The resources of the earth and the techniques of modern science can support a global population of moderate size in comfort and security; but the optimum size is undoubtedly smaller than the world's present population. This is the seventh story in a nine-part series looking at the need for a new economic system. Previous installments are listed below.
John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org
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17 August, 2015 | Optimum population in the long-term future
What is the optimum population of the world? It is certainly not the maximum number that can be squeezed onto the globe by eradicating every species of plant and animal that cannot be eaten. The optimum global population is one that can be supported in comfort, equality and dignity - and with respect for the environment.
In 1848 (when there were just over one billion people in the world), John Stuart Mill described the optimal global population in the following words: “The density of population necessary to enable mankind to obtain, in the greatest degree, all the advantages of cooperation and social intercourse, has, in the most populous countries, been attained. A population may be too crowded, although all be amply supplied with food and raiment.”
John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Since the early 1990s, Avery has been an active World peace activist.
Full story …
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 6: Adverse Effects Of Globalization
We need instead to reform our economic system and to give it both a social conscience and an ecological conscience. Let us restore democracy! Let us have governments that work for the welfare of all their citizens, rather than for the enormous enrichment of the few!
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 5: The Threats And Costs Of War
Can we not rid ourselves of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself? We must act quickly and resolutely before our beautiful world and everything that we love are reduced to radioactive ashes.
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 4: Neocolonialism And Resource Wars
In addition to the enormous suffering, waste, injustice and ecological destruction produced by modern wars, we must recognize that in an era of thermonuclear weapons, war has become prohibitively dangerous. Therefore we need a new economic system.
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 3: Climate Change and the Urgent Need for Renewable Energy
One of the greatest threats to the survival of the human species and the biosphere is catastrophic climate change.
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 2: Entropy and Economics
We urgently need to shift quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy if we are to avoid a tipping point after which human efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change will be futile because feedback loops will have taken over.
Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 1: Limits to Economic Growth
It is obvious that on a finite Earth, neither population growth nor economic growth can continue indefinitely.