TSW: "The advent of cheap oceanic travel for the masses presented people with a choice: socialize or leave. As a consequence, social movements in Europe were devastated."
BW: It's hard to tell whether you're talking about civility, population, or political "social movements". I have no idea what "devastation" you're talking about, but the various wars were hardly a consequence of over-population (the subsequent population grown didn't produce wars or any notable "devastation").
TSW: "As mechanization developed ... it became more and more obvious that there was no turning back."
BW: Why would people turn back from the obvious benefits of industrial development? For that matter, why would they EVER willing reverse any intellectual, artistic, or trade achievements that produced prosperity? Of course there's a "direction of history", for as long as people have sought comfort and convenience. When was that ever NOT the case?
I agree that Malthusian fears were simple hysteria, but it was the individual "free will" of scientists and the political liberty to pursue market innovations (particularly in agriculture) that provided the solutions to those problems.
I suppose you could imagine that the "free will" to fornicate and reproduce without limits is a problem, but the fact is that the more advanced and industrialized the country, the more likely it is that people will freely choose NOT to have large families. There are many reasons, but the primary one is that infant mortality drops enormously and it isn't necessary to birth a dozen children in the hopes that two will survive to adulthood.
You're arbitrarily taking pot-shots at "free will" without discussing (philosophically or biologically) what free will entails or why it produces effects distinct from those of non-sapient animals who act purely on instinct.
TSW: "As each country entered the early stages of industrialization, the rate of population growth increased; in the later stages the rate decreased."
BW: You're trying to fabricate boogeymen. Review the evidence above, indicating that population in Europe and the US had little if anything to do with industrialization, or the rise and fall of "civilizations". I don't know what you consider early or later stages, but population growth rates have been consistent for centuries.
BW: Your sigmoidal curve analysis totally misses all the relevant facts. It has nothing to do with the "carrying capacity" of Earth. ALL the people in the world could live in the land area of Texas at a density far below that of most major cities, while the rest of the world could be used for food production. The US and 90% of the rest of the world land mass has less than 50 people per square kilometer.
BW: In many areas of the world, it isn't a question of having as many as you "want", since birth control is not readily available. Free will doesn't mean fornication is free of consequences (children), but that people are able to make wise decisions about the risks of pregnancy.
Next: The Social Microcosm (Part 7 of 7)