Did Wrong Man Win 'The Population Bomb' Bet?

Technology might not bail us out if birth rates don't fall more.

Don't count on Green Revolution 2.0.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

If you ever read science fiction from 1960s and 1970s, you would have come across a lot of story lines that focused on rampant overpopulation, starvation and resource constraints. That seems outdated today -- a little bit of retro-futurism, like the flying cars that we never ended up getting. But to people in the '70s, the idea of a massive population-driven resource shortage and environmental catastrophe didn’t seem so far-fetched. In the 1960s, the global fertility rate -- the number of children a woman can be expected to have in her lifetime -- still stood at five, which if left unchanged would surely lead to exactly the kind of catastrophe that science-fiction authors were imagining. 

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