the ultimate limit to growth

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Sat, 5 Nov 1994 22:12:09 +1000

Read writes:
> I recall reading
> somewhere (where I don't recall) that the upper bound for population on
> planet earth is around 30-50 billion persons, based on the amount of land
> mass and the amount of sunlight energy received by the earth. To be more
> blunt: a growing population increases its size exponentially and outstrips
> anything less than an exponentially increasing resource base.

The ulimate constraint on population growth is when the surface of
the volume containing all the people would have to expand faster than
the speed of light to keep up. Even if the universe were infinite
and H sapiens does lots of clever things with nanotechnology it
wouldn't possible to maintain exponential population growth for ever.

I just thought I'd share that piece of trivia with you all.

I'm back from my holiday, and glad to find anthro-l thriving. (I've
got one more month's mail to read to catch up.) If anyone wants to
read about my trip (a month in the US and a month in Indonesia), point
your Web clients at

My project to put the archives for this list in a hypertext database
on the Web is still active; I promise I'll have it done by the end
of the year.

Danny Yee.