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Spot on Tom!
Malthus debate surges on today
14/05/2009

Since centuries, experts have predicted that human needs would outpace the earth’s growing resources. This is what Thomas Malthus published in his research named An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, popularly known as Malthusian catastrophe. In simple terms, Thomas predicted that the tendency of population to grow faster than the food supply will eventually keep most people at the edge of starvation. During the Industrial Revolution, the first escape from the Malthusian trap occurred when, in England, around 1790, the efficiency of production accelerated to outpace population growth; thus allowing average incomes to rise and purchase the increased production. In the rest of Europe and East Asia, populations had also long been trained to handle the Malthusian trap of their stable agrarian economies. Their workforce easily absorbed new production technologies.

But Julian Lincoln Simon’s criticized the Malthusian philosophy and argued that population is the solution to resource scarcities and environmental problems, as a decrease in per capita availability of resources makes [or forces] people and markets innovate. Take for instance, the third world countries or the third world market, where developing countries are continuously coming out with new and innovative products and technologies due to scarcity of resources. Well, aren’t India and China considered markets of the future because of their population and its growth? Isn’t it better to be then a supremely crowded third world country than a first world country like Japan or Switzerland with falling population?

The answer is a categorical no. Firstly, to focus on population is to wrongly focus purely on GDP growth as the basis of calculating development rather than HDI or Lifestyle Index. Secondly, China and India have had [and still continue to have] the maximum number of people in the world living below the poverty/destitution line. Thirdly, economic development in such countries have been primarily unequal over generations. Clearly, it is better to be a highly developed, rich [5th wealthiest], yet recession ridden lowly populated [4.6 million] Singapore than to be a 1.2 billion plus people country with a 7% GDP growth rate, having 200 million and more defecating in the open...

By:- B&E
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