CAPE Sociologymarxonpopulation


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CAPE Sociologymarxonpopulation

  1. 1. SOCIOLOGY A Lecture Series At Wolmer’s Trust High School for Boys 2011 Upper 6 Social Science Marxism - A view of the Theory of Population Lecture 2 September 19, 2011 Delivered by Christopher Humber
  2. 2. IMPORTANT POINTS FROM MARXISM • In a capitalist system the 'reserve army' of workers created by the machines is a constant drag on wages and condemns the proletariat to poverty and unemployment. • The rulers position -The wealthy have to reconcile themselves to investing in a way that changes their life or does not result in a capitalist income. As for limiting the growth of the population that may threaten their rule they usually do not think of this. • Rulers and subjects -There are rulers and subjects, or at least large scale inequalities of conditions amongst the countries of the world. Direct domination existed in the shape of colonialism. While this was absolute or almost so, the rulers did not worry about population growth. However as soon as some countries gained their independence from colonial masters as in the case of the Haitians it was feared that the number of partial subjects, the costly ones might rise excessively.
  3. 3. IMPORTANT POINTS FROM MARXISM • Domination occurred in many ways. • At a time when world consciousness began to appear, the rich countries fear the proliferation of people who were acquiring rights. • According to Marxism one day it might be necessary to organise not only regular deliveries of goods to them (as was the case of the West Indian Islands and the vibrant trade that developed with North American colonies during slavery), which would bring about such dramatic changes. • "By launching a programme of modernisation in the now dominant powers would in effect be creating a future world in which their peoples would become progressively smaller minorities, and possess a progressively smaller proportion of the world's wealth and power." (Demographic Studies of Selected Areas of Rapid growth; Milbank Memorial Fund 1944 New York).
  4. 4. Marxist Theory • Some areas like the Soviet Union refused to look at the problem of overpopulation. Like Marx they emphasised that there is no overpopulation problem. • Through better distribution you can suppress the overpopulation problem • Poverty is only the result of private property and colonialism (meaning! let poverty spread avoiding any reforms; and it will destroy capitalism)
  5. 5. Comparing and contrasting the demographic perspectives of Thomas Malthus and Karl Marx with respect to the causes and consequences of population growth. • A demographic perspective is an understanding of how the causes of population are related to the consequences. • Thomas Malthus was one of the earliest scholars who studied the causes and consequences of population increase. • For Malthus population growth is generated by human beings who like other species are driven by a special urge to reproduce. • According to Malthus mathematical ratio (ie arithmetic progression to geometric progression), population would grow so rapid that it would outstrip food supply causing misery and poverty. • A major similarity: Although Marx did not address directly Malthus' thesis of how and why population grew, did agree with Malthus that rapid population growth can cause poverty.
  6. 6. Differences of M&M • Marx was in opposition to the principles stated by Malthus that population tends to surpass resources. Marx was of the view that this problem is only possible in a capitalist society. • Marx did not accept Malthus' assumption, that growing world population was the cause of social ills. In contrast, he saw that the problem was the evils of capitalism and not rising world population. • For Marx the issue was not overpopulation, but under production. He believed the system of capitalism has capacity to produce food and other necessities, but it was the unequal distribution of social and economic wealth that undetermined production.
  7. 7. Malthus and Marx Debate • Whereas Malthus focussed on individual actions and endeavoured to find solution to the population growth in moral restraint, • Marx focussed on the economic structure of society and sought the solution in a socialist ideology. • Marx might have tended to be too optimistic about the ability of members of society to provide for large population, but in contrast Malthus tended to be too optimistic.
  8. 8. Conclusion • Despite this we have seen that some of their insights regarding population issues have been merged together in what is called the Neo-Malthusian school of thought. On one hand these Neo-Malthusian agree with Malthus that world population is outstripping natural resources and on the other hand they tend to have strong Marxist approach in their resentment of developed nations who they claim consume almost four-fifths of the share of the world resources.