Compare and contrast the population theories of Malthus and Boserup

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the population theories of Malthus and Boserup There are two main theories of population sustainability. They are by Thomas Malthus and Ester Boserup. They have opposing theories on what happens when there are not enough resources for the population. Malthus expressed a pessimistic view over the dangers of over population and claimed that food supply was the main limit to population growth. He believed that the human population increases exponentially (2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc.), whereas food supplies can only grow arithmetically (2, 4, 6, 8 etc.). Malthus said that there are therefore âchecksâ on the population. He identified two different types of checks on the population which would limit further population growth.

Middle

He also failed to predict that the reduced population growth as countries develop economically and progress through the later stages of the demographic transition model. In 1965 Ester Boserup, a Danish economist asserted that an increase in population would stimulate technologists to increase food production. As Boserup said any rise in population would increase demand for food and this would act as an incentive to change agrarian technology and produce more food. Her theory can be summed up by the sentence ânecessity is the mother of inventionâ. Therefore population growth will spark innovators who will solve the problems which the increasing population has caused therefore making it sustainable for a growing population. The limitations to Boserupâs theory are that her idea is also based on a âclosedâ community.

Conclusion

We have to remember that Malthus wrote his essay in 1798 before the agriculture revolution therefore he excluded technology from his theory therefore making it slightly inaccurate. As Boserup wrote her theory in 1968 and has seen the effect technology can have crop yield therefore the two theories contrast. Also Malthus and Boserup disagree on the outcomes of increased population as Malthus said that population cant increase above the food supplies otherwise in positive checks would occur. Basically Malthus talks about about controlling a population by preventative checks and how the population must be kept below the crisis point otherwise these positive checks will occur. In contrast Boserup does the opposite and says famine and war will be prevented by human solutions increasing food production by technology. Therefore the two theories have different answers as to how to make a sustainable population which will survive in food resources.

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