Samuel Gregg Ph.D in answering Fr. Hans Kung's recent article makes an interesting point.
What Ehrlich and others who have imbibed the “overpopulation” Kool-Aid perennially discount is humanity’s entrepreneurial genius. The economist who did the most to highlight this point and discredit Ehrlich’s thesis was the late Julian Simon. In his book, The Ultimate Resource (1981/1996), Simon illustrates that the price-rises associated with increasing scarcity of a desirable resource generate incentives for entrepreneurs to discover more quantities of that resource, more efficient uses of that resource, and, eventually, substitutes for that same resource.
I have attended two meetings in our local diocese regarding environmental stewardship and they have always pointed to some evil business doing harm to the poor in their lust to make a profit. The story is one-sided (the horrible bottle water industry and agribusiness) and does not talk about the needs of the greater community including the poor that have been met. A return to feudalism would cause masses to starve, where today we have an abundant food supply. Our major problem is the distribution chain that gets interrupted by political corruption, war and natural disasters. Food is affordable and people do not need to spend their extra limited resources on shovels, seed etc. instead of shelter etc. Bottled water is a way to get water to areas of natural disaster, but it can remain on a shelf for a limited time. It needs to be moved in a profitable manner. People are not forced to buy it. The creation of the school lunch programs were influenced to a great degree by farm subsidies, two programs advocated by the social justice crowd. Yet, they attack the products that link the two. In a place like Santa Clara County, where the social engineers have pushed the population into areas of great density and have removed open space in a large extent from public use and taxation, where would the school lunch program find the locally grown foods and dairy in adequate supply without agribusiness of the Central Valley?
America has led the way in cleaning up its environment with its fostering of private sector innovation.We stand to lose our edge with the current government attitude that business and finance are evil. We are biting off the hands that truly feed us.