The economic history of the world

A very good romp through the main points.

The carrying capacity for the human race of a world with pre-industrial agriculture technology is about 750 million. That is a lot more than the five million carrying capacity of a world with hunter-gatherer technology.

And do note that organic agriculture is pretty much that pre-industrial agriculture.

To have that organic world would require that 90% of humans currently extant don\’t exist.

8 thoughts on “The economic history of the world”

  1. Google one of Porritt’s little side-projects, the euphamistically named “Optimum Population Trust”, which is also cheer-led by Susan Hampshire. A quick trundle through their website has the distinct whiff of eugenics about it, and if “unworthy” people are *cough* “prevented from breeding”, who is going to separate the sheep from the goats? I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and say that people like the old Etonian Baronet and his chums won’t be first against the wall

  2. “To have that organic world would require that 90% of humans currently extant don’t exist.”

    Do you seriously suggest that the socialist environmentalists see that as a barrier? They can justify the most wicked acts because they have “good intentions”.

  3. Are you saying that ‘organic’ farming using modern machinery and techniques cannot produce more than what was done 100 years ago using horses for power and old plant varieties?

    I would hazard a guess (as a farmer) if all pesticides/herbicides/medicines/in-organic fertilisers were removed from production techniques then food production would a) fall by 50% and b) be subject to far greater swings in output due to animal and plant diseases.

    The population reduction required thus would be around 50% not 90%, though the swings in output could cause significant famines and deaths in some years.

  4. Basically, what Jim said. I presume ‘Pre-Industrial’ means before mechanization was able to open up the great plains, prairies, etc. It also means before we knew so much about plant and animal breading and health.

    However, yes, organic farming would cause a significant drop in output and thus the size of population it was possible to support.

  5. “Are you saying that ‘organic’ farming using modern machinery and techniques cannot produce more than what was done 100 years ago using horses for power and old plant varieties?”

    Organic farming does reduce the machinery of transport: no air freight or long-distance shipping.

  6. Cheer up, Flatcap. In the lovely pre-lapsarian world of primitive peoples living in blissful harmony with nature the murder rate is around 30%.
    So Sir Jonathan Porritt probably wouldn’t have it all his own way.
    (Compare your UK lifetime chances of a violent death, including road accidents: around 0.4%)

  7. One missed additional point is that organic farming also uses modern superior seed varieties; many of which were crudely genetically modified post WWII by exposing them to neutron radiation and cross-breeding out desirable traits.

    It’s quite simple really. You compare organic to non-organic yields. Wikipedia says organic is 20% lower. Therefore, a ROM of the lower bound of the carrying capacity of an all-organic Earth is about 5.5bn

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