Planet Gore

Al’s Other Problems

It looks like Al has decided that the oceans boiling is not enough of a problem for a great man to be tackling. Great men, of course, require great issues to tackle, otherwise, what is greatness for?

In an interview with the Telegraph we’re told that he has added to his list of concerns:
His famous slide show has moved on. It now includes other “inconvenient truths,” he has been writing about for 30 years, such as the population explosion, the growth of destructive fishing technologies and the destruction of rainforests and other habitats.
There is nothing, nothing at all, odd about a father of four concerning himself with the issue of “excessive” population.
Fortunately, the three problems mentioned there have simple solutions. Population, for example, has already been solved. Look at the U.N. projections and you’ll see that the peak is expected in 2050 and then a falling away, back down to the 7 billion or so level by 2100. Whatever it is that we needed to do has already been done.
What was needed is that people got rich. Rich in the wider sense, that child mortality falls, lifespans lengthen, options and opportunities other than pumping out more children open up (and no, it isn’t contraception either, 90% of the change in fertility rates comes from changes in desired fertility, not the availability or not of contraception.) and thus the birth rate falls.
And how did people get rich? Globalization and the spread of liberal (in the classical sense) capitalism.
Fishing, forests and habitats have similarly well known solutions, also part of that liberally capitalist toolbox. Property rights: when people own things they don’t destroy them, it’s only when they are owned communally and thus subject to the Commons Tragedy that they are plundered.
So this is actually very good news indeed, Al’s slideshow will, if he actually understands these points, now be campaigning for the further spread of trade, free markets and property rights. I look forward to the next movie educating the blue states.

Tim Worstall is an occasional Times contributor and freelance writer whose work has appeared in TCS Daily, The Press Gazette, The Daily Telegraph, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications.


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