Target Population Level

The method for determining the target population level is similar to that used for target output quantities.

A population’s target level is thus the lower of the two population constraints: the optimum level and the ecological limit. If the optimum level is reached first, average individual net gain (ING) has been maximized, and it makes no sense to increase population further.

ENL sees increased population as a means rather than an end. Thus, once the end of maximum health has been achieved, further population increases would be irrational.

Conversely, if the ecological limit is reached first, further increases would be unsustainable, thereby violating ENL's ethical posture regarding future humankind.

The following figure depicts the first case, where the target population Pt is the optimum level P*.

Target population is the optimum level
Image Unavailable
The target population is the lower of two constraints: the population’s optimum level and its ecological limit. In this situation the optimum population is the lower of these two, and this is therefore the target population level.

This is the ideal situation: ecological efficiencies are sufficiently high so that the population's ecological limit is above its optimum level. The population level can therefore rise to the maximum achievable average ING without endangering the environment.

The next figure shows the second, less desirable, case, where the target population Pt is the ecological limit.

Target population is the ecological limit
Image Unavailable
Here the ecological limit is the lower of the two constraints, and this is therefore the target population level.

If the current population is below its ecological limit, a society can legitimately consider sanctioning certain wants.

If the ecological limit has been reached, and more want satisfaction is desired, there are two possibilities.

The first is the familiar option of increasing ecological efficiencies, thereby shifting the ecological limit further to the right.

The second is to decrease population, on the assumption that the current level is above the optimum. As with increased efficiencies, this creates ecological space that allows more wants to be sanctioned.

Thus, the population level can in some cases be seen as a trade-off with wants: if one increases, the other must decrease, and vice versa.

<prev linear thread next>

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License