The Triumph of Population Growth

Environmental alarmists often repeat the Malthusian warning that human population growth is harmful to the planet and is unsustainable. In contrast, economists are often a bit more optimistic about human population growth. This course examines the relationship between population growth and prosperity, highlights how Austrian and other pro-population economists engaged Malthusian arguments, and demonstrates how humanity is our most valuable economic resource.


Recommended Readings

Barrows, Stephen P. “The Law of Population and the Austrian School.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 69(4): 1178-205, October 2010.

Bricker, Darrell and John Ibbitson.  Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline.  New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2019.

Fong, Mei. One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2016.

Goodhart, Charles and Manoj Pradhan.  The Great Demographic Reversal: Ageing Societies, Waning Inequality, and an Inflation Revival.  Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Malthus, Thomas R. An Essay on the Principle of Population, ed., Geoffrey Gilbert. Oxford: Oxford University Press, [1798] 1993.

Sabin, Paul. The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Tupy, Marian L. and Gale L. Pooley. Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2022.

Download course materials:

Course Years: