Malthus And Boserup IB SL
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) • has become widely known for his theories concerning population and its increase or decrease in response to various factors. • Sooner or later population gets checked by famine, disease, and widespread mortality. • Believed in the possibility of almost limitless improvement of society. • “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.”
His Theories • Population grows at a geometric/exponential rate (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 etc) and could double every 25 years. • Food supply at best only increases at an arithmetic rate (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc). Neo-Malthusian View
One could not change human nature... “Must it not then be acknowledged by an attentive examiner of the histories of mankind, that in every age and in every State in which man has existed, or does now exist That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence, That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and, That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.”
Thoughts And Feelings • Throughout history a segment of every human population seemed relegated to poverty. • Population growth generally expanded in times and in regions of plenty until the size of the population relative to the primary resources caused distress. • Societies through history had experienced at one time or another epidemics, famines, or wars: events that masked the fundamental problem of populations overstretching their resource limitations.
Proposed Solutions • Two types of checks hold population within resource limits: • positive checks: which raise the death rate; hunger, disease and war. • preventative checks: which lower the birth rate; abortion, birth control, prostitution, postponement of marriage and celibacy.
Esther Boserup 1910-1999 • Population determines agricultural methods. • “Necessity is the mother of invention”. • “The power of ingenuity would always outmatch that of demand”. • She made an important influence on the role of women in workforce and human development, which then gave better opportunities of work and education for women.
Her Theories • Agricultural methods depend on the size of the population. • During times of pressure people will find ways to increase the production of food by increasing workforce, machinery, fertilizers, etc. Anti-Malthusian View
Increased Food Production • Draining Marshlands. • Extensification. • Intensification. • Reclaiming land from sea. • Cross-breeding cattle. • High-yield plant varieties. • Terracing on steep slopes. • Fish farming. • Growing crops in greenhouses. • More sophisticated irrigation techniques. • Creation of new foods such as soy. • Using artificial pesticides. • New species
Tale Of The Tape Malthus Boserup 1910-1999 Anti-Malthusian view. Population growth means creation of new methods. Optimist. Nature finds a way. • 1766-1834. • Neo-Malthusian view. • Population growth overcomes resources. • Pessimist. • Population extinction.
Activity • Using A2 Geography P181-183, answer the following questions... • Discuss the views of Malthus and Boserup. • How can these predictions give us an idea of what is ahead of us in the future? • Are you a Neo-Malthusian (Pro Malthus) or Anti-Malthusian (Pro Boserup)? Give reasons for your answer.