Sources of Demo Data

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The issue of population and development has increasingly evolved into the ‘population, environment, and development nexus. In the face of this mandate for research on population and environment dynamics, different theoretical frameworks are brought on board. Ester Boserup was one of the scholars who have contributed to these theoretical frameworks hence this essay will attempt to expound Ester her theory of population growth and demonstrate how applicable the theory is to Africa. Later on, the weaknesses of the theory will be brought in with reference to the African context. Lastly a conclusion will summarize the whole essay. A theory is defined as a set of facts, propositions, or principles analyzed in their relation to one another to explain phenomena. (Chambers dictionary, 2005) Population growth is defined as the total number of people who inhabit an area, region, or country, or the number of people in a particular group who inhabit an area. Ester Boserup (May 18, 910 - September 24, 1999) was a Danish economist, writer. She studied economical and agricultural development, worked at the United Nations as well as other international organizations, and she wrote several books. Her most notable book is The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure. (Aldine, 1965) This book presents a "dynamic analysis embracing all types of primitive agriculture. The work undoes the assumption dating back to Malthus’s time (and still held in many quarters) that agricultural methods determine population (via food supply). Instead, Boserup argued that population determines agricultural methods. A major point of her book is that "necessity is the mother of invention". It was her great belief that humanity would always find a way and was quoted in saying "The power of ingenuity would always outmatch that of demand" in a letter to Northern Irish philosopher T S Hueston. She also influenced debate on the role of women in workforce and human development, and the possibility of better opportunities of work and education for women. (Jain, 2005) According to Malthusian theory, the size and growth of the population depends on the food supply and agricultural methods. In Boserup’s theory agricultural methods depend on the size of the population. In the Malthusian view, in times when food is not sufficient for everyone, the excess population will die. However, Boserup argued that in those times of pressure, people will find ways to increase the production of food by increasing workforce, machinery, fertilizers, (Jain, 2005) Bosarupian theory focuses on the relationship between population, environment, and technology. Her concept of ‘population,’ encompasses population density as well as absolute size and growth. Her concept of environment refers mainly to land resources and related factors such as climate and soil quality. Since her focus is historical civilizations or developing countries, ‘technology’ for Boserup refers mainly to the tools and inputs used in agriculture, the primary productive activity in these societies. In arraying relationships between population, environment, and technology, Boserup proposes that it is generally agreed that successive change in technology has an important influence on the population size. The opposite side of the interrelationship, the influence of population size on technology, has attracted less attention (Boserup, 1981, p.3). In response, Boserup focus her attention on exploring the role of population as an independent variable that influences both the development of agricultural technology which, in turn, shape the productive capacity of resources. Boserup argues that in the short-term a period of sustained population growth would lower output per man hour. This occurs more intensive methods mean more hours of work on the part of the agriculture laborer. The ratio of output to labour cost, thus, deteriorates in the short run. In the long run, however,...
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