Malthus And Starving Essay Research Paper TheUnited

Malthus And Starving Essay, Research Paper


United Nations projects that the global population, currently at 6 billion, will

peak at about 10 billion in the next century and then stabilize or even decline.

A question immediately following the statement, can the Earth feed that many

people? It is understood that even if food crops increase sufficiently, other

renewable resources, including many fisheries and forests, are already under

pressure. Our food production doubled from 1961 to 1994, but there are still

people who go hungry. This is because the human population has increased more

rapidly than the food production. One of the well-known economists Thomas Robert

Malthus claimed that there was an imbalance between population growth and our

ability to produce food. In his famous work, An Essay on the Principle of

Population, his principle of population was based on three main points:

population cannot increase without the means of subsistence; population

invariable increases when the means of subsistence are available; and the

superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice.

When taking into account Malthus principle of population it is evident that his

fundamental analysis of population has been proven right. Since the earth

resources are finite, when human population increases, it affects human beings.

Will there be a problem if population keeps increasing? Rapid population growth

and the technical development of society have led to difficulties for farmers

worldwide to maintain this dual compatibility. In fact, today farmers face

demands for a high productivity as well as environmentally sound, sustainable

farming practices. Some economists believe human beings have the ability to

produce enough food to feed all the people in the world, but according to

Malthus theory, this cannot happen. When the number of people keeps increasing

while the amount of available food stays the same or even declines, human beings

will face a scarcity of resources and overpopulation in the world. This is what

happening right now. According to a well known biologist-Paul R. Ehrlich, who

said The amount of food available restrains the size of any animal population,

unless space, disease, predators, or some other factor sets lower limits. What

he means is that food production is an element that control our population

growth, this is because people cannot survive without food. When his idea is

observed, it is evident that his idea is similar to Malthus principle of

population. Malthus stated, there is an imbalance between our ability to produce

food and our ability to produce children. (Malthus 80) He said human beings are

far better at making babies than are at finding food for survival. This problem,

exists in all past and present societies, and must also exist in any future

society as well. Therefore Malthus and Paul both agreed that the population

could not increase without an increase of food. Without an excessive population,

the world fertile land can produce enough food, or even excess food. There will

be a sufficient amount of natural resources reserve of human beings. Therefore

the faster the population increases; the more resources will be used. When

population keeps increasing, earth environment will be put into greater danger,

the overexploitation of natural resources will continue and poverty will rise in

most of the world countries. It is because more people consume more food and

more resources to keep their needs. As a result, if there is not enough food,

human population will decline. Malthus stated, the power of population to grow

was indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce subsistence. (Malthus,

70) He also said that there was a difference between population growth and food

supply. ( The difference is

that the population increases by a geometric progression but the amount of

subsistence increases by arithmetic progression. When Malthus wrote his

principle in 1798, he already predicted that in the future, the population would

exceed the amount of food. This is because population grows according to the

geometric progression (1, 2, 4, 8, 16..), and the means of subsistence grows

according to the arithmetic progression (1, 2, 3, 4..) When our population

exceeds the amount of food, people who cannot get food will experience hunger.

As the human numbers increase, deterioration of water quality and destruction of

animal and plant communities increase too. Water pollution has been partly

caused by population growth. Humans consumed, stored and diverted water and used

it to carry away wastes without regard to health or ecological consequences.

Therefore, overpopulation not just threatens food supply, but also water supply.

As human numbers continue to rise, they create needs for land for purposes other

than the production of food. Among these are urbanization and transportation.

Each of these sectors claims cropland in almost every country. When the world

population is examined, it is found that human population is increasing rapidly.

Population growth has expanded greatly over the last 500 years, as larger

numbers of people needed more food supplies and commodities from natural

resources and agricultural activities, more and more people occupied bigger land

spaces in big urban areas. Population growth in today world, therefore, plays a

vital role to changes in the land. It is also found that 90% of the world

population growth is occurring in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin

America. ??In the United States, the natural increase is about 0.6 percent a

year, while the total population growth is around 1%.??(

The reason why developing countries like Africa and Latin America have a higher

population growth because the majority of their population still under a low

standard of living. The quality of life reached by traditional farming systems

is low compared with that of modem western agricultural systems – short life

span, low level of education, and absence of social services, etc. They need

more children to work on the farm and earn extra income. Children are also born

for the security of their parent age, as life expectancy is high. According to

the1998 report of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United, studies have

shown that overall, developing countries experienced higher output growth over

1994 to1998 than the developed countries. ??The developing countries having

experienced an increase in per capital food production represent 77% of the

developing country population.??( However, some

developing country regions like Africa South of Sahara, has suffered a decline

in per capital terms over the 1994 to 1998 because of high rates of population

growth. ( Even though Africa has

increased food production, their population grows faster than their food

production. The most productive and progressive agricultural systems are those

of the industrialized countries, with slow or no population growth. While in

many developing countries, agricultural production is kept with the rapid grow

of population. What happened in Africa proves Malthus?? theory is correct. He

stated that there is a difference between the population growth and the food

supply, population increases in geometric progression, and food supply increases

in arithmetic progression. As a result, people in Africa starve because they

have such a high population. Rwanda has about 5.9 million people in 1995, has

produced 23000 tons of food in that year. Cereal commercial imports about 25000

tons and food aid is about 140 tons??(

What happened in Rwanda is that in 1995 the amount of food aid and cereal

commercial imports was greater than their food production. As a result, the

population growth in Rwanda threatened people??s lives because the food

production could not satisfy all the people needs. In addition, food and

resources are not often distributed evenly among the human society; this means

that poor people are the ones who will be starving. Also, most of the food that

grows in developing countries is for the exportation to developed countries,

resulting no food left for the people in developing countries. When population

increases in those developing countries, people in the risk of hunger increase,

and the condition becomes severe. As a result, their death rates are much higher

than developed countries, since people in developed countries have the financial

ability to purchase food from others. Although developed countries may not able

to produce food for themselves, because of inadequate farmlands, they can import

food from developing countries in order to satisfy their needs. The reason for

developed countries to import food from others is because those countries have

such a large population, and they cannot produce enough food for themselves.

When the human population in the world exceeds the amount of food supply, food

shortage or famine will occur, which is what happened in Rwanda. I pointed out

that before China, only three countries-Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan-were

densely populated before they industrialized. Within 30 years, each had lost

more than 40 percent of its grain land. And since the huge losses could not be

offset by productivity gains, grain output fell in Japan by 32 percent and in

both South Korea and Taiwan by 24 percent. Add to this equation the widespread

demand by the suddenly affluent populations for greater diversity in their

diets, and the three countries went from being largely self-sufficient to

collectively importing 71 percent of their grain needs. In no case was the heavy

dependence on imports a conscious policy goal, but rather it was the result of

industrialization in a region of land scarcity. (

Food scarcity not only occurs in developing countries, but also developed

country. It occurs in those developed countries because those countries need

lands to develop their society. There are less lands for grow crops; therefore

those countries have heavy dependence on import food from other countries. Food

aid is provided for the developing countries because food is unevenly

distributed in those countries. It is estimated that more than 800 million

people, most of them in developing countries, do not have enough food to meet

their basic nutritional needs. ( It happens

not just because of food shortages, but the fact is that food aid sometimes

cannot reach the famine victims. There are many reasons for that, for example,

food aid is sent to the military to support soldiers, or to the government who

keeps the food for the black market. In order for food donations to reach famine

victims, many sides have to work right. Port facilities must be adequate;

warehousing must be sufficient to store the food safely until it can be

distributed. The entire process must function smoothly in order to help the

hungry people. ??In the Ethiopian famines of the mid 1980s in a terrible civil

war often used donated food as a weapon, preventing it from reaching starving

people. (Ehrlich 80) Even if food aid is sent to a particular place, the

transportation process must run smoothly in order to still help those famine

victims. Global production of staple food declined slightly in 1998, with most

of the decline being in cereals, although developing country cereal production

increased moderately. Global end cereal stocks for the 1998/99 seasons are

forecast to decline slightly. ( As

Malthus said, the imbalance between population growth and food production has

lead to misery and vice. Therefore a large numbers of countries continue to face

food emergencies and, as a result, civil strife occurs. In Mexico, Zapatistas

struggle to maintain their everyday life because of their civil strife. The

elite groups take advantage of poor farmers. They export their food to other

countries or sell it locally for an extremely high price. According to the

newspaper in Mexico, Antonio was a 45-year-old man with two children and he was

afraid solders would kill him if he went to harvest by himself. The elite groups

take all the crops, leaving poor people with no money to buy medicine or other

daily necessaries. The same situation is occurring in Chiapas right now. The

wealthy people take the majority of food that grows in that area either for

export or sell it in the black market. Even the food staying in Chiapas, it is

not enough to feed the local people. This is because Chiapas have a large

population but a small food supply. The people in Chiapas are starving, since

they have nothing to lose, they try their best to fight the military, which

creates tragedy. Malthus principle is right because all the countries with

violent upheavals in the 1980s and 90s were the ones that showed the highest

growth rate in the 60s. Every country where bloody internecine civil wars have

occurred in recent years had a huge population preceding conflict (

It is evident that Malthus principle of population is right because he said,

??the superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery

or vice.?? When the gap between the human population and food production grows

larger and larger, it creates big problems for human beings, such as food

shortages, malnutrition, famine, civil strife, etc. When taking this into

account, Malthus??s principle of population is evident and his fundamental

analysis of population is realistic and possible. In Chiapas and Mexico, civil

strife has been brewing for years because the people in Chiapas are starving.

High population growth, and the degradation of agricultural land results

environmental scarcity and the unfair access to resources by the majority of

citizens. Food shortages create lots of problems, such as civil strife, which is

happening in Chiapas, and also Sierra Leone, Burundi, Kenya, etc. The majority

of hungry people live in developing countries since they are considered less

important than people in developed countries. Even though Malthus principle was

printed about 201 years ago, generally, his principle is proven right today.

Studies have shown that countries, which have huge populations, will experience

misery. If human beings still ignore the problem of the population growth and

the food supply, other problems will follow, such as civil strife and food

shortages. Furthermore, rapid population growth may affect poverty by affecting

the correlates of poverty: low wages, lack of human capital such as education

and health, and lack of income earning assets such as land; income inequality

and loss of economic growth. The only way to solve the problem between the

population growth and the food supply is to reduce our population by using

contraceptive tools. The other way is to distribute our food evenly to all

people around the world. If food were distributed evenly to all people, famine

will not happen. Now, it is time to face reality. It is time to change our

world. It is time to solve our problem.



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