Optimum population This is said to be achieved when the number of people working with all the available resources, produces the highest capital economic return. Resulting in the highest standard of living and quality of life.
Overpopulation This is said to occur, when there are too many people relative to the resources and technology available in an area, to maintain an adequate standard of living.
Underpopulation This occurrence is said to be when there are far more resources in an area i.e. food production, energy, and minerals, than can be made use of by the people living there.
Theories on Population
Lived from 1776- 1834 He wrote “ An essay on the principle of population” in 1798 It was quite revolutionary and controversial in his time His essay if often times described as pessimistic and barbaric, as it predicted nothing short of a catastrophe for the human race. Thomas Malthus
Malthus’s theory explained
Crucial point of Malthus’s theory Malthus‘s theory was based on the assumption that the power of population is much greater than the power of the earth to provide subsistence for man. Meaning, he believed that the population would soon surpass it’s food supply. This, in his belief, could only lead to disease, high infant mortality, famine, starvation, and war. Checks were then necessary to prevent this.
Population, if left unchecked, will grow geometrically: 1,2, 4, 8,16,32 Whereas food supply increasesarithmeticallyas the amount of land is finite: 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6 Malthus stated that:
there would be a Malthusian catastrophe: And therefore he said … Population Food supply At the point where population reaches its limit of food supply there will be war, famine and disease. Food supply Population Time
Preventative and Positive checks Preventative Checks: Positive Checks: Infanticide Abortion Delays in marriage Strict celibacy Which all would lower the fertility rate War Disease Famine Which would increase the mortality rate and reduce life expectancy
Was Malthus Right? Did his rather gloomy theory have any basis in truth? Critics argue that Malthus did not foresee the advancements mankind has made in technology and agriculture. So is his theory relevant to today’s society?
Malthus’s Theory Applied Developing country Uganda…
Current population: 32,369,558 people Population growth rate : 2.69% Population structure: 14 years and younger: 50% 15-64 years: 47.9% 65 years and over: 2.1% Birth rate 47.84 births/1,000 population Death rate 12.09 deaths/1,000 population Uganda
The country is rampant with disease, such as: Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and malaria. There are little less than 1 million people living with HIVAIDS in Uganda, and 77,000 died from it in 2007. Life expectancy is lower than 55 years for both males and females. The people depend on agriculture, but the country is landlocked and has 241,038 km2 to it’s credit. When will this cease to be enough? 35% of the population lives below the poverty line. Uganda cont’d…
With the relatively high growth rate of 2.69%, and 35% of the population living in poverty, leading to famine, and diseases of all kind in the country of Uganda, can Thomas Malthus’s theory be agreed with? He predicted disasters and ill fate if population growth surpassed food supply. Is Uganda not on that very dark path? Uganda cont’d…
Malthus’s Theory applied Developed country China…
Current population: 1,338,612,968 people Population growth rate:0.655% Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.8% 15-64 years: 72.1% 65 years and over: 8.1% Birth rate: 14 births/1,000 population Death rate: 7.06 deaths/1,000 population China
The infant mortality rate is 20.25 deaths/1,000 live births Life expectancy rate for males is 71.61 years and for females it stands at 75.52 years There are 700,000 people living with HIVAIDS, however only 39,000 people died from it in the year 2007. Only a few other diseases plague the country and the threat is minimal. The country is multifaceted and has one of the best economies in the world. As such only 2.8% of the population lives below the poverty line. China cont’d…
With the largest population is the world, only 2.8% live below the poverty line. Diseases are not widespread and the few are treated effectively. There are no major wars, or famine, and the economy is booming. Was Malthus wrong then? One would think that with one of the largest population food supplies would be strained. Could China’s prosperity be related to another theory? China cont’d…
Born 1910-1999 Wrote “The conditions of agricultural growth” in 1965 It opposed Malthus’s views on the matter of population. It is also viewed as a more optimistic approach to the issue of population growth Esther Boserup
When population growth finds us pressed for food, people find ways to get more food production out of the land. They cultivate the land more intensively, they add extra manure, extra water and improve their crops. They invent their way out of the Malthusian crisis. Indeed, the Malthusian trap may even have driven the development of technology. She believed that a growth in population would stimulate a growth in agriculture and technology. Crucial points of Boserup’s theory
Malthus and Boserup A Comparison
A Comparison Malthus believed: Boserup believed: Food supply limits population size Population growth would soon outstrip food supply. This would lead to famine, war, and disease. Preventative and positive checks would be needed. With a growth in population people would find new ways of acquiring food. This would lead to technological and agricultural advances. There would be no need to reduce population size.
If Boserup was right, then the most technologically advanced places would be the ones closest to a Malthusian crisis. This is not so. As the places with the larger populations and near starving people, have low tech agriculture. If Malthus was right, places with large populations that are still increasing, will eventually surpass their food supply and become famine and war stricken. Or would have already done so. A Comparison cont’d….
The winner is...
You don't have to choose between Boserup and Malthus. They can both be right. Malthus is talking about the potential for a population to face limiting factors. Boserup is talking about overcoming those limits through cultural and technological advancement.