Malthus VS Boserup
Malthus VS 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 ‘checks’ on the population. He identified two different types of checks on the population which would limit further population growth. These are : preventative or 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 increased demand on food supply and said that with increased demand would eventually decrease food production. This idea is based upon the law of diminishing returns were increased population would increase the pressure on to farm more intensively and cultivate poorer land leading to poorer yields.
There are limitations to Malthus theory though. He could not have seen the enormous changes in farming technology that enables us to produce tons of food. He also failed to predict that the reduced population growth as countries develop economically and progress through the later stages of the demographic transition model.
In 1965 Ester Boserup, a Danish economist asserted that an increase in population would stimulate technologists to increase food production. As boserup said any rise in...