The world's population cannot increase faster than the food. The great increases of the last century are mere temporary phenomena due to the increased food supply from the Western Hemisphere and Australasia, and, after all, they constitute but a fraction of the world's population which has had a very slow increase.

The World's Almanac for 1903 says that the population of the world at the time of Augustus was only 54,000,000, notwithstanding the density existing in spots. By 1810 it had only increased to 682,000,000, and is now nearly treble that.*

The future increases, of course, will be enormous because of the possibilities of more food production, but the rate of increase will be small because the rate of food increase is not very great. Intensive farming can only proceed gradually, and where there are intelligent farmers. Unhappily, history shows that intelligent types leave the farms, which, the world over, are in the possession of the lower layers of society; the ones least able to profit by advanced scientific methods. The sea will eventually supply an enormous quantity of vegetable foods, now considered weeds, and fish will also be planted yearly like farm crops. Even the huge amounts of nuts now going to waste, need not wait the thousands of years necessary for us to develop the organs to digest them as a staple article, for machinery can extract their nutritious parts for us, but these advances must be slow.

The chemical production of food is another delusion, for even supposing we would have the fuel or energy, or could utilize that of the sun, the raw material must come from the earth. Prof. Ira Reinsert,*  speaking of the synthesis of sugar, starch, etc., says, that this requires substances which are themselves the products of natural processes. "Emit Fischer has, to be sure, made very small quantities of sugars of different kinds, but the task of building up a sugar from the raw material furnished by nature - that is to say from the carbonic acid and water - presents such difficulties that it may be said to be practically impossible. When it comes to starch and the proteids, which are the other chief ingredients of foodstuffs, the difficulties are still greater. There is not a suggestion of the possibility of making starch artificially, and the same is true of the proteids".

*Year

Authority

Millions in the World

1810.......................

Almanach de Gotha.........

682

1828.......................

Balbi.......................

847

1845.......................

Michelot....................

1,009

1874.......................

Behin Wagner...............

1,391

1886.......................

Levasseur....

1,483

1905....

(estimated)...

1,600

*  Science, January 1, 1904.

Nor can we use all the 28,000,000 square miles of fertile land, much of which will always be unproductive, because parts must be reserved for factories, storehouses, habitations, forests, roads and reservoirs. The 14,000,000 miles of steppes will only be partly useful, the 4,000,000 of deserts still less, and the 4,000,000 of polar regions not at all. Then much must be reserved for cotton and other necessaries. Of course, occasionally an invention releases some of the land, the quantity of indigo now manufactured from coal tar, for instance, would require 390 square miles of land if the plant were still used. The increasing consumption of alcohol throughout the world, destroys millions of bushels of grain as food, for very little of the alcohol is oxidized in our bodies. Universal temperance would increase population to the extent of this available food, but unhappily alcoholic consumption is on the increase.

When will the world be full? This question is often asked by those who do not understand the slowness of all these processes. As we will always be finding new ways of producing food, it is evident that the world never will be full, and its total population will always increase, though at a constantly decreasing rate. Even the exhaustion of our coal and iron will not alter the problem, for substitutes will be found. Ships will merely use stored power from the sun's rays or waterfalls, they won't disappear with the coal any more than they were created by coal. Sir William Crooke's statement that we would reach our limit in 1931 has been proved to be absurd.