Neo Malthusian Perspective On Population

Topics: Demography, Haiti, Population Pages: 6 (1407 words) Published: January 27, 2015

Population is the total number of persons inhabiting a country, city, or any district or area. Demography is the study of the basic demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and migration and their consequences for population distributions of various kinds including age and sex composition and the spatial distribution of population (Liberal Arts Texas A&M Univertsity, 2014). The term neo-Malthusianism was first used in 1877 by Dr. Samuel Van Houten, one of the vice- presidents of the Malthusian League. Neo- Malthusianism was not just a campaign in favour of birth control; it was particular perspective on the effects of population on human conduct and behavior (Shah, 2013). Neo-Malthusian theory is derived from Thomas Malthus's proposition that limited resources keep populations in check and reduce economic growth. Neo-Malthusians also agreed to Malthus' theory of population growth which states that population, when unchecked, increases at a geometrical ratio,ie,1-2-4-8-16-32 etc whereas subsistence only increases in an arithmetic ratio. ie, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8- etc. He observed that population outstrips the amount of food supply available worldwide (Nasser Mustapha, 2009),

Figure 1 shows that while population and food supplies achieved optimum growth, at some point population outstripped the available food supply and this would lead to starvation, death due to poor diet or migration to a better place where food is available. Figure 1 The poor nations of the Third world are growing almost three times as fast as the richer industrialized countries (stage 2 demographic transition model). Haiti’s population is expected to reach 15.7 million by 2050, targeting the need for a reproductive health program to decrease the total fertility rate, currently 3.9 children per woman. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, an influx of international aid arrived to Haiti, with specific funds allocated for family planning initiatives, prioritized because of the ballooning population and dwindling natural resources. However, like many aid programs in Haiti, the funds have been poorly allocated and inefficiently managed. Since 2010, Haiti has been experiencing a “baby boom” in urban areas like Port-au-Prince, due in part to the destruction of infrastructure that once included clinics with contraceptive supplies and counseling. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the Haitian fertility rate has tripled since the disaster (Pierce, 2013). The Anti-Malthusians, advocated by Esther Boserup, believes that an increase in population would actually stimulate “a change in agricultural techniques”. This meant that generally growing populations would adjust and adapt to meet the current food and other resource needs. Some examples of these adjustments are terrace farming, greenhouse crops, fish farming, artificial fertilizers/pesticides. The use of new technology, says Boserup, will allow for populations to continue growing until limits to growth are reached. Also, The socialists consistently maintained that the hue and cry over population was a way to divert the focus from the core issues of inequality and class struggle. For the socialists, the real issue was unequal access to resources than rising population. According to them, there was enough for everyone, provided resources are shared equally. The problem lay in the lack of equal distribution, with the bourgeois and the propertied class unwilling to give up the large share of resources under their control. (Kotaro's Geography Blog, 2010). Neo-Malthusians stressed on birth control methods, abortion and family planning. The neo-Malthusian position found favour with the elite sentiments on the issue of overpopulation. The elite, threatened by the growing numbers of commoners, considered birth control as an important means of checking future conflict over their...

Bibliography: Caribbean Sociology (2001) p.838, Rhoda Reddock
Article: The minimum wage struggle in Haiti
Liberal Arts Texas A&M Univertsity, 2014. Demography
Retrieved on September, 29th 2014 from
Pierce, Meghan, 2013. The Present State of Haitian Fertility and the International Response. population/1119
Smith, Aaron (2010)
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