Paul Ehrlich, Genius?
Below is a letter to the Los Angeles Times from economist Donald J. Boudreaux
Three different readers write today in praise of Paul Ehrlich and his predictions of eco-mageddon (Letters, Feb. 18). Such praise is odd, given that not one of the many catastrophes that Mr. Ehrlich has predicted over the past 43 years has occurred.
The drying of the Aral Sea, alas, is not – contrary to reader David McClave’s insinuation – evidence in support of Mr. Ehrlich’s proposition that one of the greatest threats to the environment is capitalism. Here’s what the BBC reported in 1998:
“correspondent Louise Hidalgo in Kazakhstan says that the most amazing thing about the disaster is that it is no accident. ‘The Soviet planners who fatally tapped the rivers, which fed the seas to irrigate central Asia’s vast cotton fields, expected it [to?] dry up. They either did not realise the consequences the Aral’s disappearance would bring or they simply did not care.’”
How interesting that the one genuine eco-disaster mentioned as confirmation of Mr. Ehrlich’s wisdom was caused by the same institution – the powerful, centralized state – that Mr. Ehrlich advises we must submit to if we are to be saved from genuine eco-disasters.