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Malthus- Population Theory and Marx's Ideas on Population

Thomas Robert Malthus propounded a Population Theory. This was based on the growth of population in England. After the industrial revolution, the population of England began to grow. Malthus believed that this growth would become a prominent problem in the future.

Malthus- Population Theory

 

Thomas Robert Malthus propounded a Population Theory. This was based on the growth of population in England. After the industrial revolution, the population of England began to grow. Malthus believed that this growth would become a prominent problem in the future. He also believed that the population growth would exert a pressure and the society would be discriminated by the poor and the rich. Increasing poverty, unemployment, ill-health would arise from the primary cause of increasing population numbers. The assumptions of his theory are:

 

1. Humankind has great potential for reproduction that is producing children.

 2. In agriculture, the law of diminishing returns operates.

3. Food is important in the survival of human beings.

 4. The intimacy between men and women cannot be avoided.

 

Malthus has elaborated these assumptions in his Essay on Population. According to him, births cannot be controlled in human life. There will be births and deaths at all times. If population growth is unchecked, Malthus believed that, it would require 25 years to double itself. He has said that the food production increases arithmetically as 1, 2, 3, 4 ... while population grows geometrically as 1, 2, 4, 8 and so on.

 

As such population growth occurs relatively easily than the required food production. According to Malthus' estimate, the population grows 8-fold when the food grows only 4-fold. Therefore, he has believed that the controlling of births is the only means of solving the problems of the future. He has categorised the means of population control as the 'positive checks'. These are of two types:

1.  Natural Control and

2.  Man-made Control.

 

1. Natural Control

 

Left to itself, Malthus believed that the nature will control population growth. Population growth will be checked by droughts and epidemics.


2. Man-Made Control

 

Poverty, food shortage, lack of child care, infectious diseases and world wars due to population growth will ultimately control population growth.

 

Malthus has categorically suggested that the population numbers will be considerably reduced through the two means of population control.

 

1. Increasing marriageable age will naturally decrease the birth rates.

 

2. Humans must encourage child births depending primarily upon their ability to provide and protect.

 

Marx's Ideas on Population

 

The German social philosopher Marx is the father of modern communism. He has agreed to the idea of Malthus that population growth is behind the human problems. On the contrary, he believed that resources mismanagement is the cause of human problems. In his opinion, evils of capitalism create a social upheaval which causes the human problems.

 

His ideas revealed that capitalism fails in the equal distribution of work and this in turn causes poverty and unemployment. They do not happen because of the growth of population numbers. Further, the uneven distribution of wealth and employment opportunities for a few select people by the capitalist mode of production aggravates human suffering. The two population theories above emphasise how population growth results in economic disasters and social inequality. The inequality in economic production and human demand and uneven distribution of natural resources are some of the other reasons for population growth. Therefore, in some parts of the world people live without basic necessities while in others they live a fuller life of plenty and quality of life.


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