Population Theorists


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Population Theorists - AS Geography

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Population Theorists

  1. 1. Population theories Malthus, Boserup, The Club of Rome and Simon
  2. 2. Thomas Malthus <ul><li>1766-1834. Born near Guildford! </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote ‘An essay in the First Principle of population’ first published in 1798 </li></ul><ul><li>Debatable whether the principles of Malthus two hundred years ago ( that were very revolutionary and controversial ) have any relevance to the modern world. </li></ul><ul><li>The world population in 1798 was at nine million people. We have now passed the six billion mark. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Core Principles of Malthus: <ul><li>Food is necessary for human existence </li></ul><ul><li>Human population tends to grow faster than the power in the earth to produce subsistence </li></ul><ul><li>The effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal </li></ul><ul><li>Since humans tend not to limit their population size voluntarily - “preventive checks” in Malthus’ terminology. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Malthus recognised that population if unchecked, grows at a geometric rate: </li></ul><ul><li>1 2 4 8 16 32 </li></ul><ul><li>However, food only increases at an arithmetic rate, as land is finite. </li></ul><ul><li>1 2 3 4 5 6 </li></ul>
  5. 5. and therefore he said…. War, famine, disease.
  6. 6. CHECKS <ul><li>Malthus suggested that once this ceiling (catastrophe) had been reached, further growth in population would be prevented by negative and positive checks. </li></ul><ul><li>He saw the checks as a natural method of population control. They can be split up into 3 groups…. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Negative checks (decreased birth rate)…. <ul><li>Negative Checks were used to limit the population growth. </li></ul><ul><li>It included abstinence/ postponement of marriage which lowered the fertility rate. </li></ul><ul><li>Malthus favoured moral restraint (including late marriage and sexual abstinence) as a check on population growth. </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is worth noting that Malthus proposed this only for the working and poor classes! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Positive checks (increased death rate) <ul><li>Positive Checks were ways to reduce population size by events such as famine, disease, war - increasing the mortality rate and reducing life expectancy. </li></ul>
  9. 9. 'J' Curve - Population Crash Model
  10. 10. Was Malthus right? <ul><li>There has been a population explosion </li></ul><ul><li>Africa – repeated famines, wars, food crisis, environmental degradation, soil erosion, crop failure and disastrous floods – so was he right? </li></ul>
  11. 11. But….. <ul><li>Technological improvements which he could not have foreseen </li></ul><ul><li>The increased amount of cropland due to irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced population growth as countries move through the DTM </li></ul><ul><li>Further Information </li></ul><ul><li>Malthus (1766 - 1834) </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Club of Rome <ul><li>Group of industrialists, scientists, economists and statesmen from 10 countries </li></ul><ul><li>Published ‘The Limits to Growth’ in 1972 </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Club of Rome – basic conclusion…. <ul><li>If present growth trends in world population continue and if associated industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime in the next 100 years. </li></ul><ul><li>The most probably result will be sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity </li></ul>
  14. 15. Is the Club of Rome right? <ul><li>Don’t panic yet! </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t take human dimension sufficiently into account </li></ul><ul><li>Human race is adaptable and innovative </li></ul><ul><li>Human responses have changed – e.g. alternative sources of fuel (to replace fossil fuels), HYVs seeds to prevent starvation in parts of Asia </li></ul><ul><li>Club of Rome - More info </li></ul>
  15. 16. Esther Boserup 1965 <ul><li>Boserup believed that people have the resources of knowledge and technology to increase food supplies. </li></ul><ul><li>Opposite to Malthus – she suggested that population growth has enabled agricultural development to occur </li></ul><ul><li>Assumes people knew of the techniques required by more intensive systems and used them when the population grew. </li></ul>
  16. 17. i.e….. <ul><li>Demographic pressure (population density) promotes innovation and higher productivity in use of land (irrigation, weeding, crop intensification, better seeds) and labour (tools, better techniques). </li></ul>
  17. 18. Was she right? <ul><li>Boserup argued that the changes in technology allow for improved crop strains and increased yields. </li></ul><ul><li>GM crops </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Green revolution’ </li></ul><ul><li>Further Reference: </li></ul><ul><li>Totally Explained </li></ul>
  18. 19. But…. <ul><li>Boserup admits overpopulation can lead to unsuitable farming practices which may degrade the land </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. population pressure as one of the reasons for desertification in the Sahel region (so fragile environments at risk) </li></ul><ul><li>Boserup’s theory based on assumption of ‘closed’ society -not the case in reality (migration) </li></ul>
  19. 20. Julian Simon <ul><li>American Economist wrote the Ultimate Resource in 1981 </li></ul><ul><li>Argued that the supply of natural materials in infinite. </li></ul><ul><li>As a resource begins to run low the price will rise so therefore people will invest worthwhile time and thought into producing technology that will: </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Find more raw materials </li></ul><ul><li>Extract more from what is already known to be available </li></ul><ul><li>Discover alternative resources that can replace those in short supply </li></ul><ul><li>Produce alternative ways of organising society to manage without that resource </li></ul>
  21. 22. In a nutshell <ul><li>There is only one scarcity: </li></ul><ul><li>Human brain power – The Ultimate Resource! </li></ul>
  22. 23. Issues – Was he right? <ul><li>Simons was a very controversial figure </li></ul><ul><li>Famously he bet Prof. Paul Ehrlich (author of &quot;The Population Bomb&quot;) that any $1000 shopping basket of raw materials of Ehrlich's choosing would be less expensive by 1990. The loser was to pay the winner the difference. In 1990 Ehrlich sent Simon a check for $576.01. </li></ul>
  23. 24. <ul><li>In many circles he was condemned as a neoconservative </li></ul><ul><li>His message that markets were doing a good job of protecting the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Also that growth does not reduce the worldwide standard of living were highly compatible with politically conservative viewpoints. </li></ul><ul><li>Further reference: </li></ul><ul><li>The Ultimate Resource </li></ul>
  24. 25. Copper as an example
  25. 26. Examiners TIP!!! <ul><li>Throughout population module you should consider how both Simons and Club of Rome models apply and you ought to be able to discuss them in relation to </li></ul><ul><li>Food Supply </li></ul><ul><li>Energy </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>As well as population change </li></ul>