The world marked a great triumph for humanity this past week: for the first time global population has reached 8 billion people, the United Nations has projected.
But don’t worry about a Malthusian population bomb. Birth rates have fallen precipitously over recent decades as incomes rise and death rates fall. The Global population is expected to stabilize.
That’s because capitalism is the best contraceptive.
More people on earth are living healthier and richer lives than ever before. Nearly two billion people have moved out of abject poverty over the past four decades. Productive and innovative people are “the ultimate resource,” in the words of the late economist Julian Simon. Thanks to a movement toward free market capitalism – until the last few years – world per capita income has grown sharply higher, from $459.10 per person in 1960 to $12,262.90 in 2021, World Bank data shows.
Meanwhile, world extreme poverty plunged from almost 48 percent in 1970 to less than 10 percent in 2015: