George Bradford (David Watson)
Bill McCormick
William R. Catton Jr.

Was Malthus Right? An Exchange on Deep Ecology and Population

Dear Mr. Bradford:

Thank you for bringing to my attention your Fifth Estate essay, “How Deep Is Deep Ecology? A Challenge to Radical Environmentalism” [FE #327, Fall, 1987]. I appreciate its extensive treatment of my book, Overshoot. Here are some thoughts stimulated by having read the essay twice.

I have no objection to being characterized in your essay as “a leading modernizer of Malthus” for I believe that our future would be much less endangered were Malthus more widely and more accurately understood. He never claimed human populations always and everywhere increase exponentially (“geometrically”) nor did he say nothing could prevent a population from outstripping increases in its food supply.