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Peak Population

Chrome Hill, UK Peak District, taken by tricky ™

Chrome Hill, UK Peak District, taken by tricky ™

Peak population is the thought that there is a maximum number of people that the planet can sustain. The thought is that our usage of resources will get to a point at which ability for farming, both literally and figuratively, will be surpassed by demand. Science fiction suggests that we simply will begin to harvest those resources beyond the planet; that science will provide solutions to our problems.

I think that peak population will not be reached (if it has not been reached already) due to resource scarcity, but due to human economic forces. The idea here, is that the services and manufacturing activities of civilization will reach a point where so much is made and performed, that unemployment will increase as a result of competitiveness resulting in increased efficiency. After this point, society will continue to evolve, however population will decrease to provide.

Think of it in a closed environment, such as a school. If the ability for teachers to imbue knowledge in their students increases, and the amount of knowledge stays relatively the same, then there are less teachers needed for the same amount of students. If this efficiency continues to increase, at some point it outpaces the growth of students. The teachers meanwhile, become unemployed, and this becomes a dept on the students and remaining teachers, which will reach a point where the students cannot overcome the dept. The result, is that the population cannot grow.

Furthermore, this point can only be pushed away toward the point at which resource scarcity exists, as a result of increased efficiency leading to the ability for more, less efficient services to exist. The two points will never converge though, because at some point, people will not be able to consume enough services to make up the difference.

When would I expect peak population to get here? I have no idean but if I where to pull a number out of a hat, I’d say sometime in the next 40 years. Hopefully that makes sence; it does to me…

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