up in the air term paper

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Thomas Malthus: Theory of Population

Thomas Malthus' Theory of Population that was proposed more than two centuries ago, foretold the problems of food shortage that the world is facing today, due to uncontrolled increase in population.

In his famous treatise 'An Essay on the Principles of Population', Malthus stated that, the populations of the world would increase in geometric proportions while the food resources available for them would increase only in arithmetic proportions.

In simple words, if human population was allowed to increase in an uncontrolled way, then the number of people would increase at a faster rate than the food supply. A point would come when human population would reach the limit up to which food sources could support it. Any further increase would lead to population crash caused by natural phenomena like famine or disease.

According to him, human society could never be perfected. He believed that man is a lazy animal, who would lead a satisfied life and procreate as long as his family was well fed. However, as soon as human population would feel constraints in food supply due to increase in population, he would again work hard to provide enough for his family. This might lead to an increase in agricultural production to provide for all, but at the same time man would be back to his complacent stage, where all his needs would be fulfilled. This would start the cycle of overpopulation and food shortage, all over again. Malthus validated his theory on moral grounds that suffering was a way of making human beings realize the virtues of hard work and moral behavior. Such kind of suffering due to overpopulation and limited food supply was inevitable.

Assumptions

Malthus took into account two main assumptions:

1. Food is an essential component for human existence.
2. Humans have the basic urge to multiply.

Explanation
Malthus' theory was based on the assumption that the power of population to multiply is much greater

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