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Submitted By lorcy98
Words 806
Pages 4
KEY POINTS * Thomas Malthus warned that population growth would exceed resource growth, leading to catastrophic checks on overpopulation. This would occur because population grew exponentially while food supply grew arithmetically. * Without population control, the population would be reduced by catastrophes such as famine or war according to Malthusian theory. * As a solution, Malthus urged moral restraint: people must practice abstinence, sterilization, and have criminal punishments for those who have more/">more children than they can support. * Malthusian catastrophes refer to naturally ocurring checks on population growth such as famine, disease, or war. * These Malthusian catastrophes have not taken place on a global scale due to progress in agricultural technology. However, many argue that future pressures on food production, combined with threats such as global warming, make overpopulation a still more serious threat in the future.

Early in the 19th century, the English scholar Reverend Thomas Malthus published "An Essay on the Principle of Population. " In it, he argued that overpopulation was the cause of many of the social ills observed in the industrial societies of Europe: poverty, malnutrition, and disease could all be attributed to overpopulation. According to Malthus, this was a mathematical inevitability. Malthus observed that, while resources tended to grow arithmetically, populations exhibit exponential growth. Thus, if left unrestricted, human populations would continue to grow until they would become too large to be supported by the food grown on available agricultural land. In other words, humans would outpace their local carrying capacity, the capacity of ecosystems or societies to support the local population.
As a solution, Malthus urged "moral restraint. " That is, he declared that people must practice

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