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Chapter 5

SOC 2280 Chapter 5: Harper Fletcher

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University of Guelph
SOC 2280
Scott Brandon

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Chapter 5, Harper and Fletcher: Population, Environment and Food - the earth’s rapid growing population makes more demands on all kinds of natural resources and increases the amount of waste and pollution - human populations have the capacity to grow at exponential rates - took over a million years to reach 1 billion people - doubling time - the number of years it takes a population to double - poorer nations tend to have higher doubling times - 8.1 billion by 2025 Dynamics of Population Change - Thomas Malthus Essay on Population, world’s most influential work on social consequences of population growth - Malthus argued that that human population would increase exponentially, supply of land, food and material resources would increase arithmetically - Instead of limited natural resources and labour causing limits to population, population growth caused resources to be overused and the market of labour to decline - population growth caused poverty and human misery - overpopulation would force wages down and with such low wages, landowners and business owners would employ more labour, thus increasing the means of subsistence - natural law of population - war, disease and poverty were positive checks on population growth - Malthus argued that if people remained poor it was their own fault as poverty should be a stimulus to life people out of misery - opposed English Poor Laws as he felt they would actually serve to perpetuate misery by enabling poor people to be supported by others The Demographic Transition Model - demographic transitions rank among the mosts sweeping and documented trends of modern times 1 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - model of population changes has 3 stages: - 1. primitive social organization where mortality and fertility are relatively high - 2. transitional social organization, where mortality declines, fertility remains high and population shows a high rate of natural increases - 3. modern social organization, where mortality and fertility stabilize at relatively low levels and near stationary population is possible - industrialization upgraded both manufacturing and agricultural productivity so that the economic base could support much larger populations - medical advances in the control of epidemic disease and improvements in public safety like urban sewage, water systems and garbage disposal contributed to improved health and reduced mortality rates - as populations became increasingly urbanized, family changes occurred - rural children are an economic asset (eating little and contributing on family farm) where urban children are more of an economic burden - the demographic and economic transitions from industrialization led to a general improvement in living standards for all persons and a gradual reduction in income inequalities - the demographic transition process has meant that beginning with social and economic modernization, death rates declined, followed after a time interval by declining birth rates - between this was a transitional growth period when birth rates remain high but death rates rapidly declined - transitional growth is what the population exposition since beginning of industrial era is all about - two limitations to demographic model: - 1. model has not been able to precisely predict levels of mortality or fertility or the time of fertility declines at national or global levels - 2. ethnocentric in assuming that historic processes of demographic change in MCD’s are being repeated in the LCD’s The Demographic Divide: MDC’s and LDC’s - MDC - more developed country - LDC - less developed country 2 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - as MDC population went through the period of transitional growth they expanded into less densely populated frontier areas, right with land and resources to be developed - today most MDC are headed toward population stabilization, stage 3 of demographic transition model - they exhibit declining birth rates and slowing growth - by 2000, Western Europe had nearly zero population growth - in LDC’s there is rapid transitional growth without the benefit of territorial expansion (without the unpopulated land or colonies to absorb the growth) - high birth rates and levels of mortality - the declining death rates in LCD are attributed to to effective techniques of disease control by agencies such as WHO - economic development has not kept pace in LDCs - cultural norms and religion still favour large families - even when the world’s economy grows, people in LDCs are experiencing very little economic growth while the population continues to grow Population Redistribution: Urbanization and Migration - population redistribution: the net spatial changes in population as individuals and families move from place to place - two most important forms are urbanization and migration; both related to pressures of population growth Urbanization - urban life is the cultural, economic and political centre of modern society - by 2008 half the world’s population live in urban areas - industrial era urbanization was pushed by expanding urban opportunities, rural overpopulation, poverty, consolidation of land and declining farm labour - cities grew because they were more efficient - they brought more raw materials, works and factories, financiers and buyers and sellers together in one location - by 2025 UN estimates that 9 of the 10 largest cities will be LDCs 3 Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - urbanization in LDC today is largely a matter of the push of rural poverty without the simultaneous pull of dynamic urban economic growth - slums in cities have become home to a large population Migration - the relatively long-term movement of an individual, household or group to a new location outside their community of origin - migration is not only a numerical redistribution but also a slow but pervasive social interaction process that diffuses and reshapes human cultures and the distributions of power and wealth - migration may be forced as in the case of prisoners that the British shipped to penal colonies - migration may also be voluntary as in the case where Europeans came to North America in the nineteenth centuries seeking material improvement and greater opportunities - migrants always change the stratification system of communities by inserting or removing themselves from the hierarchies of a community - internal migration is sometimes free in the sense that people are choosing to move in relation to their perception of better living conditions elsewhere - international migration is sometimes free, but usually means that the migrant has met fairly stringent entrance requirements, is entering illegally or is being granted refugee status - the most common theory about the causes of migration is push - pull theory, which says that some people move because they are pushed out of their homelands while other move because they have been pulled or attracted to a new places - in reality, a complicated mix of both push and pull factors work together to create migratory behaviour - pushes can include poverty, lack of economic opportunities, fears for
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