Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the utterly dismal theorem

Boulding | First Theorem: "The Dismal Theorem"

"If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth."

Second Theorem: "The Utterly Dismal Theorem"

This theorem "states that any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the [technical] improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of [technical] improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery."

Third Theorem: "The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem"

"Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other then misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous."