[ExI] Human population growth before 1800 CE

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 21 20:07:53 UTC 2009

--- On Tue, 4/21/09, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > --- On Tue, 4/21/09, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >> Before 1800 all societies, including England,
> were
> >> Malthusian.
> >> The average man or woman had 2 surviving children.
> Such
> >> societies were also Darwinian. Some
> reproductively
> >> successful
> >> groups produced more than 2 surviving children,
> increasing
> >> their
> >> share of the population, while other groups
> produced less,
> >> so that
> >> their share declined.
> >
> > Do you mean that before 1800 CE, the human population
> was stable -- never rising or falling?  That there pretty
> much the same number of humans from the beginning of the
> species until 1800 CE?
> The quoted material is Dr. Clark's, not mine. 

Oh, but you do realize -- and your further quote from Clark's site seems to show he realize -- human population grew before 1800 CE (Better to specify CE here, no?) and there was a definite upward trend in human population.  Granted, this was slow and started to climb -- and climb more rapidly following the Agricultural Revolution* and then the Industrial Revolution -- and certainly after 1800 CE.  (It seems from your other quotes that he was being a little fuzzy in "The average man or woman had 2 surviving children."  2.005 is greater than 2 and would allow, given enough time, for population to trend upward.  I'm not sure this number is correct or that it held exactly for long spans of history.  My guess is that there were upward spurts here and there followed by stabilization at some rate slightly greater than 2 -- viz., slightly greater than zero growth -- but this is not my field and I've not studied the matter closely.)



*  Some might argue that this meant more people but living at a lower overall standard -- judged in leisure time and perhaps certain types of material per person.  I've read arguments that pre-agricultural peoples  had more leisure and are better off than agricultural peoples -- and that it was sheer numbers that drove the latter to replace the former.  Then again, reading Keeley's _War before Civilization_ and work on human domestication -- er, gracilation :) it seems that pre-agricultural societies might have spent a lot more time in violent confrontations...  Of course, it's subjective whether you prefer, say, a grain-based diet and basically peaceful, settled living vs. a non-grain diet and basically violent, nomadic living.  :)


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