Darcy McMaughan, Rachel Edwards, and Bita Kash
The Malthusian Catastrophe describes a world in which unchecked population growth outstrips the resources needed for survival. Malthus’ theory reverberates in the current debate over the economic consequences of population aging. As American society faces turbulent socio-economic changes there is resurgence of unease over the increasing number of older adults. The Malthusian Catastrophe has become a Methusian Catastrophe. Some predict the eventual bankruptcy of social systems as the growing number of older adults disrupts the dependency ratio and bleeds the economy dry at the expense of others, notably children and young, working adults. Pitting older adults against younger individuals creates a zero-sum fallacy, and may further marginalize vulnerable older adults. Instead of scapegoating older adults, we should look towards policies that acknowledge and respect the diversity of the American population.