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Malthusian Theory

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Malthusian Theory Thomas Malthus, a British demographer, was renowned for his predictions based on world population and food supply. He believed that the worlds population would overrun the ability for them to support themselves. In short, the argument was that too many people and not enough food would cause a crisis. He thought that human population would be regulated by disease, famine, and war. His views were published in 1798. The basis of his theory is in two parts: 1) that population increases exponentially and 2) that food supply increases at an arithmetic rate. Malthus showed that with any increase in population, the population would exceed food supply. (fig.1) Malthus suggested two possible ways to limit further population growth: positive and negative checks. The positive checks were reducing the population through famine, disease, and war. ...read more.


Yet human population cannot grow beyond food production. This would cause many people to starve and so, would bring down the population to the carrying capacity of the environment. However, keeping within the carrying capacity, the quality of life would increase and by doing so, literacy rates and health standards would increase. Malthus was also wrong in many of his theories. He never accounted for the role of technology. New technology has changed the way we produce food and resources. Scientific improvements have greatly increased productivity and fertilizers help increase yields. (fig. 2) The graph shows the effect of technological ability to produce food and resources. Due to overlooking advances in technology, many of his predictions were wrong. Human population growth has not stopped, yet there is enough food for all (although not evenly distributed). With the natural increase, the expanding population is a resource, not a burden as he said. ...read more.


Although there are cures for diseases and vaccines, this means that less people are dying. People are living longer and dying less, causing population growth. Furthermore, the carrying capacity of an environment can already be surpassed through new technology and trade. The main thing to keep in mind is that, although some things can be shifted between areas (such as food), there must be a final limit we can reach with our resources. Theoretically, if people take what they need, there is more than enough to sustain the current population. There are many people who have more than their share of food or other resources that others could use. Malthusian theory are very much applicable to the world today. Even if not entirely correct, they are revolutionary and make us think more about where were are going and how we are going to end up. His theories have been reinvented and revised, proving that they are of use to us. ...read more.

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