Thomas Malthus (1766)-(1834)
-Argued that the world’s population increase was outrunning the development of food supplies.
The Malthus Theory on Overpopulation
-According to Malthus, the growth rates would produce these types of relationships between people and food in the future:
Today: 1 person, 1 unit of food
25 years: 2 persons, 2 units of food
50 years : 4 persons, 3 units of food
75 years : 8 persons, 4 units of food
100 years: 16 persons, 5 units of food.
Malthus’s main points were that the Earth was consuming more than what was actually being produced. Even though his ideas have seem a bit too unsettling to people, many still beleive that this theory is true. To the right, is an example of how predictions to this day are based on Malthus’s theory.
-Stanford University biologist Paul Erlich, and Lester Brown, president of Worldwatch Institute consider his idea as being influential.
-Even though Brown agreed on his ideas, he said that Malthus failed to mention the gains in land productivity and the preference for eating. For example, instead of people trying to eat grain directly, rich countries prefer feeding it to animals. This produces more-desirable food, but uses a lot more grain.
These are the supporters of Malthus’ views on overpopulation. These people believe that Malthus’ claims are even more drastic because of two recent factors:
A) Relatively poor countries have had the most rapid population growth due to the increased development of medical technology. As a result, the gap between population growth and resources is wider in some countries than even Malthus anticipated.
B) Many LDCs have expanded their food production significantly in recent years, but they have more poor than ever before. Because population growth outpaced economic development, all the economic growth was used to accommodate the additional population.
According to Neo-Malthusians, wars and civil violence will increase in the coming years because of scarcities of food as well as such resources as clean air, suitable farmland, and fuel.
Some of the stronger points that Malthus has made about overpopulation are that he claimed that population was growing much more rapidly than Earth’s food supply because population increased geometrically, whereas food supply increased arithmetically. Another strong point that Malthus made as that he concluded that the population growth would press against available resources in every country , unless “moral restraint ” produced lower CBR’s( Crude Birth Rate) or unless disease, famine, war, or other disasters produced higher CDRs ( Crude Death Rate).