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The Neo-Malthusian Population Trap

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Introduction

The Neo-Malthusian Population Trap Thomas Malthus was a reverend in the 18th Century who claimed that population growth and economic development are related. According to him the population of a country grew at a geometric rate, while per capita income grew at an arithmetic rate. This meant that any country that would not be able to lower its population growth, would reach a level where it would barely be able to live above subsistence level. He claimed that there were two ways of overcoming this fate and bringing back the balance between population and resources. The first was through positive checks, such as disease, famine or war; and the second through "moral constraint." Nowadays this theory still prevails and is commonly referred to as the Neo-Malthusian Population Theory (they included a minor change to the theory by substituting "moral constraint" with birth control).1 Is this actually the case though, and is population growth the only constraint to economic development? I believe that there are other aspects that affect the economic development of a country. ...read more.

Middle

This definitely prevents many investors from coming to Egypt. In addition, Egypt's political structure is often important in determining economic procedures. These factors make investment a tiresome task and many investors therefore look for other options. Unfortunately, the lack of foreign investment is a problem that hinders Egypt's economic growth. Another important aspect to consider when looking at Egypt's economic development is the society itself. One of Egypt's problems is low productivity, which can be attributed to the lack of skilled workers and unemployment. Although Egypt might offer many schools and universities, they are still not sufficient to appropriately educate the whole population. In addition, the level of education that Egypt offers is not very high and can therefore hardly contribute to the production of skilled labor. According to the book Tarek Heggy's Selected Works: Essays on Egypt's Cultural Dilemma, "Egyptian education is a closed system, detached from contemporary realities and isolated from the common cultural heritage of mankind, without which no educational system can hope to produce individuals capable of enriching their nations." ...read more.

Conclusion

The income from the oil exports also enabled continued economic growth. Nonetheless, Kuwait is not as rich in other resources, such as minerals; and industrialization in manufacturing is rather slow. In addition, it lacks skilled workers which are definitely important in order to achieve economic advance. While the oil industry remains the most important industry for Kuwait's economy, other industries continue to be small. Although the government did encourage investment through giving loans and developing the infrastructure, it places more emphasis on investment abroad and investment in education and healthcare at home.8 In fact, Kuwait also places much emphasis on female education and women make up one third of Kuwait's workforce. Nonetheless, the oil industry is still the determinant of economic growth and makes Kuwait one of the richest countries in per capita income. This shows that it is not the size of Kuwait's population that enabled economic development, but rather the discovery of oil. The Neo-Malthusian Theory might prove right when applied to other countries; however in the case of Egypt and Kuwait there are other factors that hinder or encourage economic development. ...read more.

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