This section presents one of the three core analytical tools in ENL: its treatment of population.

The others are the maximization of gains from production and the environmental constraints on production and consumption.

Each of these subjects builds upon the framework and the basic concepts of production and cost and consumption and value as defined in ENL.

Because there are strong interactions among gains, environment, and population, a systematic approach is necessary to avoid errors and confusion. This section finalizes the conclusions of the other two core analyses by examining the effects of population changes on the achievement of sustainable well-being.

The treatment of population in this section is as a theoretical topic. What must be established here is its rational level — that is, a society's target population.

Population is also explored within ENL as a key factor in humankind's overshoot condition, and for the contribution that a population reduction can make in reversing overshoot.

Stated differently, the present secton sees population as an opportunity to sustainably increase health through the future application of ENL logic, whereas the focus on overshoot sees population as an ecological threat arising from today's application of capitalist logic. Please keep this point in mind as you examine the treatment in this section.

It is important to understand that ENL does not seek to maximize aggregate health, but rather the lived experience of individual health.

Contents of this section:

Are More People Better? From the purely economic perspective, are more people better than fewer people? Read on…
Ecological Limit for Population A society's population is supported by its economy, and a population's ecological limit is therefore tied to the economy's ecological limit. Read on…
Optimum Population Level Try this thought experiment: You and few dozen fellow adventurers have decided to establish a new society on an unpopulated island. What would you consider to be the optimum population for your island? Read on…
Target Population Level The method for determining the target population level is similar to that used for target output quantities. Read on…

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