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Wednesday
Mar212007

The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)

Continuing our look into the future as presented by Paul Ehrlichin in his 1968 book The Population Bomb, today we examine his second scenario. Due to what Ehrlich believed to be over-population and inevitable famine the world has digressed into utter chaos. Again, this is excerpted from the 1970 edition of the book.

"In 1979 the last non-Communist government in Latin America, that of Mexico, is replaced by a Chinese-supported military junta."

"Only the outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of bubonic plague killing 65% of the starving Egyptian population had averted a direct Soviet-American clash in the Mediterranean."

"The third Los Angeles killer smog in two years has wiped out 90,000 people....The President's Environmental Advisory Board has reported a measurable rise in the sea level due to melting polar ice caps. [The Board] recommends the immediate compulsory restriction of births to one per couple, and compulsory sterilization of all persons with I.Q. scores under 90."

"Pollution and pesticide poisonings have supplanted cardio-vascular disease as the number one killer of Americans."

"[In early 1980] general thermonuclear war ensues. Particularly devastating are the high altitude 'flash' devices designed to set fire to all flammable materials over huge areas. At one point 15 monster fires rage in the Northern Hemisphere. Each covers an average area of 400,000 square miles - four times the area of Colorado."

"[Radiation levels] make two-thirds of the Earth uninhabitable. Pollution of the sea is vastly increased. Small pockets of Homo sapiens hold on for a while in the Southern Hemisphere, but slowly die out as social systems break down, radiation poisoning takes effect, climatic changes kill crops, livestock dies off, and various man-made plagues spread. The most intelligent creatures ultimately surviving this period are cockroaches."

See also:
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970) 12 March 2007

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Reader Comments (6)

"[Radiation levels] make two-thirds of the Earth uninhabitable. Pollution of the sea is vastly increased. Small pockets of Homo sapiens hold on for a while in the Southern Hemisphere, but slowly die out as social systems break down, radiation poisoning takes effect, climatic changes kill crops, livestock dies off, and various man-made plagues spread. The most intelligent creatures ultimately surviving this period are cockroaches."

Yeah, but think what it would do for Mel Gibson's career!

March 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTony

The tremendous inaccuracy of his predictions gives me hope that doomsayers of our own time are just as wrong. There are people predicting catastrophic petroleum shortages in the near future, and I don't think they're right.

March 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterScott Haley

a good thing to note in reguards to the doomsday prophets that we so often see is that there has never been a time in history when someone DIDN'T think the end of the world was near. Though someone will eventually someone will be right, it won't be because of anything but luck

April 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWhatyeah

IF you think about it for a second, you'll realize that most doomsday prophecies come around the time a given generation is declining but not yet out of power. You can see the same thing nowadays - Children of Men, anyone?

It has less to do with reality and more to do with inevitable personal death.

May 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

what happened to scenario 3?

October 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, Egypt *is* having bread riots, since the price of wheat took an uptick and the government's spending 13% of their GDP on bread subsidies.

So I suppose this isn't completely wrong.

January 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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