Feeding the world

Part I of the Special Report "Farming A Shrinking Planet," Oct. 21, is very informative and helps lay out many of the complexities.

In considering the question "Can the Earth Feed Everyone?," it is helpful to remind readers that English economist Thomas Malthus's key insight is a tautology: "If there are no checks on population except starvation and misery, then the population will grow until people are miserable and starve."

The corollary of Kenneth Boulding, author of the "Organizational Revolution," is also a tautology: "Unless technical progress itself leads to conscious checks on births - as it may do - technical progress in the long run merely enables more people to live in misery than before...." S. Hill, E. Hernandez, Las Cruces, N.M.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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