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Agriculture and Population.

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Agriculture and Population Thomas Malthus was an English economist in the 18th-19th century. He was born in Surrey near Guildford. He studied economy in Jesus college near Cambridge in 1784. He originated from a rich family. Later in his life he was ordained as an Anglican cleric in 1797. He wrote and published an essay called "The Principle of Population" in 1789. this was his major piece of writing and probably the one that got him the fame. In his essay he said that population increases much faster than the food production (see carrying capacity). "Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence only increases in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power compared to the second"(www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/malthus.html). His conclusion to the essay was a shock for everyone in those years."Population left unchecked will outstrip man's ability to live on this planet (as true a proposition to-day as it was in 1798); or that war, pestilence, and alike were natural checks against population (they are); but rather that we are all left with a Hobson's choice, with nature being the stable keeper. Or, if one likes, two choices with no difference in the result; either leave the old checks in place (as if we could remove them) ...read more.


This happens because research is being made which means the technology levels compared to undeveloped countries are much greater. Fertilizers and machinery are being researched every day and this helps farmers to use the land more efficiently. The agricultural population in these countries doesn't have to be very high because nowadays, machines do all the jobs for humans. Another factor that affects population and agricultural growth is natural disasters. Droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes and others can wipe out a whole farm in just a couple of days or even less. This only occurs in countries like African and Asian countries. It can happen in European countries (i.e. floods in France) but there will never be a shortage of food in the EU because food is grown in masses and agricultural production is way higher than the population. The carrying capacity of a country or a specific region is how much the agricultural production can maintain a population (see fig 1). For example if the carrying capacity of a country can carry 1 million people, there will be enough food just to feed 1 million people and not more. If there are any more, this will cause starvation and death rates will increase. ...read more.


These two factors play the most important role in the growth of the population. The Birth rate is now a bit more than double the death rate ( see table 1). This is because in these years contraception and education have been introduced to developed and developing countries. In the Stage one of the Demographic transition model, we can see that birth rate and death rate are high because contraception, education and other factors like hygiene and health weren't present. In stage 2, the death rates dropped because health and hygiene had been introduced. Simultaneously, population growth began. In stage three, the birth rate began to drop because contraception such as the pill and condoms were discovered. The drop in birth rate caused the population level to start level again. In the final stage both birth and death rates are low and levelled which leaves the population to be stable again. Population is also affected by agricultural production because if there is no production, then the population will drop and soon disappear; but if there was a lot of agricultural production, then population would begin to rise again. Table 1 ------------------------------------------------- Natural Time unit Births Deaths increase ------------------------------------------------- Year 128,577,961 54,997,089 73,580,872 Month 10,714,830 4,583,091 6,131,739 Day 352,268 150,677 201,591 Hour 14,678 6,278 8,400 Minute 245 105 140 Second 4.1 1.7 2.3 ------------------------------------------------- (http://www.uwmc.uwc.edu/geography/Demotrans/demtran.htm) Luca Galbiati Geography Class 10 9/10/0251 1 ...read more.

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