Malthusís Theory of Population

Explain the key concepts of Malthusís theory of population change.

Malthusís Theory of Population states that human and other populations will increase until checked by natural limitations, principally to do with food supply. This is so as population would increase in a geometrical rate, while food production would grow in a arithmetical rate.

Elaborating, Malthusís theory suggests that the number of people would be constantly press on the means of physical subsistence. Included in his theory is the use of checks, positive and preventive. Positive checks are those that increase deaths: famine, diseases, war. Contrastingly, preventive checks are those that decrease births

According to Malthus, population tends to increase faster than the supply of food available for its needs. When there is a gain in food production relative over population growth, a higher rate of population would occur. On the other hand, if population grows too much relative to food production, it is checked by famine, diseases (positive checks).

Malthus also advocates sexual abstinence or restraint to control population increase. Expanding the idea further, He also suggested that people marry later and have smaller families. This would control the population to some extent.

These concepts went against the optimistic belief of the 19th century that a societyís fertility would lead to economic progress.

In passing time, these concepts also battled waning interests of scholars to predict population change due to the underestimation of the rate of technological advancement in the twentieth century. These advancement greatly increased food supplies and better means of birth controls.


Do we disprove arguments in part (a) questions?

To what extent is it true that Ďnecessity is the mother of inventioní when agricultural production needs to increase to meet rising food demands from a growing population?