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McMaster University
Tracy Prowse

Summary – pp. 275 – 282 Population Trends • Demographic-Transition Theory: connection between fertility and mortality rates and socioeconomic development • Three phases that are part of the theory: o Phase 1 – high fertility rate is accompanied by a high mortality rate; meaning low population growth (e.g. preindustrial societies) o Before intensive agriculture, populations were controlled through postpartum abstinence, abortions, infanticide, and migration. After the occurrence of intensive agriculture, populations began to increase in size but things like diseases, parasites and natural disasters brought up mortality rates. o Phase 2 – high fertility rate (dramatic pop growth) coupled with low mortality rates (e.g. industrialization in Western Europe, N. America rd and 3 World societies) o Low mortality rates are due to increased medicine, food supply and sanitation and health o Phase 3 – falling fertility rates and falling mortality rates (e.g. advanced industrial societies like Western Europe, US, Japan) o Industrialization brings in the idea of family planning, and ideas of individualism • The Demographic Transition Model Applied • Population during paleolithic period: 10 million, 1 A.D.: 300 million, early stages of industrialization (1650 – 1900): tripled from 510 million to 1.6 billion, 1950: 2.5 billion, 1990: 5.4 billion, 2000: 6 billion • Thomas Robert Malthus predicted that the human population would always grow more quickly than the food supply to support them. Thus humans would face hunger, increased warfare, scarce resources, poverty • Doubling time: a method to measure the period of time it takes for a population to double • Industrial nations like the US, Japan, Western Europe have reached Phase 3 • Eventually, when the growth rate is negative (less births than deaths), a country like Japan reaches zero population growth (ZPG) – where the population replaces itself • The demographic-transition theory can explain industrial societies in Phase 3 but doesn’t explain other countries that are in Phase 3 but are not industrial such as Kenya and Mexico • Anthropologists have discovered that due to improvements in vaccinations, vitamins, antibiotics and increased living standards, the need for rural people to have large families has been reduced • When societies become wealthier, healthier, better educated and urbanized, world populations slowly decline • The One Child Policy in China • In 1979 it was projected that China`s population would increase to 1.4 billion in the year 2000 and 4.3 billion in 2080 if the current trends in population growth were maintained; thus the one child policy was implemented. • This was aimed at eventually reaching ZPG • Families that restricted themselves to one child were given free health care and land, free education for their children and preferential employment opportunities • Those with more than one child were penalized by paying higher taxes and nonpreferential treatment • Between 1980 and 1990, the growth rate fell dramatically from 2% to 1.4% • This policy caused social controversies, especially in agricultural areas – female infanticide was carried out as sons were preferred over daughters • In 1989 the policy was relaxed, and changed to “one son or two child” and this will end in 2015 • In April 2000, the Chinese gov stated that children of “only children” can have two children but preferential treatment for couples with one child still exists • Twins are considered extremely lucky and only children face stress in school and the workforce since they are the sole providers for their elderly parents and grandparents • Loss of Biodiversity • Biodiversity: genetic and biological variation within and among different species of plants and animals • Biologists have only described 1.7 million species of plants and animals and they estimate there are 7 million more to be discovered, with 50% living in tropical rain forests • At least one species goes extinct every day, often due to human impact • We have not even named 90% of the existing species in the world • With increased industrialism, mechanized agriculture and deforestation, 1/4 th of the world’s higher plant families may become extinct • 1 out of 4 prescription drugs come from flowering plants, but >1% have been studied for pharmaceutical advantages • As long as it is preserved, humans can benefit with a wealth of knowledge and potential resources and solutions to food and health problems • Ethnographic Research on the Green Revolution • Cultural anthropologists have found that mechanized agriculture has actually created economic and social problems • Wealthy farmers are only able to use their money to buy irrigation equipment, chemical fertilizers and tracts of land –this takes away from poor farmers and this creates inequality and social classes that causes economic and social problems • In places like Mexico, grains produced with the help of the revolution are fed to animals and so humans do not benefit • Only those that can afford meat have benefited from the Green Revolution • The gap between the rich and poor has increased and energy, labour and food are being underutilized • Case Study: The Green Revolution in Shahidpur • Murray Leaf studied the effect of the Green Revolution in a Sikh village, Shahidpur in Punjab, India • The village switched from subsistence to mechanized agriculture by trialling new strains of wheat, new tractors, insecticides and irrigation technologies • Poor peasants were aided by the gove
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