Land, Population, and Positive Feedback
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Land, Population, and Positive Feedback book
A look at the history of population growth and decline for Peru since the Conquest is highly suggestive. Significantly, it was around 1825, during one of Peru’s lowest ebbs of population, that Aymara ayllu lands were divided among ayllu members and Spanish inheritance patterns were introduced. Diminishment in the quantity of land per family only takes place when there are more than two children in each family. As every action requires and equal and opposite reaction, exponential population growth in the altiplano means exponential decline in land per capita. The introduction of Spanish inheritance patterns around 1824 set in motion a positive feedback process whereby the number of families owning a given tract of land at least doubled every generation. In stun, two positive feedback processes were set in motion almost simultaneously in the early Republican period—an imposed inheritance system that led to increasing division of the land, and population growth at exponential rates.