Re: Population Limited by Territoriality?

4 Dec 1994 19:56 CST

In article <>, (McCarthy John) writes...
>Some demographers have expressed puzzlement about the fact that
>English population exploded at the time of the industrial revolution
>when no improvement in medicine or public health had yet been created.

Is this one of your posts against "arguments from ideology" John?

Population increase is dependent on resource availability. The industrial
revolution created more jobs thus more prosperity so the population naturally
increased. I don't know what demographers expressed puzzlement over this? I
actually had a class in demography and the only thing I remember is the teacher
hammering through her assertion that humans only reproduce if it is an
"investment" and not if it is a "consumption".

For instance, in agricultural societies a child is an investment since it can
help with chores, growing of crops, etc. In an inner-city slum a child can be
an investment if the woman believes that it may cause the father to support
them. However, according to my professor (and I have no reason to not believe
her) humans will NOT have a child if it is only going to cost them. If the
agriculturalists are in the middle of a prolonged drought and they already have
a number of mouths to feed they will do whatever it takes to not have any more.

Before you go applying this information to arguments for welfare reform, I feel
compelled to point out that capitalism is not a perfect system (nor is any
other) and we must not forget about the roughly six percent of the U.S.
population that is currently unemployed for STRUCTURAL reasons.

>I apologize for proposing an idea outside of my own field of computer
>science and for not knowing what previous literature on it there might
>be. I promise to read two books relevant to the subject if some are

No apologies needed, thats what this list is for. :)

If you can find it, _The Demographic Structure and Evolution of a Peasant
System: The Guatemalan Population_ by John D. Early is a good book. It deals
with some interesting political consequences of "undernumeration".

In Solidarity,

james b.