What Accounts for the Population Explosion in Developing Countries During the Last Forty Years? in What Sense Is Rapid Population Growth a Problem’

Topics: Demography, Population, Population growth Pages: 5 (1891 words) Published: March 21, 2011
What accounts for the population explosion in developing countries during the last forty years? In what sense is rapid population growth a problem’ Population growth is a necessary phenomenon for growth and security in the any world economy. Within this essay I will explain and clarify why rapid population is significant issue especially in developing economies. I will also provide clarity on why population growth has become so rapid in these developing countries. At the present time the world’s population is just over 6.3 Billion, of which more than two-thirds live in the developing countries. At the present rate of increase world population will double every 65 years and by 2050 the population is predicted to rise to 8 billion if birth rates continue to fall dramatically or 12 billons if birth rates only come down slowly. Rapid Population growth plays a conflicting role in the development process; it can act as both a stimulus and a barrier to growth and development. However the main point to consider at what point do the economic disadvantages begin to outweigh the advantages? Where does the balance lie? The conventional view is that high levels and rates of population growth constitute a problem for the world as a whole and for the developing countries in particular. Population growth, it is argued, depresses human welfare because it: Uses up scarce resources, puts pressure on food supplies, leads to overcrowding and congestion in cities, adds to the employment problem, and reduces the savings ratio and dilutes the quantity of capital per person employed. The pessimistic view on population originates with Malthius who states ‘there is a constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it. Thus every mouth is accompanied by a pair of hands, but ever pair of hands produces less and less additional output’. The effect of population growth also has an effect on savings, the traditional argument is that population growth reduces the community’s saving ratio by leading to a high dependency ratio of children who consumer but do not produce. However this ignores the fact, that many children in developing countries do in fact, the implication of the argument would seem to be that a reduction in population growth would increase the savings ratio by rising the average work age of the population. By analysing Professor A.P. Thirlwall’s Growth and Development, the section on optimum population is extremely interesting as it explains and demonstrates how an ‘optimum population’ is used in several different senses, but three in particular are commonly employed. First, ‘it is sometimes used to refer to the size of the population what maximizes the average product of income per head. It is in this situation that a society’s savings ratio is likely to be maximised’. The second approach to the concept of optimum population adopts the criterion of total welfare maximization. On this principle, the population would be suboptimal as long as the marginal product of labour was above some notional welfare subsistence level, and would reach the optimum when all incomes were equalized at the welfare subsistence level (assuming a diminishing marginal utility of income). The third approach of optimum population refers to the level of population beyond which the average product in an economy falls below the level of production necessary for subsistence, on the assumption that the total product is equally shared. In this case the term optimum simply refers to the maximum population that can be supported with existing resources, and is the point of Malthusian equilibrium. Population grows fastest in the world's poorest countries. High fertility rates have historically been strongly correlated with poverty and high childhood mortality rates. Falling fertility rates are generally associated with improved standards of living, increased life expectancy, and lowered infant mortality. Overpopulation and poverty have...
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