Thomas Robert Malthus on Populartion Control

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Thomas Robert Malthus:The Statistics of Population Control

In Malthus' Essay on Population he discussed the importance of birth control, and also discussed the future problem, as he saw it, of the fast growing population outgrowing it's supply of food and resources. Malthus lived during the enlightenment period of human history. William Godwin and the marquis di Condorcet also wrote theories on population. Their theories said that humans would progress eternally and that there would be no end to humanity. When Malthus released his essay, which he did not put his name on, he said that human population grows arithmetically (2,4,8,16,32...) while the food supply grows arithmetically (2,3,4,5...). Taking a look at the numbers that were used as examples, it is easy to see that the population could very easily run out of resources.

Malthus' essay discussed the problem of disease, war and famine. He said that the population, obviously, would not increase at such a rate if one of the listed disasters happened. This theory has proven true because the current world does not currently have a huge problem feeding all of its people and we have had two world wars, and many armed conflicts are taking place in the world even though the everyday person may not know about the war. Disease is also taking it's toll on the human population. Diseases such as the deadly Ebola virus, and the fairly new AIDS virus, with no cure for either, are starting to come out of basically nowhere and is killing people at an alarming rate. The AIDS virus is making people use protection during sex and this protection also stops pregnancy, which in turn slows down the growth of the population.

What Malthus did not seem to take into consideration is urbanization and economic situations that tell the modern world if they can have children. In an urban situation it is more costly to have a large family because property, food, and clothing are more expensive so there are generally smaller families. Money is what drives the world today and when economic times get tough people do not have as many children in order to keep the current family alive.

The future of the world is becoming more uncertain every day. Pollution, war, violence, and disease are killing people, or just making them very sick, to the point that it looks like there might not be a world in the future. Malthus' theories will not likely be seen in our lifetime but when cures are found for the problems that we are now faced with, the population will grow until Malthus' theories will be noticed. The only way that Malthus' theories will not take effect is if we take control of our population's destiny. We must use birth control, family planning and continue with research that will solve the small food problem that we have now, where it is hard for everyone to grow food, and look forward and find ways to overcome the food problem of the future.

CD-ROM: Thomas Robert Malthus. 1993 Grolier Electronic Publishing Inc.
Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Food Supply, World. Vol. 10, P.338
Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Population. Vol. 21, P.382
Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Thomas Robert Malthus. Vol. 16, P.382

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