Roots and Fruits of Population Growth: Back to Malthus or Forward to Marx?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 18:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jonathan ANSON, Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
World population, currently approaching 7.5 billion, will probably exceed 11 billion by the end of the century, almost double what it was at turn of the present century. The growth is uneven, and the result is a redistribution of the world's population: at the end of this century Europe will have no more people than it had fifty years ago, whereas Africa's population will have multiplied 20-fold, and will have gone up from under 10 percent to over 30 percent of the world's population (1).  Not only is population growing, but it is currently growing in those regions of the world that that have the least resources at their disposal, and the result is liable to be a dramatic rise in world inequality; increased conflict over access to resources; and increased migrationary pressure from the poor to the richer regions of the world. Our contribution to the Common Sessions will discuss:

1. The history and sources of growth in world population over the past two centuries (in particular mortality and fertility) and its eventual stabilisation

2. Two basic approaches to world population growth: The Malthusian approach which views growth as catastrophe, and the Marxian approach, which sees the result of population growth as contingent on social conditions and responses

3. The options which humanity faces given the anticipated growth of world population and its redistribution

(1) United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, custom data acquired via website, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/DataQuery/