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An economic case against environmental doomsayers

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the New York Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The debate between those who advocate for and against degrowth has been reignited by a book titled “Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet”
• It proposes that human innovation and population growth, contrary to exhausting resources, could lead to greater prosperity and better solutions

🔭 The context: This book isn't the first to challenge the doomsayers — it follows in the footsteps of renowned thinkers like Angus Deaton, Steven Pinker, and Paul Romer
• The narrative showcases the benefits of technological progress, highlighting how humanity has become more resource-efficient

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The authors argue that resources grow more abundant due to innovation and efficient use, driven in part by population growth
• Their data shows significant decreases in the "time price" of many commodities — how much work time it takes to earn the money to buy them — suggesting that humanity's ability to adapt and innovate makes the planet's resources more accessible over time

⏭️ What's next: While the authors remain optimistic about human innovation offsetting resource limitations, they’ve faced criticism for downplaying climate change and inequality
• Critics argue that they overly simplify issues and sometimes cast environmentalists in an unfairly negative light

💬 One quote: "It is our contention that resources grow more abundant, and not in spite of population growth but (in large part) because of it.” (Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley, authors of Superabundance)

📈 One stat: Between 1919 to 2019, the resource abundance of food for U.S. blue-collar workers surged by 1,032%, while the population grew 212%

Click for more news covering the latest on degrowth

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