Thomas Malthus & ZPG

Topics: Population, World population, Demography Pages: 2 (566 words) Published: January 15, 2014
Thomas Malthus and ZPG
World Population is constantly increasing at an exponential rate due to the industrial revolution. Many don’t realize the after-effects of such happenings. To fully comprehend the idea fully, geographers have had to research Thomas Malthus studies. Malthus was a British scholar whom played a key role in demography, the study of population. Malthus contributed to the fields of human geographers. While studying different animal species, Malthus noticed that populations grew geometrically whereas food production increased immensely. The Malthusian level simply shows the food that a population is capable of producing. In his groundbreaking essay The Tragedy of the Commons, Garrett Hardin (1968) highlights one useful distinction used in population control debates. Hardin distinguishes between directly coercive population control methods and passive methods. Coercive methods are defined as methods that force the agent to decrease the number of children. Examples include China’s one-child policy. Passive methods are defined as methods that allow the agent to choose the number of offspring, but still limit population growth. Examples include family planning, contraceptives, and voluntary abortions. Specifically, Hardin suggests that if you do not force people to limit their number of offspring, there will always be a percentage of the population that does not acquiesce. Over time the population will continue to grow as those who do not acquiesce to the limitations will produce the most offspring, who in turn will be less likely to limit their own number of offspring (Bayles, 1976). Methods of coercively increasing death rates to limit population growth were implemented by the ancient Greeks, who practiced infanticide, the killing of unwanted children (Bayles, 1976). There is an abundance of critiques on any given movement, whether it be social, economic, or political. The ZPG movement is no exception. The optimistic opponent of a Malthusian, or...

Cited: 1) Rust, David L. "The Ethics of Controling Population Growth." (2001). .
2) "Biodiversity and Conservation Chapter 16: HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH."Biodiversity and Conservation Chapter 16: HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH. 18 Oct. 2013 .
3) "The Tragedy of the Commons." The Tragedy of the Commons. 18 Oct. 2013 .
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