Thomas Malthus Impact On Population And Economy

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Thomas Malthus in his paper An Essay on the Principle of Population suggest that population and economy is related. While population exponentially increases, food production only increase arithmetically. Moreover, as the economy grows, the population would also increase until a point where the economy cannot supply the whole population. It's at this point when factors such as preventive checks, or positive checks kick in to reduce the population back to the equilibrium where the economy can supply the population. However, Malthus's conclusion that growth is hindered by population can be considered wrong if we look at history and economic history of the world where there are situations where population increase brings upon changes in productivity…show more content…
These changes brought both population and income per head significantly upward at the same times and continued to be sustained until now, as written by J.L. Anderson (1995) in his book Explaining Long-term Economic Change. This phenomenon entirely went against Malthus description of the relationship between population and economy, which stated that these two variables are inversely related. When population increases, income per capita will drop until population is checked and from which income will start rising. In his book The World Economy, Angus Maddison (2006) shows us data of population and GDP per capita as well as its growth rate from three period of time in human history: from year 0 to 1000, 1000 to 1820, and 1820 to 1998. As the table shows us, there is an increase in population around the world between 1000 and 1820. Nevertheless, the period of 1820 to 1998 is when we can observe the trend as described by Anderson above, especially in Western Europe, where the Industrial Revolution began. If during 1000-1820, Western Europe had a population growth rate was 0.20 annualy, it jumped to 0.60 during the 1820-1998 period. Similarly, GDP per capiata growth rate had a sharp increase from 0.14 to 1.51. Therefore, we can conclude that even though there was a significant increase in population, income per person was able to keep up with it,…show more content…
This is the mainpoint of Boserup(1966) which states that higher population creates demand for higher agriculture output in order to feed the people. An example of this theory could be seen in China. The country had to face the challenge of having limited cultivatable land comparing to the growing population. For example, Kent Deng (2000) wrote in his article that during the Ming-Qing period, there were a rapid increase in population. In order, to accommodate with this growth, there were a series of changes in the Yangzi-Han Plain. Redevelopment of land, new method of land ultilization and reclaimation, or new crops caused total grain outpout to doubled. In Shandong in the northeast, land transformation, new cropping system and adoption of new species helped the province maintained its production despite the doubled population. In these two examples, we can see that the rise of population in China did not cause growth to be hindered. Instead, it pushed for more land acquisition and technological progress, two factors that were not accounted by Malthus, which helped growth to keep up with population

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