Friday marked the passing of Jerry Pournelle (1933-2017). If you are not familiar with his works, you should be, for we are living in the world he predicted, contra the Malthusians.
The 1970s was a gloomy period to grow up in. Pournelle did the math and reported that we could survive — and, in his words, survive with style.
By Glenn Instapundit Reynolds, USA Today
I was a kid in the 1970s, which was not a great era to be a kid. We had Vietnam and Watergate, the Apollo space program quit abruptly, oil prices skyrocketed and so did inflation. Even a hamburger was expensive.
And while that was going on, the voices in the media were all preaching gloom and doom. Stanford professor Paul R. Ehrlich, in his book The Population Bomb, was predicting food riots in America due to overpopulation. A group called The Club of Rome published a report titled The Limits to Growth that suggested it was all over for Western technological civilization. Bookstore displays were filled with books like The Late Great Planet Earth that announced the end times. And if that weren’t enough, most people figured we were heading for a global thermonuclear war with the Soviet Union. It looked like we were headed for some sort of apocalyptic future in which Charlton Heston would be the only survivor besides a few apes or mutants.
But Jerry Pournelle never bought it. In his Galaxy columns — eventually collected and published in book form, and still in print — he actually did the math. The fact was, he reported, we could not only survive but, in his words, survive with style.
And so we have done that thing, and the world is a better place for it.