Re: poly: population singularities

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Apr 13 1998 - 09:42:01 PDT

Anders writes:
>> by Kapitza S.P.
>> linked from:
>> I'm not that impressed with it, so I hope there's better
>> work on the topic out there somewhere.
>Yes, it seems somewhat... fanciful? in places (and I have always had a
>hard time understanding Russian "explanatory" diagrams :-). But it has
>a few good points, such as that the demographic transition is not due
>to Malthusian resource depletion (it almost makes me proud to live in
>Sweden, the most well documented example of this - government nosiness
>at least produces useful statistics after a few centuries).

I'm actually not that happy to see claims I agree with made without
any supporting arguments and evidence, and in close association with
other work I don't think that much of. I guess I'm not of the "any
press is good press" school.

Kapitza takes on an interesting task, asking what functional froms could
approach hyperbolic in the region where the data points that way, and
become reasonable in the two limits of plus and minus infinity. But he
hasn't compared his chosen form to a dozen others I could invent, hasn't
really offered arguments in favor of his chosen form, and doesn't even
explain how he picks his favored values of the parameters in his form.

He says it is clear that we now see deviations from hyperbolic, but when
I plotted the data out on a spreadsheet, it's not so clear. And when I
did a quick plot of total world product, it's much less clear we've seen
deviations yet.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Mon Apr 13 16:52:21 1998

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