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In the late 1960s and early 1970s some environmentalists began making a sensational claim. The world’s ever increasing population, they claimed, would soon outstrip the planet’s limited resources leading to an environmental disaster. In these doom and gloom scenarios, a massive worldwide famine was just around the corner. The number of people would keep increasing while the amount of food available would stay the same or even decline. The result, the experts argued, …

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…they have ever since human beings began living in large groups. Technological upheaval and change will be the rule rather than the exception. But provided that democracy and freedom continue to spread around the globe, albeit at a sometimes incredibly slow pace, we should expect the 21st century to be a much better place to live to the same degree that the 20th century has been immeasurably better for humans than the 19th century was.