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Old 06-14-2020, 08:31 PM   #21
Rupert
 
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

Seeing as it has been, if you check across Earth's history, Earth needs Affinity 9 for some tech levels. For most, only just before a TL boundary is crossed, so you could argue that it was over-populated slightly for a while at these points (and has Affinity 8), but for others that doesn't work. Affinity 10 is only needed now, and late in TL0 if you want to avoid over-population, if I recall my sheet's results correctly.
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:15 AM   #22
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

Actually, we are probably on an Affinity 8 world with 200% overpopulation (there is really no indication that the Earth has a RVM above +0). Carrying capacity is for sustainable population, and deforestation, desertification, global warming, mass species extinction, etc. indicate that we are far beyond a sustainable population. Anyway, we evolved for a radically different world than the one we inhabit now, a world dominated by ice sheets, where the sea levels were 300 feet lower, and where multiple hominid species lived together. We are an adaptable species, but our ideal world is cooler than the one we inhabit now.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:21 AM   #23
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

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Actually, we are probably on an Affinity 8 world with 200% overpopulation (there is really no indication that the Earth has a RVM above +0).
There's no indication it doesn't have RVM +1 or better either.

If Earth is only Affinity 8 we've been running an unsustainable population for centuries, or even millennia. Affinity 9 is a possibility though - that way the population's been just under the sustainable level for much of human history, and has only become unsustainable fairly recently.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:29 AM   #24
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

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I agree. The Earth is a TL8 society at 3x its carrying capacity (and merrily breeding itself to 4x). This is why we are experience global warming, mass extinctions, crushing poverty, etc.
I don't think that last part can be said to be really accurate. Up until the substantial economic hit of the pandemic, at least, Earth was experiencing a sustained worldwide decrease in absolute poverty and specifically in hunger: Not merely in proportion of the population experiencing either but in absolute numbers doing so, even as total population climbed. There's not much point in saying "A is the underlying cause of B" if B is not in fact present.

The Simon-Ehrlich wager might also be relevant.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:35 AM   #25
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

How would you explain all of the scale, scope, and speed of the human-caused environmental problems? It is not that human civilization cannot deal with them through investment and technology, it is that they are occurring in the first place that is the sign of exceeding carrying capacity. If we were not exceeding the carrying capacity, we would not be dealing with human-caused environmental problems.

We can also use economics to determine overpopulation. The global per capita nominal income was ~$10,000 in 2017, which is less than one-third of the per capita income suggested for TL8 in Space, which us pretty close to what it should be for a population of 7.5 billion. If Earth possessed Affinity 9, it would have a carrying capacity of 5 billion people and the per capita income would be $23,250. If Earth possessed Affinity 10, it would have a carrying capacity of 10 billion people and the per capita income would be $43,400.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:52 AM   #26
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

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We can also use economics to determine overpopulation. The global per capita nominal income was ~$10,000 in 2017, which is less than one-third of the per capita income suggested for TL8 in Space, which us pretty close to what it should be for a population of 7.5 billion. If Earth possessed Affinity 9, it would have a carrying capacity of 5 billion people and the per capita income would be $23,250. If Earth possessed Affinity 10, it would have a carrying capacity of 10 billion people and the per capita income would be $43,400.
Not all of Earth's population is living at TL8.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:00 AM   #27
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Not all of Earth's population is living at TL8.
Almost all of it is. There's a difference between being primitive and being poor.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:01 AM   #28
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

With rare exception, everyone is TL8 by now, the lack of infrastructure is a sign of exceeding carrying capacity, as the resulting poverty makes it difficult to afford the appropriate investment, not a sign of low TL. Everyone has access to smartphones or cell phones, you can get used ones from 20 years ago for less than 1% their original prices anywhere in the developing world. The global digital population was over 59%, meaning that three-fifths of human have regular Internet access. Of the rest, the vast majority usually have 2000s equivalent cell phones, benefit from modern antibiotics for themselves and their farm animals, and otherwise benefit from TL8 technology (even if it is 2000s rather than 2020 gear).
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:06 AM   #29
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

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I don't think that last part can be said to be really accurate. Up until the substantial economic hit of the pandemic, at least, Earth was experiencing a sustained worldwide decrease in absolute poverty and specifically in hunger: Not merely in proportion of the population experiencing either but in absolute numbers doing so, even as total population climbed. There's not much point in saying "A is the underlying cause of B" if B is not in fact present.
In many places that is because the average age of the population is going up - i.e. more of it is in the productive part of their lives. In fact the average number of children per woman globally has dropped down to something pretty close to 2 (i.e. replacement) for new mothers - it's 2.4 even for all women, down from about 2.8 as recently as 20 years ago. The population is still increasing only because there were *fewer people* in the past, so the number of people in the older age cohorts is low for the numbers in the younger ones - that is only because the population was recently not in equilibrium.

Earth's population dynamics for the last century or so are definitely not the equilibrium case that ecological carrying capacity assumes. The debate is over whether that's a sign the carrying capacity increased, resulting an S curve step function, a temporary perturbation that will result in a post J curve crash, or something in between.
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:10 PM   #30
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Default Re: GURPS Space: Carrying Capacity

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't think that last part can be said to be really accurate. Up until the substantial economic hit of the pandemic, at least, Earth was experiencing a sustained worldwide decrease in absolute poverty and specifically in hunger: Not merely in proportion of the population experiencing either but in absolute numbers doing so, even as total population climbed. There's not much point in saying "A is the underlying cause of B" if B is not in fact present.

The Simon-Ehrlich wager might also be relevant.
It's worth remembering that Gurps Space offers a trade-off. If you exceed carrying capacity then you can either settle for a lower typical income or you can barrel on until your civilization collapses in resource depletion and ecological catastrophe. Of course that latter outcome can be averted if you manage to make it to a higher tech level before the hammer comes down.
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