Thomas Malthus was a British Clergyman/economist. He came up with the Malthusian Theory of Population Growth. He decided that production increased at an arithmetic ratio (1, 2, 3…) while population increased at an exponential ratio (1, 2, 4, 8…). Thus Population growth would outstrip food supply, and mass starvation would follow. He thought that Man was incapable of controlling his own numbers, so disaster such as floods and epidemics serve to control/reduce his numbers. In this easy I wish either prove or disprove Mathis’s theory.
One issue that would support Malthus is the theory that natural disaster will serve to control/reduce his numbers. The first example of this I am going to explore is the war over resources currently taking place in iraq. The war began on March 20, 2003, when a largely American force invaded Iraq. The invasion soon led to the defeat and flight of Saddam Hussein (the Iraqi president). The U.S.-led armies occupied Iraq and attempted to establish a new democratic government; however it failed to restore order in Iraq.
The unrest led to civil war between many Sunni and Shia Iraqis. it is a controversial issue however most people believe that is was not the belief that Iraq possessed and was actively developing weapons of mass destruction And the war was purely for America to take the Iraqis resources(oil). The Americans still haven’t pull out of Iraq, and there have been untold amount of death and destruction. The current figures from when Iraq was first invaded in 2003 are between 75,775- 82,560 deaths. This follows Malthus prediction because the resources were limited, a powerful nation served as a tool to reduce the population invading and killing civilians and opposition thus decreasing population.
Anther issue is famine in Africa, famine is a social and economic crisis that is commonly accompanied by widespread malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Famine is induced by a human population beyond the regional carrying capacity to provide food resources. Numerous factors make the food situation difficult in Africa, these are political instability, armed conflict, civil war, corruption, mismanagement in handling food supplies, and trade policies that harm African agriculture. AIDS also has long-term economic effects on agriculture by reducing the available workforce. The deaths have been catastrophic and the population has been greatly reduced. Malthus believed that people would use all there resources, this is the case In Africa because the population is beyond the regional carrying capacity (resources available) and thus there is very little space and resources to grow subsistent crops. The deaths caused by famine also agree with his theory as this is the epidemic that reduces the population numbers until the population is below the carrying capacity again.
Another supporting issue is desertification in the Sahel, Desertification is the change in arid and semi-arid regions from formerly productive land to desertresulting from various climatic variations, but primarily from human activity. A major impact of desertification is biodiversity loss and loss of productive capacity. So desertification is limiting the amount of resources and area has by changing fertile land into desert. In Africa, if current trends of soil degradation continue, the continent might be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025.
A number of solutions have been tried in order to reduce the rate of desertification and regain lost land however none has been that successful. Desertification is an epidemic that is casing the availability of food to decline this in turn will cause famine to appear and a lose of live will follow. We can interpret desertification as a disaster that will inevitably reduce population number to a more sustainable level thus agreeing with sections of Malthus’s theory of population.
However there are also many factors that disagree with Malthus’s theory. The first is another theory created by Ester Boserup, she states that as the population rises, agriculture productivity improves thus causing the population to continue to rise. Boserup’s theory completely disagrees with Malthus’s theory and her trend is visible in some places like Singapore and Argentina. However places suffering form starvation have not the technology and artificial aid got which helps generate food. Thus we can conclude Boserup may have considered LEDC’s unlike Malthus. Finally we can assume that the population will get so large that a solution will not be found in the future. The environment will not be able to sustain a long term population increase. In Summery neither theory will be completely correct however Boserup includes the knowledge that technology thus questioning the reliability of Malthus.
Another factor that disagrees with Malthus, is that people has proven they are capable of controlling there numbers. And example of this is the one child policy in china. In the 1970s, in an attempt to slow down the rate of population growth, the Chinese government introduced a number of measures to try to reduce the country’s birth rate. The one-child policy was a policy that meant that each couple was allowed just one child. Benefits, including access to education, childcare and health care, were offered to families that followed this rule, and withdrawn from those that had further children.
Fines were placed on families that had more than one child. The one-child policy was keenly resisted in rural areas, where it was traditional to have large families The one-child policy has been enforced strictly in urban areas, but remote rural areas have been harder to control. Many people claim that some women, who became pregnant after they had already had a child, were forced to have an abortion and many women were forcibly sterilised. This shows Malthus was wrong when he claimed that we would not be able to stop population growth. China has shown that in desperate circumstances man has the ability to stop the population growth
The final negative factor about Malthus’s theory is that he failed to foresee the green revolution that would greatly increase food production. The Green Revolution was the worldwide transformation of agriculture that led to significant increases in agricultural production between the 1940s and 1960s. Scientists created strains of maize, wheat, and rice that are generally referred to as HYVs or “high-yielding varieties.” As technology advances man is able to create more efficient food supplies and thus will not exceed the food resource limit hence the opinion that Malthus theory is incorrect.
I have come to the conclusion the Malthus theory is incorrect because he failed to foresee the green revolution that would greatly increase food production. The population has not grown as rapidly as he predicted so there was not a strain on resources. He did not consider the change in technology and the way people desires would change with technology. Finally he did not believe Man was capable of controlling his numbers which China has proven to be incorrect. Concluding I think that the theories of Malthus do not have any relevance in predicting the future of mankind.