Along with the post about cancer deaths, if all human illness was curable, how long could the earth sustain the current rate of human population growth? Of course this hypothetical would exclude war also. Is it possible that disease, famine, war etc. are natures ways of keeping us from exhausting our resources?
I think the real question is how long the earth can sustain the current rate of human population growth even with the currently deadly diseases. But, I don’t know the answer to either question. I tend to think your hypothesis is correct. Nature always includes limiting factors, to keep populations in check, whether it’s predators, disease, or limited resources. We don’t have predators, to any real extent, so it’s up to the other two.
That’s why space exploration/exploitation is necessary in the long run.
There’s also a question of whether the population growth rate would remain constant. If you found some way to eliminate famine and disease, the Third World growth rate would probably drop to something comparable to that of the First World, which is very nearly zero net growth.
Why would the elimination of famine and disease decrease the birth rate of third world countries? Are you saying that the birth rate of third world countries is intentionally to assure that there will be at least one or two offspring to continue a familes gene pool? Don’t birth control, religious beliefs and culture have more to do with increased numbers than just continuation of the species? I guess I am confused.