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Sustainable welfare and optimum population size

Author

Listed:
  • Theodore P. Lianos

    () (Athens University of Economics and Business)

  • Anastasia Pseiridis

    () (Panteion University)

Abstract

Abstract This paper is an attempt to estimate the level of sustainable welfare, namely a level of consumption that can be enjoyed by all future generations. Based on available measures of the ecological footprint and biocapacity and assuming an acceptable level of per capita consumption, we estimate the maximum level of world population, which will allow that level of consumption without damaging the natural productive capacity of the earth. Also based on a criterion of the ability of each country to feed its people, we estimate the maximum size of population for the fifty most populated countries. It turns out that a few countries are underpopulated (Argentina, Canada, Russia, etc.), but most are overpopulated (China, India, Japan, etc.). We conclude by emphasizing the need for an ecumenical effort to educate and inform people about the need to reduce world population.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore P. Lianos & Anastasia Pseiridis, 2016. "Sustainable welfare and optimum population size," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 1679-1699, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:18:y:2016:i:6:d:10.1007_s10668-015-9711-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-015-9711-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    2. Anastasia Pseiridis, 2012. "Hunger and the Externalities of Dietary Preferences: Demand-Side Considerations of the Current Dietary Paradigm," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 10(1), pages 1-23.
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    5. Matthew A. Cole, 1999. "Limits to growth, sustainable development and environmental kuznets curves: an examination of the environmental impact of economic development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 87-97.
    6. Theodore Lianos, 2013. "The world budget constraint," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1543-1553, December.
    7. Carleton Schade & David Pimentel, 2010. "Population crash: prospects for famine in the twenty-first century," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 245-262, April.
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    9. Theodore Panayotou, 2000. "Population and Environment," CID Working Papers 54, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    10. A. Hoekstra & A. Chapagain, 2007. "Water footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 21(1), pages 35-48, January.
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