What is the minimum number of people you need in order to maintain (not necessarily to extend) our current level of technological civilization?Stross expects the answer to fall between 100 million and 1 billion. A few commenters question his upper limit, which is based on the population of industrialized nations, because those nations exploit the rest of the world for its labor and natural resources. But most commenters question his lower limit, some expecting that even 1 million individuals (with the first generation properly selected) might be enough to be technologically self-sustaining.
I think a more interesting question is: what is the minimum number of people you need in order to maintain our current way of life?
I don't think a technological civilization can exist without, you know, civilization. And civilization means much more than technology. It also means janitors, politicians, beat cops, caretakers, librarians, athletes, judges, rock stars, journalists, and maybe even bloggers.