[Fuhrer group home] | [Physics department home] | [UM home] |

Food for thought: Kenneth E. Boulding's "Dismal Theorems"*

**First Theorem: "The Dismal Theorem" **

"If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth."

**Second Theorem: "The Utterly Dismal Theorem" **

This theorem "states that any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the [technical] improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of [technical] improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery."

**Third Theorem: "The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem"**

"Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other then misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous."

*K. Boulding, in *Collected Papers [by] Kenneth E. Boulding*, Vol. 2,
Colorado Associated U. Press, Boulder, CO (1971), p. 137.

BACK to Thoughts for the day...

[Fuhrer group home] | [Physics department home] | [UM home] |