In popular culture, there seems to be a consensus regarding the certain existence of a population carrying capacity for humans. However, in economics, there is much less certainty. In his 18th century work, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Malthus presented evidence for what he saw as inevitible limitations to human growth. Many of Malthus' contemporaries, however, held the opposite view: that human inginuity will allow for limitless growth and progress. The two arguments seem to be irreconcilable. Even now, there are still subscribers to both arguments, although the concept of a carrying capacity is much more widely held than it was 200 years ago. Between these two arguments, however, there is some common ground. Without a concerted effort towards global education, supporters of both arguments agree we will not be able to maintain any semblence of our current quality of life.
Eichengreen, Jacob A.
"The Promise of Perfectibility: Can Education Save Us from a Malthusian Trap?,"
The Undergraduate Journal of Social Studies:
1, Article 2.
Available at: http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/ujss/vol1/iss1/2