Reality Blind - Vol. 1

Energy Part 7 - Energy, Growth and Population

A Malthusian Perspective

Summary: 19 th century Reverend and philosopher Thomas Malthus famously observed that people like to both eat and have sex, and that the food demand resulting from this combination over time would grow faster than the Earth’s ability to provide it. In our current societ y, Thomas Malthus is famous for having been spectacularly wrong, and has been blamed for everything from “being a bummer” to inspiring Nazi -esque eugenics laws.

His speculations gave Darwin the inspiration to decipher the nature of evolution and speciation, the entire basis of modern biology:

“In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The results of this would be the formation of a new species. Here, then I had at last got a theory by which to work.” - Charles Darwin, from his autobiography. (1876)


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