LOWER SIXTH - KGP SCHEDULE, WEEKS 2-9
MODULE 1 THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE
10.2 PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT -POPULATION AND RESOURCES - MALTHUS (PESSIMISTIC VIEW)
Outline a pessimistic approach to the relationship between population and resources.

Malthus presents a pessimistic approach regarding population and resources. Malthus, in 1979 had written an essay regarding population and resources. Malthus strongly believed that in relation to food supply, there was a finite population size. He concluded that there would be a decline in the standard of living, and that there would be disease, war and famine if, there was an increase in population beyond the optimum population. His theory was based upon two main ideas.

The first was that food supply would increase at an arithmetic rate, i.e. 1,2,3,4,5 etc. The reason for this was that the size of a field was finite, and that increasing yields produced could not increase forever. Malthus also believed that the human population would indeed grow at a geometric rate, i.e. 1,2,4,8,16 etc. Therefore according to Malthus, population tends to increase faster than the supply of food available for its needs. Malthus felt that at some point, population would exceed any increases in food supply.

However, although Malthus believed that population tends to increase faster than the supply of food, he did believe that there would be factors that would hinder an increase in population. For example that War, famine and disease would most certainly reduce the population size, and therefore there would still be enough resources available.

Malthus also suggested that the optimum population was related to resources and the level of technology. Therefore he added a third factor which links the population and resources together. An advance in technology would mean that new birth control methods could be created or new skills and processes that could increase industrial production.
Therefore, although Malthus felt that population would increase faster than resources, he also noted that there were many factors, which could both hinder the rate of increase in population, and the increase in the level of resources.


Simon Kang


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