Kevin Williamson at National Review addresses the zero sum thinking in The New New Malthusians:
But the internal-combustion engine may be going dodo nonetheless. Mike Fox, executive director of Gasoline & Automotive Services Dealers of America — i.e., the boss at the trade group that represents filling stations — recently told the Wall Street Journal that if the new Tesla 3 lives up to its promise, then his industry is going away. Tesla, which currently is building the fastest production car in the world and recently unveiled a new battery pack, intends to bring the price of its cars down from the $100,000 range to the $35,000 range. “If Tesla can deliver on its current promises with the Model 3, gas vehicles are history,” Fox said. “It’s horse and buggy days.”
The predominance of the gasoline engine is a minor question. But the major questions have a way of working themselves out, too. The Malthusians proposed all sorts of invasive and occasionally nasty measures to limit population growth: Eugenics programs often were justified on population-control grounds, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously made some pretty creepy eugenic arguments for abortion rights, that they keep down the “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” We didn’t do very much of that, either, but most of the forecasts currently predict that the population of the world will peak around 2050 or 2055, and will decline slowly after that.
That’s going to be hard on the Malthusians.
Technology renders scarcity obsolete. Funny how so many problems work themselves out not because of central intervention, but in spite of it or regardless of it. Government is becoming more irrelevant.