I’m afraid I can’t quite agree, because our societal system isn’t the only one in operation here. Nonhuman societies don’t have “population limits” as such.

Their populations are controlled by a feedback relationship with their food supply. (As their population increases, their food supply diminishes. As their food supply diminishes, their population diminishes; as their food supply recovers, their populations recovers—until, eventually, their food supply again begins to diminish, and so on).

In pre-agricultural human history, population increases (and consequent food scarcity) could be resolved by emigration into unoccupied territories—which is how the viable living spaces on the planet came to be occupied by humans before agriculture entered the picture as a way of defeating the feedback relation between humans and their food. With agriculture in play, our population no longer had to diminish when food supplies diminished—we just grew more . . . and more . . . and more.

ID: 761
updated: 10 Jan 2013