. The
Ehrlichs argue that the existing
human population was growing
rapidly, not being fed adequately,
creating a global problem. They
conclude that it is unreasonable
to expect sufficient improvements
in food production. Interestingly,
they also argue that the growing
population has placed escalating
demands on all ecosystems.
The book does offer actions
which readers could take. These
actions are focused primarily on
changing public opinion to pressure
politicians to enact policies aimed
at reducing population growth.
Near the end of the book, the
Ehrlichs discuss the possibility that
their forecasts might be wrong, an
acknowledgment they felt they must
make as scientists. However, they
believed that humanity would be
better off if it thought deeply and
followed their suggestions, so that
even if they were incorrect,they still
pointed policy evolution in the
right direction.
Some of those famous
predictions from the scenarios:
* In 2001 roughly two million people
would die due to famine
related causes.
* The United States could only
support a population of
150 million.

EDUCATIONAL PROCUREMENT JOURNAL | SUMMER 2018

* The U.S. government would have
to levy "luxury taxes on layettes,
cribs, diapers, diaper services,
and expensive toys..."
They also suggested giving
"responsibility prizes" to couples
who went at least five years without
having children or to men who
got vasectomies.
In fact, famine has not been
eliminated, but its root cause
has been political instability and
climate change, not global food
shortage. The U.S. population has
more than doubled and is rapidly
urbanizing.
I don't think the Ehrlichs could
have imagined how swiftly the
change could take place, from a
producer economy to a service
economy. It is true that the
government has not levied luxury
taxes, but the efforts of China and
India in slowing their meteoric
population increases did include
incentives for birth control, which
are still in place today. The Ehrlichs
were successful in creating
awareness in the world about the
population issue. That awareness
certainly helped to create a much
better world.
This is a book I always
recommend to those entering
the field of sustainability and
climate change. I do it knowing
its shortcomings, but the lessons
are well worth the time invested in
reading this epic work.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018

Professional Development Notes
NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Training, Testing, and Incentives
Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Certification: Which One Are You?
Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - intro
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 5
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Professional Development Notes
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Training, Testing, and Incentives
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Certification: Which One Are You?
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 21
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 23
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 24
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 26
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 27
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 29
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0317
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com