Overpopulation Causes Poverty Essay

and originator of the perception of economics as "the dismal science." Malthus reasoned that human population tends to grow at a geometrical rate, while our ability to prooduce subsistence increases at a merely arithmetical rate and so we find ourselves in an ever-deepening spiral of suffering caused by overpopulation.In Malthus's view this process could only be slowed by the "preventive check" of decreased fertility (presumably attained through zealous spiritual devotion) or, the "positive check" of increased mortality.

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Africa, the poorest continent, has 20.2% of the world's land area, and only 13% of its population.

North America has a whopping 2.1 acres of arable land per person!

Ever-increasing numbers of people in the worlds poorest areas are moving into cities.

This has placed great pressures on already-troubled nations.

Does the fact that so many desperate people are moving into cities show that the worlds poorest nations are running out of land? Huge tracts of farmland are used to grow crops for export.

Often, the farmland that was once available to peasants has been bought up in multinational corporations, under the rubric of global free trade.

Critics will protest that such tremendous yields would require the dubious efficiencies of monoculture, petrochemical fertilizers and genetic engineering and that is probably true.

Yet it is also true that, in all liklihood, we'll never need to grow anywhere near that much.

And even more of the earth"s "carrying capacity" is being used to make weapons, or toys, or crops for export all manner of things that, despite the wretched poverty of so many of the world's people, no one needs for survival.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the earth has the capacity to grow food for some 33 billion people.


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