2.1 Even the ancient Greeks...

In China Confucius (551-479 BC) suggested restricting the number of population because the environment did not guarantee sufficient subsistence to the ever growing population. Although the population of China at the time was only a fraction of what it is at present, the cultivation methods were so underdeveloped that the excessive population growth often caused shortage of food. As a result of this, people moved long distances to gain more living space.

The great Greek philosophers contemplated the significance of the number of population, and Plato (429-347 BC) put forth 5,040 as the number of population for his ideal city. In his calculations Plato was more concerned about the quality of the population than their number and based his ideal number of population on the fact that the figure 5,040 was divisible by all figures up till nine. In Plato's opinion, tax collection and military recruiting would be thus made easier.

Plato's student Aristotle (384-322 BC) brought up the idea of the relation between population growth and environment. He thought excessive population growth caused poverty, which was followed by rebellions and crime.

Before Christ, many rulers were interested in the number of population. The reasons for this were tax collection and military recruiting.


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