*Last week of Class!
11/27/18 Class Notes
Thomas Malthus (1789) was an English vicor (priest) who lived during the economic transformation of Britain from an agricultural (agrarian) society to an industrialized economy. - He is known for proposing a relationship between population and economic development.
- He claimed that a population affects future improvements on society. Malthus’ argument:
1. Population increases geometrically (population number multiplied by a constant factor each time period) → Graph shows exponential growth
2. Society’s ability to produce food increases arithmetically (production of food increases by addition of a constant factor each time period) → Graph shows linear growth - Over time, it is predicted that the population growth will outgrow food production yields
- The gap between population and food production will increase, resulting in a “surplus population” → where society is less able to generate food
3. There must be equilibrium restored
For restoration, there are 4 checks: 3 positive checks and 1 negative check: - 3 Positive Checks (POST-GROWTH): Disease, Famine, and War
These three factors would bring population and food production back into balance
- 1 Negative Check (PRE-GROWTH): what society could do to delay/ slow down demographic change of exponentially increasing population and decreasing food production: Encourage later marriage (crisis)
- A negative check TODAY would be advocating for birth control
In response, there is criticism of Malthusian Approach:
1. Malthus’ argument lacks geographic and historical specificity
- His ideals assume that the relationship between population and resources are the same for all places in the world Don't forget about the age old question of Who is the father of containment?
2. Population doesn’t automatically lead to increased resource use:
- Just because a population increases, doesn’t mean more of the resources will be used up immediately
- Other factors to consider would be how developed society is:
- Resource use = function of Population + function of Affluence + function of Technology
A woman named Esther Boserup (1965) showed a different perspective: 3. Population growth may be beneficial for some societies.
This is particularly for agricultural societies, or societies with a lack of capital. a. There is more labor (more hands to help out) at the family level.
b. More children born could provide stimulus to social economic improvement
This approach looks at the productivity of labor: Don't forget about the age old question of What was the name of the publication that darwin published?
- “Early mouth as two hands” → Although a child is another mouth to feed, it also provides another set of working hands to contribute to the family
- “Necessity is the mother of invention” → if a person really needed to do something, they would think of ways to do whatever it would take to fulfill their need.
4. Malthusians largely ignore the role played by colonialism and its effects on how the global economy operates
- Access to food is determined by how markets operate and how food is distributed - Countries that were once colonized have different economies than present day developed economies
5. Malthusians ignore the role of science in societal context
- Historically, it has been shown that food production has increased faster than population growth
- As technology has advanced, innovations have allowed for more production of food
This has resulted in two different views on relationship between population and poverty: The Malthusians:
a. Population growth results in poverty and lack of development as a society b. The solution would be to LIMIT population growth
a. Poverty is what leads to population growth Don't forget about the age old question of How does quantity supply of a good respond to a change in the price of that good?
b. Poverty is caused by issues of control over wealth and land
- Wealthy landowners would invest in land for their own interests of profit while the majority of society is left poor
c. There is an issue of unequal distribution of wealth in most of the world, most noticeably in the Global South If you want to learn more check out Explain the function of a ticketron.
d. A solution of this uneven wealth distribution could be: Land Reforms → distribute land equally among peasant farmers and provide educational programs → would provide for implementation of new advanced technologies and more efficient methods of farming → would lead to increased food production We also discuss several other topics like What is the study of human body measurements?
Question: Is growing population causing the decrease of food production? Answer: It’s much more complicated than giving a simple yes or no answer - What’s certain is that there is no clear link between the increase of population and the decrease of food production
- There are various factors to take into account when considering the effects of population growth on food production
11/29/18 Class Notes (Last day of Class!)
Observation: 1960s- present day: Asia and Latin America both have increasing levels of food production, while Africa has had a steady level of food production
Rhetorical question: If Malthus’ argument about food production and population growth doesn’t work for the globe as a whole, then why should we follow his ideals? Is there another explanation? If you want to learn more check out When does crossing over take place?
Why is there mass poverty and lack of food in Africa’s economy?
Answer of what the present day issue really is: Inefficient Agricultural Yields a. There is a lack of increase in the productivity of agricultural yield
b. The supply of food does not reach required levels to sustain entire population This issue may result from:
a. Physical factors
b. Historical factors (colonization)
c. Political economy
Some important issues present in Africa’s economy:
❖ Severely underdeveloped infrastructure
Poor transportation infrastructure → transporting food and fertilizers for farming much more difficult and costly (fertilizers for African farmers much more expensive than for farmers in other countries → due to difficulty of transportation)
- Loss of food during transport and storage
❖ Soil Degradation:
Largest areas of soil degradation occurring in Africa, Asia, Central America - Soil degradation results from overgrazing of grass from livestocks, desertification (spreading of desert)
In Africa, the Sahara desert is spreading and moving South!!
- Areas most vulnerable to desertification are low population density areas ❖ Soil Erosion: Reduces amount of arable land
- 77% of Africa is affected by soil erosion
❖ Pests are becoming more resistant to insecticides
❖ Low socio-economic status of women
Women’s role in society is the production of food (farming)
- However, because of their low status in society, women face problems of having little to no credit (money) and little to no education → this affects their ability to produce food
❖ Lack of diverse crops
There is mass practice of monoculture: planting a large amount of only one crop → this was a practice from during colonization of Africa
- Many crops are produced for export
❖ Land ownership conflicts/ patterns
Land owners are more interested in making profit from exporting crops, rather than providing food for the local people in the economy
❖ Rising Issue/Factor: Climate Change
Effects of climate change are causing:
- Emergence of new microbial diseases to food growing regions
- More extreme and unpredictable weather patterns
- Droughts becoming increasingly longer → major issue in Africa
A warming planet has the most impact on rural areas.
Final Topic to be addressed in Topic 4: The Political Economy of Drought and Famine in the Sahel, West Africa
❖ In the Sahel, there has been ongoing famines and droughts for decades: ❖ Sahel climate: arid, hot, with very little rainfall
It is also a Monsoonal climate: dry season and a rainy season → this climate has a significant impact on agricultural production
- Sahelian Monsoon: Intertropical convergence zone: area where warm air currents meet with cold air currents
- When warm air rises, it sucks in air to replace it → the air it grabs is usually warm moist air above the ocean → this causes the monsoon
❖ Agriculture in Sahel: There is a major reliance on 2 main crops: Millet and Sorghum (cereals) → These crops can survive on the small amount of rainfall
❖ A significant issue in this region: there is now greater unpredictability in rainfall Global precipitation patterns changed between 1931- 1950 and 1961-1980 - The Sahel became much drier (while East Africa and East Brazil became wetter) - This change reduced the strength of the monsoon in Sahel → the monsoon doesn’t shift as far north as it did before
- There is now less rain in Northern Sahel
❖ Unpredictability in rainfall has resulted in a Feedback Loop (a cycle of events) Less rain → less vegetation → more spread of desert → more locust infestations Locusts: pests (large grasshoppers) that invade and infest fields of crops - They breed underground where there is moisture in the dirt
- As the desert is spreading southward, moisture in the dirt is also pushed southward → the locusts follow the moisture
- Locusts infestations have devastating impacts on food production
❖ Cotton production/ yields are also decreasing
❖ Climate change is also worsening agricultural production
It is estimated that by 2050, there will be drastically less productivity in Sahel
The impacts of bad harvests on African economy:
1. Prices of food rise and become more expensive to purchase
2. Higher prices limits ability of families to buy nutritious food
3. As a result, families reduce consumption of food
4. This affects society as a whole in the long run → the most vulnerable are the children, pregnant women → This leads to malnourished children → this leads to issues in physical and mental development