Social Choice in a Finite World

  • K. Dopfer


The principal hypothesis about the behaviour of the total-system has been propounded in the notion of ‘relative macro-determinacy’. The preceding analysis lends the general statement of ‘macro-determinacy’ a dual concrete-historical meaning. First, all variables (population, total economic activities, etc.) related to finite M aa -variables (land area, non-renewable resources, environmental carrying capacity) constitute ratios which follow a logistic developmental pattern in the long run. Second, the ratios which are constituted by the M aa -variables of the ecosystem and the population system are higher in contemporary Asia than the ratios at similar development levels in 19th-century Europe and North America. The term ‘relative’ assigned to the notion of ‘macro-determinacy’ underscores that the behaviour of the total-system is not absolute in the sense that it would be entirely determined by a unique empirical shape of the logistic curve. The systems which compose the M a -level are causally interrelated with the systems of the M aa -level. The M aa -systems have the capacity to learn, to act purposefully, adjust, respond. This quality, however, is subject to constraints imposed by the M aa -variables—the constituents of macro-determinacy.


Family Size Social Choice Population Growth Rate Social Utility Exhaustible Resource 
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  1. 3.
    For a discussion of the problems of discounting future utilities under exhaustible-resource conditions see contributions in H. C. Bos, H. Linne-mann, P. de Wolff (eds), Economic Structure and Development: Essays in Honour of Jan Tinbergen (Amsterdam: North Holland Publishing Co., 1973).Google Scholar

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© K. Dopfer 1979

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  • K. Dopfer

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