martes, 25 de mayo de 2010

Chapter 3 - Struggle for Existence

In examining Darwin´s explanation for natural selection and evolution, one of his main arguments comes from species´struggle for existence. For if there was no struggle, then there would be no pressure to select the most fit creature. These ideas that there are limited resources that members of a species must compete for comes from the early economist-philosopher Thomas Malthus. His ideas are shaped by the fact that a species is only checked from exponential growth and population excess by the limited resources of the environment.

Thomas Malthus predicted that humans would someday come to the same conclusion - a fact that is still much debated as human growth has more or less remain unchecked since the writing of his book. However, some scientists say that the time has finally come and Malthus´predictions are about to come true... the culprit? Global climate change. In an article for the New York Times, Steven Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, examines the Malthusian principle that climate change will affect the world food supply to such a great extent that populations will starve and finally reach the "check" that Thomas Malthus so long ago predicted. However, as any good economist would, he first explores the potential for profit in this new world. First, he notes that at the same time as productive lands are losing food capabilities to drought and flooding, many other areas are gaining food capacity. He thinks that this gained capacity will result in much great production and increase the value of the land. He notes that a hectare of farming land in Ukraine is currently 5 times less than a hectare in Great Britain. He therefore sees the enormous profit potential for people willing to bet on not only the scarcity and thus food price wars to come, but on the very survival of the human population growth rate as we know it.

Zach Ming

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