Glenn Jacobs

More About: Day of Reckoning

Malthus was right...sort of

Chris Martenson is a smart guy. I just got his book Crash Course. Although I haven't read it yet, I'm familiar with his idea that various factors--specifically energy, economics, and the environment--are converging and will cause our world to change in short order. Well, that's sort of an understatement...we could well be facing a social, political, and economic catastrophe.
As Martenson points out, we have experienced exponential growth in a number of areas over the past century, including world population, water utilization, food consumption, energy consumption, money supply, and debt. With the exception of fiat currency and debt, this growth has meant that natural resources are being used at an ever increasing rate.
In the case of oil, the cheap stuff is pretty much gone. Oil is the linchpin of our modern world; it is the foundation for virtually everything else. The higher the price of oil, the more expensive everything else becomes. Without cheap energy, the rapid growth that we have seen in the other above mentioned areas cannot continue and will begin to collapse, possible exponentially as well.
Back in the early 1800s, Thomas Malthus predicted that the world's population growth would some day prove unsustainable. Luckily, Malthus turned out to be wrong, mostly because the Industrial Revolution resulted in an explosive increase in productivity, easily supporting the world's ever increasing population.
Despite this fact, Malthus's ideas have attracted a following throughout the years, including, unfortunately, lots of the bad guys. (As an aside, Chris Martenson is not one of these bad guys. I have found his work enlightening and crucial for understanding things as they really are.) Malthusianism is the central planner's nirvana: nothing is beyond their control, including life itself, because the future of the world and our species depends on it.
Quite frankly, that is complete bunk. The reason that we could face a Malthusian crisis is not because the central planners do not have enough control over the world's resources, but specifically because they have any control over the world's resources. If the free market had been allowed to function properly, none of this would be happening. Of course, ultimately, the central planners will fail to acknowledge that they caused the crisis to begin with and demand more power to "solve" it.
Now, you might ask, how could the free market deal with a problem like water consumption? The answer is the free market's price mechanism.
Water currently suffers from the "tragedy of the commons." It is considered a "public good" and therefore not subject to market prices. In other words, it is owned by everyone. As Charles Goyette says, what is owned by everyone is really owned by no one. Since no one really owns it, no one is concerned with the efficient exploitation of the resource, including conserving it so that the resource is not depleted.
America's aquifers, the wellspring of our agricultural production, are drying up. The reason is because no clearly defined property rights have been applied to them. Instead the government just hands down fiat edicts about the use of water from the aquifers. (How would one determine who owns the aquifers? I haven't the slightest idea, but this isn't the first time that a complex problem about property rights has been encountered.)

Likewise, look at all the government interventions in food. Part of what is driving food prices higher worldwide are the subsidies given to corn farmer for ethanol. Farmers are raising less of other crops in order to free up farm land for the production of corn. This corn is not sold as food, but converted into ethanol, an extremely inefficient fuel relative to oil. Additionally, land once used to graze livestock or raise other crops is now used to grow corn, often exacerbating the depletion of the water supply.
Another example is oil itself. Because of all the government interventions in the oil market, we have no idea what the real price of oil is. Oil companies are subsidized, taxed, and regulated to the point that it is impossible to determine oil's true market price. Now, we face a situation in which the oil supply could drop dramatically (and overnight if there is a problem in the Middle East) and there are no viable substitutes.
If the oil market were a free market, a rise in the price would be an incentive for entrepreneurs to develop new technologies, either to more efficiently use oil or to develop completely new forms of energy. But this process takes time and, while some progress has been made, it appears that we could be out of time very soon and be facing an energy cliff.

And the problems go on and on. The potential Malthusian catastrophe that we face is not a natural inevitability, but just another example of the silent yet destructive nature of the State.

4 Comments in Response to

Comment by David McElroy
Entered on:

Frosty: Again you attempt to snow your readers with simplistic mathematical implications that are unfairly and unrealistically applied, while strenuously avoiding all other data contradicting your own predetermined outcome.            

 You always speak as though the sum total of all consumption should be equally divided among all people as household consumption. This does not truly reflect reality.  Governments, particularly in military expenditures, procure, consume, destroy, and otherwise waste far more resources than households. Big industries come next. They develop, market, and vend the pollutants, throw-away packaging, etc. They dump waste products into the sea. Then the public is punished and taxed for cleaning up their messes.

People like you point to the shortages of water, food, and energy... while ignoring the fact that governments and NGO's are deliberately putting farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders out of business and shuttering power plants permanently.  And anyone who has even a basic knowledge of the hydrological cycle knows there is never a water shortage, although it is true many water sources are being seriously polluted and some local developments (with government planning) are drawing down water tables faster than they can be recharged. More intelligent planning, and industrial discipline, is needed in view of such practices, including fracking.

You ignore data offered by credible institutions that mathematically demonstrate the Earth's carrying capacity is much higher than our current population. It is very possible to feed, water, clothe and house billions more people with decent hygiene and energy with proper planning.

You keep insisting humanity will grow to infinity unless some demi-god like yourself stops the growth. It is more a matter of the type of growth that needs to restrained, rather than growth in human numbers. What we need to eliminate is aircraft carriers and destroyers, war planes, tanks, missles, spy satellites, and disposable products and goods designed with planned obsolesence. But as you have said before, you can't get the elite to change their practices, so us little people will just have to be routed out. Thanks for selling us out, you shill.

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Did you ever notice in all these writings - writings that agree with Malthus - that there is a little, two-letter word expressed or implied? What is that little two-letter word? It is "we."

This little two-letter word attempts to unify all the people of the world in two areas:
1. That all of us are going to feel the joys and pains of everyone else throughout all future time;
2. That "we" as a gigantic, massed, unguided, mismanaged group, somehow can't think for ourselves, and figure out methods around our problems, so we need some central LEADER who is smarter and more capable than we are.

Anyone who is taken in by either of those 2 areas, has been caught in a one-world-government that is seeking to satisfy itself at the expense of all the rest of us.

Take a look at what Wikipedia says regarding land area of the United States at As of this writing, the land area of the United States is 3,717,813 square miles. That's more than a full square mile for every American citizen.

Now, let's put this into perspective. A reasonably-sized apartment might have 1,000 square feet of floor space - 2 bedrooms and, possibly, 1.5 baths. An average middle-class house might have 2,000 square feet of floor space. So, how many square feet are in ONE square mile? Isn't it 27,878,400?

Let's see. If you had your own square mile, you could fit almost 14,000 average middle-class houses on it, and almost twice that many reasonably sized apartments (one level only). If you wanted to get roads and streets onto the property, so that you could connect every house or apartment building, you could reduced the house /apartment numbers by a factor of 10, and still get 1,400 houses or 2,800 apartments onto the land, easily.

Each of the above, 1,000 square foot, apartments could house 4 people reasonably well. And if you stacked these apartments 5 levels high, that gives you room to house about 56,000 people per square mile, with about nine tenths of that mile left over.

Now, let's see. If you used half of the rest of the square mile (remember, we are talking about only 1 square mile here) for farm land, it would be something like 12,545,280 square feet for farm land. Usually we don't measure farm land in square feet. Usually we measure it in acres. Wikipedia says that an acre has 43,560 square feet at That figures out to about 288 acres of farm land in that single square mile with another 288 acres for roads and parks and woodlands, etc..

Now let's see. If we wanted to stick all American citizens into average apartments, in average square miles, like the above scenario, how many square miles would it take? Considering that there are about 330 million Americans, we could do it on less than 6,000 square miles. How many square miles are in the United States? After housing all Americans like the above, we would still have over 3,710,000 square United States miles left.

China has a similar land area as the United States; their population is, maybe, 5 times larger. Canada has more land, but their population is only about one tenth of the United States. Mongolia and Siberia combined are way bigger than the United States. Yet Mongolia's population is under 3,000,000 and Siberia's population is suggested at less than 40 million.

You should be able to see the point of this whole comment. "We" of the world have not reached any kind of an impasse regarding population. Any suggestion that we have is pure b******t. In fact, we are so far away from a population/natural resource problem, that any thing that we might attempt to do do now to alleviate such problems in the future, will be totally outdated and useless by the time that the world population becomes any kind of a problem at all.

The whole population thing is being used by folks who want to subject you, through fear, to their control, so that they can suck as much labor and money off you that they can get away with.

Genesis 9:1
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."

We are so far from completing God's command to Noah, that we may never come close to getting it done before Jesus returns.

Comment by Frosty Wooldridge
Entered on:

 Dear Glenn Jacobs,

Malthus will ultimately prove himself totally correct as to population overload.  These quotes below bring it home.  Frosty Wooldridge

"The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct.  To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people, but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.”  Harvard scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson



"Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, , University of Colorado, USA.



Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “The world has set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself.  We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature. Nature is the timekeeper, but we cannot see the clock.”



"Somehow, we have come to think the whole purpose of the economy is to grow, yet growth is not a goal or purpose. The pursuit of endless growth is suicidal."  David Suzuki



Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

A lot of very elderly people never realized that Malthus and the State were only secondary problems, not until life nearly passed them by, that is. Now they don't think about Malthus or the State at all, to speak of. Now they keep asking themselves how they could have always been looking for answers to the secondary problems, while ignoring the primary problem. But, of course, now they are to old and sickly to start their research anew.

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