Cornucopians vs. Malthusians

Blog, Climate, Ben Eisen

David and I recently used this blog to discuss his excellent piece on the topic of ongoing environmental and economic progress.  The debate between “Cornucopian” optimists and “Malthusian” pessimists has been going on for a very long time. This article from the New York Times provides an overview of the history of the debate, including a good account of the famous “Simon-Ehrlich Wager.” The piece also describes the applicability of these debates to the specific question of whether or not severe energy shortages are likely to cramp our economic style in the years and decades ahead. The best line is the last one: “You can always make news with doomsday predictions, but you can usually make money betting against them.” h/t Greg Mankiw