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Factors Affecting Carrying Capacities of Nation-States

Catherine H. Maserang
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 32, No. 3 (Autumn, 1976), pp. 255-275
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629563
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Factors Affecting Carrying Capacities of Nation-States
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Abstract

This basically speculative paper explores some possible causal relationships among variables that limit carrying capacities of countries. The carrying capacities of human societies are limited by the same factors that limit other populations: their environments and the way they have adapted to them. In contemporary nation-states, the level of industrialization is a good indicator of a country's general kind of adaptation (or, "cultural system"), while its geographical size and its region of the world are useful indicators of some important aspects of its environment. Industrialization has generally expanded the carrying capacities of nation-states, but some highly industrialized countries (such as the United States and the Soviet Union) that are putting great pressure on their environments through the heavy use of nonrenewable resources appear to have lower carrying capacities than do many less industrialized countries. Data from a 124-country survey, as well as historical data, are used.

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