The Corner

Neo-Malthusian? Moi?

Jonah, do I think that there’s a problem with ageing societies? Sure, but, as I wrote, there isn’t a “crisis”. Increase the retirement age by a few years, and the bulk of the difficulty fades away. Whether there is the political will to do that is an entirely different question. I’m not sure what you are driving at with your second question, but, yes, overpopulation is a problem for the world as a whole (and thus all countries), but the extent to which it is a problem ‘locally’ will vary from country to country (the UK is overcrowded. Mongolia is not) and will depend on the resources, wealth and size of the country.

My ‘objection’ referred back to one element in something Iain wrote on Friday attacking the director of the March of the Penguins.

I’m not quite sure what ‘neo-Malthusian’ really means in this context, if anything. I am sure (as you are, I should think) that the free market is the best mechanism for providing for a larger global population, and that it has a good shot at doing so, but it would be a mistake to automatically assume that it can always deliver the goods regardless of the extent of the challenge.

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