Konečná porážka Thomase Malthuse?

OSN nedávno přehodnotila své populační odhady. Na Zemi dnes žije asi 6,3 miliard lidí. Pokud bude míra porodnosti v relativně chudých zemích nadále sledovat tendence stanovené dnešními relativně bohatými zeměmi, jsme coby kamenem dohodil od maximálního zalidnění planety - 9 až 10 miliard lidí tu bude někdy mezi lety 2050-2100.

Poté se ale může počet obyvatel planety dost dobře zase snižovat. Gramotné, vzdělané ženy s mnoha sociálními a ekonomickými možnostmi v dnešních bohatých zemích posunuly porodnost pod úroveň přirozené reprodukce. Problém není v tom, že by tyto ženy chtěly průměrně méně než dvě děti - ve skutečnosti si přejí mít v průměru o něco více než dvě. Ale vzhledem k tomu, že mnohé z nich odsunují první dítě až za třicítku, skutečná porodnost nedokáže naplnit jejich přání.

Světová populace, která dosáhne maxima při devíti až deseti miliardách, ještě není důvodem k obavám z pastora Malthuse, anglického ekonoma 19. století, který prorokoval budoucnost, v níž se lidé budou množit rychleji než zdroje potřebné k jejich výživě a budou tedy vymírat po milionech. Zjištění, že éra populační exploze se možná chýlí ke konci, je skutečně poněkud šokující.

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