Our Earth can support a population of 100 billion people with higher material living standards than the developed countries have now, and be a much better place to live in for all. Some of you may find this an outrageous statement. However, bear with me, I will presently in the GrowthUnlimited blog document the reasoning behind the statement.
Area is of course an important limiting factor for population density and wellbeing. But considering that the total area of the Earth is 510 million sq.km and that in a 100 G world 99,9% of all people would most likely be living in cities with a average population density of 2.000-10.000 persons / sq.km, we would need about 10-50 million sq.km, which is from 2-10 % of the total Earth area, for city areas, which would leave ample space for food production, pristine nature and recreation (golf courses, cultural landscapes). Yes, I am consciously including sea areas too, as we already now are seeing artificial islands being built, and we can foresee a possible future, where big floating islands are being constructed on the oceans as centers for mariculture, solar farms and mining industries.
Many people may dislike the thought of megacities as housing places for a high number of people. Sure, I am not talking about slum city sprawl in poor developing countries, even if this may be a good first step in leapfrogging from an agricultural economy to a post-industrial economy. What I expect to see, are modern clean and green cities with good conditions for all. Think about greater Copenhagen (my home city), with all its opportunities and pleasures, expanding on both sides of the Øresund to about 10-20 million people.
The great advantage of a bigger population is the increased knowledge being shared between more people. People is the Ultimate Resource (as put by the late Julian Simon). The likelihood of small innovations and groundbreaking innovations on the level of an Einstein or a Mozart increase proportionally to the number of people living good lives, and these innovations are shared by all and increase everybody’s productivity and enjoyment of life.
Economy wise, think about a 100 G world with a GNP/Cap like Denmark. That would make for 3.000 Trillion USD global GNP. It ‘s hard to see what the World cannot do with that kind of human and financial resources.
Happy New Year
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen