Malthus vs. Boserup or What Are the Prospects of the Humankind

No one disputes the fact that the population of the Earth is being increasing rapidly.  In 1800 the population of the Earth was reported to be approximately 1 billion, by 1960 it reached the point of 3 billion and nowadays the global statistics indicates that the population of the earth numbers more than 6 billion individuals. The primary concern linked to the rapid tempos of the population growth is the food problem, i.e. the projected deficiency of the global food supplies. This essay examines the main point of the theories and the limitations thereto advocated by Malthus and Ester. The postulates and the main arguments supported by the proponents of these theories are analyzed, compared and contrasted.

First and foremost, it shall be emphasized that both economists explored the same problem, since both have the convergent opinion that the population of the earth rises exponentially, whilst the increase of the food supplies of the international community are increasing arithmetically, due to the limitation of the agricultural capacities of the major food producers.

In accordance with the opinion of Malthus, the geometrical increase of the Earth population will  have been ceased by 2060 due to the fact that the arithmetical progression in the production of the foodstuff will ultimately match the needs of the humanity.   In other words, no more food will be produced because of the exhaustion of the agricultural limits and capacities of the Earth. The second aspect of his theory is the fact that in order to avert the upcoming famines and illnesses that will invariably seize the population owing to the projected malnutrition and undernourishment-related lethal ailments of the people, governments shall launch set of positive and negative checks. Positive checks implicate the verification that the accumulated food supplies will suffice to nourish the remaining and the newly-born members of the targeted community (Gilbert, 1998).

The last, but not the least pillar of the theory advocated by Malthus is the statement that when the productive capacities of the global food industry reach its maximum, the process of soil deterioration and “depreciation” occurs inevitably.   Provided that the agricultural lands are exploited incessantly to feed the inhabitants of the earth, it can be taken for granted that soon they will become barren and absolutely inapplicable for the agricultural needs of the community.

The most internationally recognized contender of the Mathus’s theory is the well-acknowledged Danish economist Boserup Ester, who in 1965 expressed completely ambivalent theory, which is by all standards considerably more optimistic in its nature.  Following the viewpoint of this outstanding scholar, the theory of Malthus is reasonable, but it does contain a serious limitation which completely eradicates its scholarly soundness and therefore its practical value as well.  To be more exact, when Malthus was compiling the structure of his theory, the currently achieved tempos of the scientific and technical progress were not considered by him at all. Specifically, professor Boserup considers, and his reasoning has been globally recognized by the majority of his colleagues, that the increase of the Earth’s population will serve as an incentive for the development of the technological accomplishments (Boserup, 1966), which increase the scope and enhances the standards of the food production, as well as food distribution among those, who need it.

Overall, it can be recapitulated that the model of the ulterior development of the humankind has been more successfully composed by the Danish economist, than by his colleague since it takes into consideration the particulars of the contemporary development of the agricultural industry and equally addresses the technological impact on the production and distribution of the nourishment.

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