The Population Problem.docx

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21 Apr 2012
"The Population Problem" and Demographic Presentation: the seven billionth person was born a few
years ago. What does such a large global population mean?
World Population Trends
1990: 5.3 billion
Population and Malthus
Increase in population would lead to famine, war, poverty. Logic: The idea that population
increases at a geometric rate versus food production increases at a linear rate. Your population
exceeds carrying capacity.
Malthus said that population growth occurs amongst the poor, laboring class.
What prevents this?
o Technological advances (medicine), technique (crop rotation), Green Revolution,
new crops introduced from South America, pop doesn't always grow at a geometric
Poverty and Population
Much of the population growth historically. happens in the Global South. I.e. 2010: world pop
increased by 100 million people. 95% was in 3W... why?
o Developing world already has a larger poulation; higher fertility rates in the GS
Poverty and Population: direction of causation?
o Population grow -> poverty
o Poverty -> population growth (Cypher and Deeds)
Why do we people have children?
o Support systems -> form of social insurance. If the gov't isn't providing social welfare
o Children are free labor
o High infant mortality rates
o Cultural value of having children
o Preference of son
o Subjugation of women
o Entertainment
o Theme: poverty and population growth can decrease income
Does population growth -> poverty?
o "In some of the poorest countries high fertility rates threaten development and
perpetuate poverty"- UNFPA (State of World Population, 2011)
"the numbers aren't necessarily important, but trather that the
conditions exist so that children can grow, develop, and have access to
an education and opportuniteis to chagne the direction fo their lives
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and exit the cycles of poverty"- Marcela Suazo, Director of UNFPA for
Latin America and the Caribbean
o How might populatin growth impact poverty?
Denominator effect (GDP per capita)
Labor supply effects
Consumption of resources
Induced innovation
The poverty- population cycle (mutual caustaion)
o Poverty -> pop growth -> poverty -> pop growth -> poverty (poverty has a larger
effect on pop growth than vice versa)
Female education and fertility
o Women's education is correlated w/ fertility. Why?
Opportunity cost of children
Delayed marriage
Knowledge of contraception
Oppenness to contraception
Improved fall- back position
Neo- Malthusianism
o Pop growth -> array of social problems
o Pop growth has stabilized in 1W
o Thus, must control it in 3W
Coerceive measures may be necessary!
o The cancer of pop growth must be cut out by compulsion if voluntary measures fail -
Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb)
We must limit reproductive rights
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