Filipino Beliefs and Traditions

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Malthus and Africa

Africa, being a third world country with much economic oppression, is currently being debated in the General Assembly about whether or not it should have population control. Many experts believe that, if not controlled, the rate of the increasing population of Africa will have disastrous effects. Over two hundred years ago, a man by the name of Thomas Robert Malthus wrote an essay on the effects of population and the food supply titled "An Essay on the Principle of Population." This essay dealt with the growth of population and if not restrained, how it would destroy man's subsistence here on Earth (Geyer 1). Much of what he wrote applies to not only Africa, but also the entire world today.

Currently, the population growth in the Western Nations is approaching zero. This means that each family is having 2.1 children, enough to replace the current population. For North America to double, it would take one hundred years, for Europe, two hundred. But for Africa to double, it would take only twenty-four years. There are many factors as to why Africa, and many other third world countries, reproduces at such a rate. Lack of contraceptives, traditional values, high infant mortality, and poor education are a few of these factors (Duffey 2). "It is a lot easier for a country to deal with its problems if it has less people," says Brian Hailwel, who studies Malthus's theories (Kolasky 1). Carl Haub who stated, "It is almost impossible for a developing country to move from the Third World to the First World when their population is rising so rapidly" supports Hailwel's statement.

Malthus believed that the evolution of mankind existed in cycles. Good times occurred when there were high wages and good living conditions, which led to early marriages and rapid population increase. Then come the bad times. Disease, low wages, and epidemics lead to population decrease and a restored balance between population and resources. This cycle...
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