Malthus vs boserup

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Malthus vs boserup

  1. 1. MALTHUS Population grows geometrically…. Population exceeds carrying capacity… Population is kept in “check”– preventative and/or positive checks
  2. 2. DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION THEORY Stage I Stage II Stage III Birth Rate Demographic Death Rate Growth 1700 1800 1900 Stage IV Population 2000
  3. 3. STAGES IN DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION Stage I Stage II Stage III Stage IV High birth rates High birth rates Falling birth rates Low birth rates Family Planning. Lower infant mortality rates. Industrialization means less need for labor. Increased desire for material possessions and less desire for large families. Emancipation of women. Children as liabilities instead of assets (no economic contribution as labor). Low death rates Low death rates No or little Family Planning. Parents have many children because few survive. Many children are needed to work the land. Children are a sign of virility. Religious beliefs and cultural traditions encourage large families. High death rates Falling death rates Disease and plague (e.g. bubonic, cholera, kwashiorkor). Famine, uncertain food supplies and poor diet. Poor hygiene, no clean water or sewage disposal. Improved medicine. Improved sanitation and waters supply. Improvements in food production in terms of quality and quantity. Improved transport to move food. Decrease in child mortality. Modern medicine. Optimal life expectancy.
  4. 4. Context of the theory Deficit Demographic Resource growth growth • Written during a period of weak harvests. • Took notice of famines in the Middle Ages, especially in the early 14th century (1316). • From the data he gathered, population was doubling every 25 years. • Over a century’s time, population would rise by a factor of 16 while food rose by a factor of 4.
  5. 5. • The “Malthusian crisis” in context • Available agricultural spaces are limited. • Technical progresses (machinery, irrigation, fertilizers, and new types of crops) are slow to occur. • Increasing incapability to support the population. • If this persists, the population will eventually surpass the available resources. • The inevitable outcomes are “Malthusian crises” where nature will bring about the check and balance between population food supply: • Food shortages. • Famines. • War and epidemics
  6. 6. Malthus has been criticized on several accounts during the last 200 years. • Problems: • Model based upon the Western experience. • The base population in the developing world is large. • Low percentages of population increase will result in large numbers of additional people.
  7. 7. What does this graph suggest? t3 Quantity Technological Innovation t2 t1 Resources Population Overexploitation Time
  8. 8. That….. • The Malthusian Crisis has not occurred • Did not foresee the demographic transition: • Changes in the economy that changed the role of children in the industrializing societies. • Failed to account for improvements in technology: • Enabled food production to increase at rates greater than arithmetic, often at rates exceeding those of population growth. • Enabled to access larger amounts of resources. • Enabled forms of contraception.
  9. 9. ESTHER BOSERUP “NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL INVENTIONS”
  10. 10. ESTHER BOSERUP THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH • In contrast to Malthus, instead of too many mouths to feed, Boserup emphasized the positive aspects of a large population; • In simple terms, Boserup suggested that the more people there are, the more hands there are to work; • She argued that as population increases, more pressure is placed on the existing agricultural system, which stimulates invention; • The changes in technology allow for improved crop strains and increased yields. (1910 – 1999)
  11. 11. 7 650 600 6 550 500 450 5 400 350 300 250 Wheat Production (tons) Rice Production (tons) Population 200 4 3 Billions 700 19 61 19 63 19 65 19 67 19 69 19 71 19 73 19 75 19 77 19 79 19 81 19 83 19 85 19 87 19 89 19 91 19 93 19 95 19 97 19 99 20 01 20 03 20 05 Millions GLOBAL GROWTH IN POPULATION AND GRAIN (WHEAT AND RICE) PRODUCTION, 1961-2005
  12. 12. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES • The Malthusian crisis today • Demographic growth: • Between 1960 and 2000, three billion persons were added to the global population. • To sustain this growth, agricultural resources had to be doubled. • Required housing space surpassed all that was constructed since the beginning of mankind. • Agricultural growth: • Between 1960 and 1990, grain yields has increased by 92% while cultivated surfaces have only increased by 8%. • Foresee a limit to growth in agricultural production. • Consumption growth. • Environmental degradation.
  13. 13. CONTEMPORARY ISSUES • Relevance of the Malthusian theory • Was Malthus right or the trend in agricultural production will again increase to surpass population growth? • Are improvements in agricultural techniques enough to answer demand? • The next 25 years will be crucial and will bring forward answers to these questions. • The work of Malthus continues to be important to demographers: • Influence of many contemporary theorists from various academic disciplines. • Built upon Malthus’s ideas and linked them to modern sciences.
  14. 14. MEDC VS. LEDC Note the quick transition to Phase 3 from the explosion of Phase 2 Note the longer time period as LEDC’s are “trapped” in Phase 2
  15. 15. ANTI-POPULATIONISTS VS. PRONATALISTS • Malthus– anti-populationist • Echoed in recent debates by Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb; • Ehrlich believed that the earth’s carrying capacity would quickly be exceeded, resulting in widespread famine and population reductions; • Boserup– pronatalist (cornucopian) • Echoed in recent debates by Julian Simon, who opposed Ehrlich by using economic theories; ie. Resources needed to support populations are becoming more abundant, not scarcer;
  16. 16. RELEVANCE OF THE THEORY? • Types of innovations • Discovery: • • • • An entirely new class of resources is made available. Often adds to existing resources. Offers new economic opportunities. E.g. the usage of oil as a source of energy. • Productivity gains: • Existing resources are used more effectively. • Often implies using less of the same resource. • Developing a more efficient engine. • Substitution: • An alternative resource is used. • Often because the existing resource becomes too expensive / scarce. • Using ethanol.
  17. 17. RELEVANCE OF THE THEORY? • Technological innovation and agriculture • • • • • Intensification of agriculture. New methods of fertilization. Pesticide use. Irrigation. Multi-cropping systems in which more than one crop would be realized per year. • Creative pressure and global population growth • Would lead to new productivity gains. • Humans don’t deplete resources but, through technology, create them. • Resources will become more abundant. • Help overcome shortage in food production and employment.
  18. 18. 2. LIMITS TO PRODUCTIVITY • Existing store of Resources • As a resource become scarcer frictions and competition for access. • Eventually, a group secure / capture the resource and makes it unavailable to others. • This capture either takes place through legislation and / or force. • Leads to marginalization and risks of conflicts.
  19. 19. 3. DOES TECHNOLOGY HAVE ALL THE SOLUTIONS? • Limits of food production by environmental factors • Substitution is not possible for many resources. • Soil exhaustion and erosion. • Evolutionary factors such as the development of greater resistance to pesticides. • Climate change. • Loss of productive soils due to land use conversion to other purposes, such as urbanization. • Water shortages and pollution. • Limits by technology • May be available but not shared. • Maybe too expensive for some regions (e.g. desalination).

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