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Compare and contrast the population theories of Malthus and Boserup

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  • Essay length: 664 words
  • Submitted: 02/01/2013
  • Awarding body: Not known/Not applicable
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AS and A Level Population & Settlement

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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. These are; preventative (negative) checks and positive checks. With these checks he saw them as a natural way of keeping the population at a sustainable level. As if the population went over the crisis point there would be misery; were positive checks on mortality would kick in. As if a government wanted to stop or reduce population growth it would use moral restraint were negative checks on fertility would be enforced.

Malthus said that population increase had an

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