Malthus recognised that population if unchecked, grows at a geometric rate: 1 2 4 8 16 32 However, food only increases at an arithmetic rate, as land is finite. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Malthus in Detail <ul><li>Population increases exponentially whilst resources (specifically food supply) only increase arithmetically.
Eventually the number of people exceeds the available resources (food) and checks set in. </li></ul>
Negative checks (decreased birth rate)…. <ul><li>Negative Checks were used to limit the population growth. It included abstinence/ postponement of marriage which lowered the fertility rate.
Malthus favoured moral restraint (including late marriage and sexual abstinence) as a check on population growth. However, it is worth noting that Malthus proposed this only for the working and poor classes! </li></ul>
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>
'J' Curve - Population Crash Model Where do famine etc. fit?
The Club of Rome <ul><li>Group of industrialists, scientists, economists and statesmen from 10 countries
Published ‘The Limits to Growth’ in 1972 </li></ul>
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.
The most probable result will be sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity </li></ul>
Malthus and the Club of Rome – are they right? What evidence is there to support their ideas?
Esther Boserup 1965 <ul><li>Boserup believed that people have resources of knowledge and technology and that “necessity is the mother of invention”, thus as populations grow towards the carrying capacity they develop new ways to use resources (food) more productively.
Can you think of real life examples? </li></ul>
Thus……. <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>
Population and resource relationship after Boserup
Was Boserup Right? What about resource degradation and pollution? Can we continue to innovate to overcome these issues?
Ehrlich <ul><li>Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist, wrote his book The Population Bomb in 1968.
In it he warned of doom and gloom - resource depletion, species extinction and a human population so large that as a species we would face mass poverty, famine, starvation and death.
According to Ehrlich, the Earth had reached its carrying capacity long ago and we were living on borrowed time. </li></ul>
Simon <ul><li>Julian Simon, a University of Maryland economist, has written several books on population most famously The Ultimate Resource .
Simon thought that all of the doom and gloom of Ehrlich was nothing but nonsense. He claimed that resources are infinite in the sense that human beings will never run out of them for whatever purpose they decide to use them for.
Essentially, Simon considered humans to be the “ultimate resource” </li></ul>
The Bet Ehrlich predicted that the prices of resources should increase. Why? Simon countered Ehrlich's saying that in fact the price of resources would decrease over time. Why?
In 1980, Simon offered Ehrlich a bet. Ehrlich could choose any five raw materials he wanted. Simon sold Ehrlich an option to buy an amount of each raw material worth $200 in 1980 dollars. If the prices increased over the next ten years, Simon would pay Ehrlich; however, if the prices decreased over the same time period, Ehrlich would have to pay Simon.
Ehrlich chose five metals: copper, chrome, nickel, tin and tungsten.
Ehrlich had lost. He sent Simon a check and nothing else. Simon offered to bet again and up the ante to $20,000; Ehrlich declined.
Let's apply Simon's logic to another commodity, petroleum. In 1980 the price of a barrel of sweet crude oil was approximately $32. By 1990, the price had fallen to $20 per barrel. According to Simon’s logic this would mean that we have more oil than we had before and that we weren't running out of oil. Is this the case?
A Continuum How would population management strategies between these two extreme perspectives vary? What type of compromise perspective might exist? Eco-centric Deep Ecologists (Doomsters) believe that rapid population growth and increased levels of development have led to a situation where there are insufficient resources and too much waste and pollution. Techno-centric Cornucopians (Boomsters) champion the ability of humans to innovate, develop and adapt, as the solution to the issues associated with population growth, resource consumption and waste?
POPULATION DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES ? Sustainability
Further Reading <ul><li>Population, Resources and Development pp 78-81