Jarvis's Laws of Consumption

If I may be so bold, I would like to propose three “laws of consumption” which embody my observations and modeling of how consumption, population, and life expectancy are related.

FIRST LAW: The mass of resources consumed per unit of time (“consumption”) by an isolated population is proportional to the square of the size of the population and is also proportional to the average speed that resources can be transported.

SECOND LAW: The ratio of the consumption of an isolated population over one interval to the consumption over the previous interval varies with the ratio of remaining resources for the two previous intervals.

THIRD LAW: For members of an isolated population, the average life expectancy corresponding to a given per capita consumption equals the sum of the minimum life expectancy and the product of the generation interval and the (base ten) logarithm of the ratio of the per capita consumption to the minimum per capita consumption.

ADDITIONALLY: Life Satisfaction ("happiness") is proportional to life expectancy.


The following rule of thumb summarizes the consequences of the laws of consumption.

For members of an isolated community with limited resources to double their average life expectancy, per capita consumption and population size must be multiplied by ten, corresponding to a multiplication of speed and overall consumption by 100. As a result, the amount of time taken to deplete all resources (depletion time) will be 1/100 of what it was.

For specific calculations, see Longevity Function.


© Copyright 2008-2009 Bradley Jarvis. All rights reserved.