X-Message-Number: 13117
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 11:08:43 -0500 (EST)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Overpopulation

James Hill asks about the problem of overpopulation, resulting from longer
maximum lifespans and other factors.

Currently on my web site at http://www.charlesplatt.com is a population
similation program that allows the user to vary birth rate, death rate,
and maximum lifespan, and see the impact on total US population during the
next 100 years. The program runs on any MS-DOS or Windows computer.

I wrote this program after I was unable to find any demographic authority
who had considered the possible impact of a change in maximum lifespan.

My unsurprising conclusion is that since the birth rate compounds itself
(more children have more children), it is always a more powerful
determinant of population than changes to the death rate, including
changes caused by a lengthened maximum lifespan. To take the most extreme
case: If maximum biological lifespan becomes infinite, while the birth
rate decreases to zero, total population would still gradually decrease as
a result of accidental death.

I wrote a short article on this subject which will appear in the next
issue of Shift magazine.

--Charles Platt

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