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WSJ: New Limits to Growth

 WSJのMarch 24, 2008; Page A1にNew Limits to Growthが掲載された。人口圧力の経済への影響はマルサス以来、狼少年よろしく心配されてきた。

In the past, economic forces spurred solutions. Scarcity of resource led to higher prices, and higher prices eventually led to conservation and innovation. Whale oil was a popular source of lighting in the 19th century. Prices soared in the middle of the century, and people sought other ways to fuel lamps. In 1846, Abraham Gesner began developing kerosene, a cleaner-burning alternative. By the end of the century, whale oil cost less than it did in 1831.


A similar pattern could unfold again. But economic forces alone may not be able to fix the problems this time around. Societies as different as the U.S. and China face stiff political resistance to boosting water prices to encourage efficient use, particularly from farmers. When resources such as water are shared across borders, establishing a pricing framework can be thorny. And in many developing nations, food-subsidy programs make it less likely that rising prices will spur change.


Economists Edward Miguel of the University of California at Berkeley and Shanker Satyanath and Ernest Sergenti of New York University have found that declines in rainfall are associated with civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra Leone, for example, which saw a sharp drop in rainfall in 1990, plunged into civil war in 1991.

Bottom Billion Questionである。さて、FTはこういう記事を配信した。

WFP plea for $500m to avoid food aid cut
By Javier Blas, Commodities Correspondent
Published: March 23 2008 22:02 | Last updated: March 23 2008 22:02
    The World Food Programme has launched an “extraordinary emergency appeal” to governments to donate at least $500m in the next four weeks to avoid rationing food aid in response to the spiralling cost of food.

こういう局面でも経済と政治が関わる。人口と経済といえば、A Farewell to AlmsのNYT書評はここ


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