Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Malthusian View Relevant Today?

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“Malthusian views of the relationship between population and food remain relevant today. ” Discuss this statement. According to Malthusian theory of population, population increases in a geometrical ratio, whereas food supply increases in an arithmetic ratio. This imbalance would lead to widespread poverty and starvation, which would only be checked by natural occurrences such as disease, high infant mortality, famine, war or moral restraint. However, this theory is wrong in circumstances now, because it only considered two factors—food and population. But these two factors can be overcome by different ways.

Other factors such as improvements in technology proved him wrong. He was right at his time but development made him wrong. If it wasn't for outside influences on population growth and food supply, his mathematical reasoning which proved his theory and was right. Firstly, as I had just said, food production has increased in many different ways, unimaginable in Malthus’ time. For one, food technology has rapidly improved. The emergence of Genetically Modified food (GM Food) has boosted food production greatly. GM crops can be planted even in the most undesirable places, in low developed countries like Africa and Brazil.

GM crops are also enhanced so that they are pest resistant, hence increasing crop yield. From this you can already see that GM crops cannot only increase food production, living standard can also be increased. Food production has also been increased by draining marshlands, reclaiming land from the sea, cross-breeding of cattle, use of high-yielding varieties of crops, terracing slopes, growing crops in greenhouses, using more sophisticated irrigation techniques such as hydroponics, growing new food such as soya, making artificial fertilizers, farming native crop and animal species, and fish farming.

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From this, you can see that although population has maybe exceeded the “optimum”, there is no decrease in food supply and living standard. Moreover, concerning the aspect of population, there are actually many means of population control nowadays that weren’t there in Malthus’ time, resulting in a slowing momentum of population growth. Firstly, there is the use of birth control methods, such as condoms, contraceptive pills, and abortion. These methods are common and widely used, and also easy to access. This way, the population can be controlled through the number of births.

There is also the increased education among people for safe sex, so couples will not conceive “surprise babies” and can effectively limit the number of births as well. Moreover, the status of women has changed. Women are now of a higher position than in Malthus’ time, and they will not be as likely as before have babies. This is because they have other things in mind, mostly their work, than raising a child or having a family. Migration is also made possible globally nowadays due to communication and technology (i. . transport), resulting in a more balanced spread of people and hence lowering the chance of a place having too few food and too many people. In conclusion, I do not agree with the statement above. It may have made sense in the time of Thomas Malthus, but it is not relevant in modern times because many things have advanced in a momentum that Malthus has not been able to predict, especially in terms of technology and gender equality. So to make it clear, I don't think the statement is correct.

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