Bryan Caplan  

Bet Bleg

Is Ehrlich the Least Hansonian... Political Economy Lessons for ...

Who knows enough about the data to say how many of the 15 rematch bets Ehrlich would have won?

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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Mason writes:

Here's a chart of people living with HIV:

Shows a significant increase from 1994-2004, I'd but put my money with Ehrlich for this one.

Couldn't find any better information :/

Garrett Schmitt writes:

UN graph on page 5 says AIDS deaths probably peaked about 2005. Their error ranges allow for an increase since then. Deaths per year roughly increased 200% over the proposed period.

Garrett Schmitt writes:
2007 AIDS Epidemic Update (UNAIDS & WHO)

Mason writes:

at the risk of being too controlling, if you're going to research one of these, why not let everyone know which one you're doing so as to limit doublication

Gorgasal writes:

Cool, homework on Friday night!

I took rice (paddy) and wheat production for 1992-94 and 2002-04 from

Unfortunately, I was too dumb to find population figures, so I took 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 figures from and simply assumed constant growth rates in each 5-year interval.

Now, I have no idea how this comes out in the comments, but here's the result:

Rice 1992 1993 1994 2002 2003 2004
Production 528561136 529911023 538959160 568993429 584182853 607317792
Per capita 96.8 95.6 95.7 90.6 91.9 94.4
Wheat 1992 1993 1994 2002 2003 2004
Production 565324615 564505557 527046008 574684138 560285893 633302565
Per capita 103.5 101.8 93.6 91.5 88.2 98.4

In short, rice production per capita fell from 96.8, 95.6, 95.7 (1992, 1993, 1994) to 90.6, 91.9, 94.4 (2002, 2003, 2004) and wheat fell from 103.5, 101.8, 93.6 to 91.5, 88.2, 98.4 (though I have no idea what unit FAO used :-(

So Ehrlich was right here. Of course, one would need to think about whether with increasing affluence many countries moved from rice and wheat to livestock, switching to feed cereals... A better metric would probably be the number of calories consumed.

Mason writes:

just before the office closes:

Temperatures were higher 2002-2004

score another for Erlich

Snark writes:

FAO Corporate Document Repository



Global per capita fish consumption has increased over the past four decades, rising from 9.0 kg in 1961 to an estimated 16.5 kg in 2003. China has been responsible for most of this increase: its estimated share of world fish production grew from 21 percent in 1994 to 34 percent in 2003, when its per capita fish supply stood at around 25.8 kg. If China is excluded, the per capita fish supply is about 14.2 kg, almost the same as during the mid-1980s. During the 1990s, world per capita fish supply, excluding China, was relatively stable at 13.2-13.8 kg. this can mainly be attributed to a higher population growth than that of food fish supply during the 1990s (1.6 percent per annum compared with 1.1 percent, respectively). Since the early 2000s, there has been an inversion of this trend, with higher food fish supply growth than that of population (2.4 percent per annum compared with 1.1 percent). Preliminary estimates for 2004 indicate a slight increase of global per capita fish supply, to about 16.6 kg.

Score one for Simon.

Steve Sailer writes:

Ehrlich clearly learned a lot from losing the first bet.

By the way, one reason Ehrlich is famous is because he has a fantastic baritone voice. It made him sound incredibly authoritative on the Johnny Carson show. (Can you imagine a scientist routinely going on an 11:30 talk show now?)

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