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The Population Bomb Hardcover – December 1, 1995

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The Population Bomb + The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568495870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568495873
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Nevertheless, the whole book proves that it's not the case.
Lubos Motl
In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote his book "The Population Bomb." In this book, he said that the earth had too many people.
I believe that that is something worth thinking about, even if Ehrlich does not.
Craig Kenneth Bryant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Mitch on January 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love it or hate it the Erhlich definitely succeeded in bringing focus on population related issues. As seen in the negative reviews posted here people have taken the time to consider the issue(s) involved. Any list of influential texts on the environment and environmental activism will include The Population Bomb. It also is a period piece that gives insight to the time period it was written. People are still moved by Erlich's premise and are compelled to comment even 50 years after the book was published.
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139 of 207 people found the following review helpful By William E. Fleischmann on August 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Paul Ehrlich begins the work that gave him instant notoriety (infamy) by saying: "I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time."
He spends the next 180 pages proving conclusively that such is not the case.
It isn't simply that his predictions turned out to be wrong in some of the particulars, but rather that they were so completely wrong that they will NEVER come to pass (though he unrepentantly continues to beat the same drum).
Ehrlich predicted that, by the end of the 20th century, human want would outstrip available resources; whole areas of human endeavor would screech to a halt due to resource scarcity; England would, in all likelihood, cease to exist; India would collapse due to its inability to feed itself; and "inevitable" mass starvation would sweep the globe (including the US). We were on the brink of disaster in 1968, and the future looked very, very dark. In fact, he asserts, "it is now too late to take action to save many of those people."
And yet none of these things have come to pass. Why? Because Ehrlich makes the same mistake that Malthus did: he confuses the concept of finite resources with the notion that they (and the demand for them) are fixed. This is the point that Ehrlich's detractors (most notably Julian Simon) have been making for decades.
Ehrlich did not foresee the technological innovations (the Green Revolution) that have been such a boon to mankind, or changes in both the supply and demand of various resources (such as those in his famous bet with Simon). But such changes were inevitable (far more than the catastrophe that he predicted). The entire history of human endeavor is adaptive. As resources become more scarce, their costs rise.
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49 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When one makes a major claim, such as saying that the poverty in Africa is caused by overpopulation and a lack of natural resources, then one should be able to provide facts, sources, statistics, empirical evidence, etc., to be able to back up one's claim. Because without such evidence, the claim has no merit.
When Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb, he did not have any evidence to prove his claims. And the reason for this is because such evidence in fact does not exist! For example, consider his claim that Africa is overpopulated. Well, the United Nations has kept population statistics for many decades. These statistics can be looked at by anybody. And according to these statisitcis, most of the countries in Africa have very low population densities. Despite this, Ehrlich claims that there are too many people in Africa. Hmm. Can anybody say 'racism'?
Another of Ehrlich's claims is that Africa does not have enough natural resources. And once again, Ehrlich does not proivide any evidence to support his claim. And again, this is because such evidence simply does not exist. If Ehrlich had simply taken the time to look in any geology textbook, he would have seen that the land in Africa has an abundant supply of many valuable natural resources, including gold, coal, iron, copper, aluminum, lead, diamonds, and many other natural resources. Again, Ehrlich didn't do his homework. Shame on him.
Another claim by Ehrlich is that Africa is incapale of feeding itself. What Ehrlich completely ignores is the fact that Africa has vast expanses of land that could be used to grow crops. In fact, the fact that Africa is situated at the equator allows for Africa to grow food year round.
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Format: Hardcover
His timing was off but he was basically right. People aren't freaking out as his predictions come to pass because they are part of the new normal of ongoing species extinctions, water scarcity, and climate change.

My one issue with Ehrlich is that he criticizes the U.S. for its population growth but doesn't mention the fact that it is entirely due to immigration (American-born women have had fertility rates well below replacement levels since the early 70s and yet our population has more than doubled over that same period). Has he become yet another cowardly environmentalist who is afraid to speak out against mass immigration. And if the environmentalist won't say anything, who will? Are we destined to become the next country with a billion plus population? And how can the developing world ever get its act together when it can use Europe and North America as a safety valve for its surplus population? Unfortunately, the peoples of North America and Europe, the majority of whom have enough sense to oppose mass immigration, have no say in the matter.
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