Marxist Theory on Population Growth Done by: Tasanne Stewart Stacey-Ann Williamson Imani Maxwell Anna-Kay Clayton
Causes of Population Growth Marx believed that the nature of economic relations in Europe’s industrial societies was the central problem for the world’s rapidly growing population. Marx dismiss Malthusian notion that the rising world population, rather than capitalism, was the cause of ills. . Marx’s argued that when society is well ordered, increases in the population should lead to greater wealth, not hunger and misery. In contrast, he saw that the problem was the evils of the capitalist system. Marx was of the view that this problem is only possible in a capitalist society and not rising world population.
Causes of Population Growth He believed the system of capitalism has the capacity to produce food and other necessities, but it was the unequal distribution of social and economic wealth that undetermined production. Karl Marx completely rejected Malthusian theory as it did not fit in a socialist society. Marxist approach in their resentment of developed nations who they claim consume almost four-fifths of the share of the world resources.
Causes of Population Growth He related population growth with present economic system and for him both were inseparable. Marx held that poverty and unemployment were not due to increased population, but on capitalist system which failed to provide jobs. Surplus population was the consequence for real production and uneven distribution of wealth and for providing jobs to only few persons. According to Marx, in no country of the world population increases on account of fertility but it increases only on account of capitalist policies.
Causes of Population Growth The capitalists make labour part of their production and steal something out of that. By installing labour saving machines a capitalist wants to have maximum surplus value out of that. As a result of this unemployment spreads, wage declines and poverty increases. He came to the conclusion that main cause of surplus of population was nothing else but wrong politics of the capitalists.
Consequences of PopulationGrowth According to Marx, because of population growth the bourgeoisie exploit the working class by suppressing wages and keeping them in relative poverty. Raid population growth has also witnessesed the depression of wages especially for the poor who depend on wages for subsistence. It also strains investment by diverting funds for the purpose of maintaining a lumpen proletariat (large body of poor people). AM NOT SURE ABOUT HERE!! Marx states that, Because the capitalist system fails to provide jobs Marx held the view that poverty and unemployment would increase despite the population growth.
Consequences of PopulationGrowth It is because Accumulation takes place why capitalists convert a portion of their surplus which allows them to expand more appropriate surplus value which will lead to further accumulation and expansion and so on. There would be a reduction or even a disappearance of the surplus value if their was a narrow gap between the amount invested in labor power and the value of the output produced by labor power.
Consequences of PopulationGrowth Marx believes that by installing labour saying machines a capitalist wants to have maximum surplus value out of that and as a result of this unemployment spreads, wage declines and poverty increases. Surplus population was the consequence for real production and uneven distribution of wealth and for providing jobs to only few persons.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom MalthusianMalthusians Theory According to Malthus, a population seems to always increase beyond it’s subsistence and it is "... one of the causes that have hitherto impeded the progress of mankind towards happiness" (Malthus, 1933:5).This cause is "intimately united with the very nature of man ... (it) is
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian Malthus called this tendency of animated life; the natural law and this is what he bases the principles of his theories on. He then goes further to say that the natural law of population growth is checked by another natural law; the law of necessity which restrains that growth within certain boundaries and keeps it down to the level of the means of subsistence.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian However, the law that forms the general basis of Malthus’ theory of population is the law of diminishing returns.Marxists Theory We must first established that Marx disdainfully rejected Malthus’ theory on population and as such his theory of population is in essence based on refuting the claims of Malthus. Both Marx and Engels; another sociologist, kept reiterating that they thought Malthus’s theory was an apology for the status quo. This is where the bourgeois economists reify social relations.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian More specifically Marx’s answer to Malthus’ theory on population is the principle of the reserve army of labor. He elaborates more on this principle in his analysis of the general law of consumption. The accumulation and expansion of capital constitutes the driving force of capitalism and it becomes possible only as long as capitalists can operate with a profit.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian Accumulation takes place when capitalists convert a portion of their surplus value into capital. The process of accumulation implies also a process of increase in the demand for labor. In actual practice, wages tend to rise together with capital accumulation but they never rise enough to endanger the system itself. For the classical economists and for Malthus in particular, the mechanism that kept wages equal to the "natural" price of labor power is embodied in the principle of population.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian Poverty and unemployment are, therefore, only the result of the workers natural propensity to reproduce beyond the available means of subsistence. Marx rejects the Malthusian solution to the problems created by the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system. In the process of capital accumulation the composition of capital does not remain constant; it changes and it is this change which is most important to understand the effect of capital accumulation and expansion upon the working population.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian From the perspective of its value composition, capital is composed of constant capital (value of the means of production) and variable capital (value of the labor power). From the perspective of its technical composition, capital is composed of the means of production and living labor. Changes in the technical composition produce changes in the value composition and this correlation between the two is what Marx calls the organic composition of capital (Marx, 1970:612).
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom Malthusian This is the general law of capital accumulation; the appropriation and accumulation of surplus value in the hands of the capitalist class leads to the poverty of those who are precisely the source of that surplus value. While Malthus supported borgseois ideology and blamed the poor for many of the world’s problems, Marx continues to press that poverty, hunger, and unemployment are all as a result of the inequalities of capitalism.
Ways in which Marxist theory differfrom MalthusianConclusionIn conclusion, when we look at the contemporary situation in underdeveloped countries, the Marxist critique of Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian analysis and policies does not deny the existence of the problems that stem from high dependency ratios and high population growth rates. However, it shows that to deal with such phenomena as population problems, overlooks the social, political, and economic structural factors that are the causes of such a population structure and processes. Therefore, as long as population control remains the main or only concern of the various organizations; which in one way or another are trying to foster economic development in underdeveloped societies; their action will only consolidate the economic underdevelopment that they are misinformately trying to solve.
Critique It is true to a great extent that in capitalist society there is surplus population on account of unemployment. But it is not to presume that under socialist system there will de no need to check population growth at any stage. Even in communist countries population growth is checked on the plea that no mother should have more children so that their mother so that their health does not deteriorate. In erstwhile USSR factory workers were provide contraceptives in their factories so that birth rate was kept low. If economic inequality is the main cause of birth rate then in these countries rates should not differ. Because these inequalities have come to an end. The necessity of family planning is felt in these countries.