THE UNSURPASSED ESTER BOSERUP

Weekly Insights from Sol Berkoff
Principal at Charleston Capital, Inc.

Take a look at the graph below. It recently appeared in the Financial Times.

7.8.png

This is not supposed to be possible. Thomas Malthus predicted rising populations would mean food shortages. He argued food production increases arithmetically while populations increase geometrically. In 1798 he predicted mass starvation was imminent.

Except - the exact opposite happened. Real agricultural prices have fallen as world population growth has accelerated.

What happened? Technology and innovation lead to dramatic increases in crop yields.

Did someone predict this would happen? Yes they did.

The unsurpassed Ester Boserup.

Born in Demark in 1910, Boserup was an economist who spent several years in Asia studying agriculture.

Not just in an office.

In 1965 she published a book arguing Malthus was wrong and that growing populations would mean more food, not less. She argued that growing populations OFTEN meant more food. She found evidence everywhere. Even in prehistoric times.

Today, most still disagree with Boserup. Malthus and his thinking still hold sway. Perhaps Malthus will ultimately be proven right.

We at CCM admire her courage in publishing that book.

She looked at data with unbiased eyes and spent time with farmers to gain true understanding. After looking at facts and mastering process, she was unafraid to attack a consensus that had gone unchallenged for 150 years.

She is an inspiration to us at CCM every day as we try and revolutionize small business finance.

We encourage you learn more about Ester Boserup. She is hugely influential in the realm of developmental economics -- specifically the role women play.

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/opinion/overpopulation-is-not-the-problem.html

https://www.pnas.org/content/107/51/21963.full

https://www.ft.com/content/cdd62792-0e85-11e9-acdc-4d9976f1533b