The Malthus Gun
WASHINGTON, DC – Science and technology changed agriculture profoundly in the twentieth century. Today, much of the developed world’s agriculture is a large-scale enterprise: mechanized, computer-controlled, and based on sophisticated use of chemistry and knowledge of plant and soil physiology. amp#160;
The invention of chemical fertilizers early in the century and their increasing use, together with mechanization and the development of high-yielding grain varieties, propelled the growth of agricultural productivity in the developed world. The Green Revolution brought these benefits to less developed nations.amp#160;
As a result, despite a tripling of the global population, we have so far evaded Malthus’ 1798 prediction that human population growth would inevitably outstrip our ability to produce food. Over the second half of the twentieth century, the hungry of the Earth shrank from half of its three billion human inhabitants to less than a billion of the current 6.5 billion.