Neo-Malthusians and Cornucopians put to the test: Global 2000 and The Resourceful Earth revisited

Jonathan Chenoweth, Eran Feitelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


There is an on-going debate between neo-Malthusians and Cornucopians about the state and trends of the world's environment. Two key contributions to this debate were The Global 2000 Report to the President and, The Resourceful Earth, both published at the beginning of the 1980s and looking forward to the year 2000. This paper compares the predictions and analysis of the two reports with the situation in the year 2000 to ascertain their accuracy. In terms of predicting the future, The Resourceful Earth relied heavily upon examining past trends as giving the best indication of the future; Global 2000 gave somewhat less emphasis to past trends and also tried to analyze directly the factors that it saw as being likely to influence the future. Broadly speaking, Global 2000 was overly pessimistic, while The Resourceful Earth was more accurate in predicting that with many basic parameters relating to human existence the trends of improvement of earlier years would continue. Neither report dealt adequately with questions relating to adaptive capacity and its impact on predictions of the future.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)51-72
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


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