Free Essay Example - Malthusianism

Published: 2023-03-14
Free Essay Example - Malthusianism
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Ecology Population Food
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1724 words
15 min read

Human beings have sought to comprehend the correlation between the environment and population dynamics since time immemorial, but it is through the Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus in 1798 that is accredited for initiating the study of population as well as resources as a scientific investigative topic. Research has shown that the Malthus hypothesis was found on the concept that population numbers tend to grow geometrically while food production grows arithmetically. As a result, food production does not keep pace with the human population, which leads to natural "checks" like famine because of further growth. Accordingly, population growth is presumed to grow exponentially while the growth of society's subsistence means is considered to grow linearly. With regard to these assumptions, there is no doubt that the exponential population growth unavoidably outdoes the linear increase of substance. Accordingly, the efforts to understand the correlation between environmental change and demographics is part of the respected tradition. As a result, this tradition has been pursued to reduce ecological transformation into a mere function of the size of the populace or growth (Arizpe, Stone, Major, & Stone, 2019). In general, an overlay of the graph illustrates worldwide trends in population, emission of carbon dioxide, consumption of energy, nitrogen deposition, and land area deforestation, which are often used to depict that indeed, population dynamics affect the environment. In this sense, this paper will provide an argument regarding if Malthusianism could be considered as the best solution to the environmental crisis experienced today.

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Even though Malthusianism commences from the basis that populace dynamics have an effect on food supply, this is indeed shifting the effects directly to the environment. According to scientific studies, it is believed that from a mono-causal description of ecological change, it provides an outstanding place to the size of the population, and growth is suffering from three critical scarcities. These deficiencies include the rise of many questions than answers, oversimplifying complex reality, and the provision of wrong answers (Veitch & Kulcsar, 2019). With the maturity of the population-environmental research filed, scholars and theorists are increasingly seeking to comprehend the distinctions of this corelation. In the past few years, geographers, environmental scientists, demographers, and anthropologists have tried to find answers to the more intricate set of queries that include amongst others: In which ways does specific populace changes (in terms of composition, density, numbers or composition) in relation to particular changes in the environment like (climate change, deforestation, water and air pollutants)? How ecological circumstances and changes do, in turn, impacts population dynamic forces? As well as how these relations differ with time and space? Therefore, these researchers have attempted to answer these questions using different novel tools such as remote sensing, statistical packages, geographical information systems, and computer-based prototypes and with the developing theories in regards to human-environment interactions. In relation to these questions, a number of population-environment approaches have been advanced to describe the association between these two variables of concern. However, these theories result in blatantly different conclusions.

According to adherents of Malthus, who are generally referred to as neo-Malthusians, they hold that human populace due to their tendency to grow exponentially; if the fertility goes unchecked, they will eventually outdo the resources provided by the environment (Dean, 2015). Consequently, this would result in an environmental catastrophe. Indeed, this has been a dominant paradigm in the environment and population sector, nonetheless, this is one field that has received numerous rejection by social scientists. The reason for the dismissal is based on the ecological/biological underpinnings whereby it is argued that that is treating human beings in a similar approach different from other species that grow past the native "carrying capacity." As a result, Neo-Malthusianism is critiqued because of overlooking cultural adaptation, institutional arrangements, trade, and technological development, which have enabled the human populace to grow past the base of the local subsistence.

On the other hand, the Boserupian hypothesis, which was named after Ester Boserup, an agricultural economist, states that agrarian production increases with the growth in population. Certainly, this means that the rise in the human population intensifies production since they provide enough labor. While this hypothesis is regarded as being an antagonist to Malthusianism, Malthus agreed that agrarian production increases with the increase in populace density though not very fast. However, Boserup acknowledged that there is a particular condition through which this intensification cannot take place. Nonetheless, the only dissimilarity between the Malthus theory and Boserup theory is that Malthus looked at technological expertise as exogenous to the population-resource situation, and Boserup looked at it as endogenous (De Sherbinin, Carr, Cassels, & Jiang, 2007).

On the other hand, cornucopian theories advanced by neoclassical economists oppose neo-Malthusianism since they suggest that human creativity through the amplified supply of additional innovative individuals as well as market substitutions with some markets becoming scares will avoid upcoming resource crises. With regard to this school of thought, Cornucopian asserts that market failures and unsuitable technologies have more responsibility for environmental degradation compared to population growth or size. As a result, natural means can be replaced by those that artificial.

Similarly, political ecology also considers literature about population-environment. In this sense, research has shown that most political ecologists only perceive population and environment as interconnected because they have a joint root cause, such as deficiency. They argue that poverty comes as a result of the economic inequity between the industrialized and developing world as well as within the emerging countries. According to this argument, immigrants to deforested hot spots in frontline regions could be fatalities of ancient inequalities toward land entree in their countries' central agricultural regions. On the same note, these people could be responding to global variations where industrialized nations rely on resources extracted from countries in the tropical areas to uphold their high living standards. Therefore, regardless of the effect of immigrants on the tropical rain forest, it is simply an indicator of more severely entrenched imbalances. At the same time, political ecologist views land degradation as a result of poor farming practices due to lack of access to high-tech, money, and land and not populace growth per se.

Several theories, particularly those described by demographers, holds that the populace is among the variables which impact the environment. The rapid growth in population aggravates other circumstances such as civil conflict, distortionary policies, bad governance, and wars. Some of these theories include the mediating variable method, also referred to as a holistic theory, where the impact of the population on the surroundings is intermediated through culture, technology, social organization, values, and consumption. In addition, others also categorize IPAT environmental effects (I), are the produce of population (P), affluence (A), and technology (T). They classify IPAT in this group since the population is amongst the three variables that contribute to environmental impacts.

Most of the theories in the environment and population industry are based on theoretical contributions from several fields. For instance, the Vicious Circle Model (VCM) describes sustained high fertility in the face of decreasing environmental resources (Finkbeiner et al., 2017). Through this model, it is hypothesized that various positive feedback loops contribute to a downward curve of population growth, depletion of resources, and an increase in poverty. In the simplest level, this model is considered to be neo-Malthusian, although it owes a debt to several theories. To begin with, this model is built on the integration of flow method from demography, which suggests that high productiveness in traditional civilizations is of benefit to the older generations basing on the net flow of prosperity from offspring to parents throughout their lifetime. On the same note, this model borrows from a demographic theory that defines productiveness as a modification to risk. According to this model, in circumstances where insurance and financial markets and administrative safety networks are poorly established, children end up serving as security for old-age (Dean, 2015).

Accordingly, it should be noted that population-environment methods operate in the same way at dissimilar scales; hence, they could all be possible right. At the international level, it cannot be entirely possible to foresee the total impact of population, technology, and affluence. Within the prevailing social organization, when the world clocks ten billion inhabitants, it will be on the global environment. However, most scientists be it neo-Malthusian and others they are not concerned with the impact of the present 7 million people causing to the planet with regard to the booming economies of India and China and the consumption patterns in the Northern parts of the world. For instance, currently, the cornucopian theory could be right at the national level for a country such as Denmark. On the other hand, political ecology, neo-Malthusianism, as well as intermediate variable theories all, shed light on different facets in regards to the environmental crisis facing Haiti. In relation to the intensification theory of Boserup, it has been found to hold the truth in the historic experience of most developed nations.

Although theory could look academic and dry, theoretical frameworks are significant guides to actions. A method that is relevant aids in developing well-targeted policies. Nonetheless, a bad theory is likely to become the opposite, which could be quite difficult to overcome. Certainly, each of the theories above classifies at least one or more eventual causes of ecological dilapidation that id is remedying it could help to resolve the problem. In respect to neo-Malthusianism, the development in population is the main challenge; thus, the answer to this problem is populace programs. In regard to cornucopianism, the major problem is market failures, which can only be solved by fixing these failures. The main challenge for political environmentalists is variations at different scales, hence to resolve this problem, policies should address those inequalities. Nonetheless, most of the theories within the populace and the surroundings have not been exposed to detailed empirical tests to permit them to be grouped as solid.

In regard to the environmental issues on population-environment, several issues are considered, such as agricultural land dilapidation, land-cover change, coastal management, water resource management, and climate change and energy.

Agricultural Land Degradation

Research has shown that land-cover changes result in a change in the quality of land capitals. The changes in the quality of land capitals happen due to human uses. The most contentious argument in regards to the population-environment is the correlation between the increase in population density in areas of subsistence agriculture and land degradation.

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