There is a fundamental difference between the physiological capacity for reproduction and actual reproduction.

Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies

Frédéric Bastiat here renders unto Malthus what is Malthus’ (while noting that others before him had perceived the phenomenon since Aristotle) when he writes: “Population tends to remain on a level with the means of subsistence.” He recognises the legitimacy of theorising ceteris paribus but warns us about the differences that may exist between theory and reality, including when a theory is sane and logical. As Thomas Sowell says: “Reality is not an option”. However, reality is complex and it is therefore impossible for a theory to take into account all the parameters of life. Hence, it is possible to anticipate a number of phenomena without being possible to predict them with certainty.

Malthus’ conclusion was too hasty as is the one nowadays coming from “scientists” who predict the upcoming Armageddon, from the one coming in 2020 because of covid until the destruction of the planet within the next five years, be it because of overpopulation, concentration of CO2 or the average temperature of the globe. In the same way that Frédéric Bastiat respects the analysis from Malthus, we should be able to respect the analysis of those who predict a bleak future; however, it is not absolutely necessary to swallow their conclusions without discussion. Of course, those who conclude before they analyse and manipulate their models in order to support their conclusion deserve to be exposed and then ignored for the fraudsters they are.

Other quotes from Population:
Malthus – Ignorance – Reality – Prevention – Hubris – Wealth

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