Malthius in the article An Essay on the Principles of Population”,asserted that the natural rates of human population if remains unchecked, would lead to a dramatic increase in population and the production of food would not match the population increase. He believed that something must be used to keep the population in check to prevent mass starvation. According to Malthus, preventive checks that can be used to control the population growth include birth control to limit family size, but this could not effectively limit the large numbers of the poor. Therefore, he argued that war, famine, misery, and plague would help control the increasing number of populations.The argument of Malthus has sparked reactions from different people. Ray Percival and Lester Brown have offered opinions regarding the argument of Malthus regarding populations growth.
Ray Percival, in his article Malthus and His Ghost: When He Formulated His Theory Ignored the Ingenuity of Manrefutes the claims of the Thomas Malthus and the neo-Malthusians by arguing that human population growth does not hinder but leads to the rise of people from hardship and poverty to a much better life. From the perspective of Malthus, the population is growing geometrically, but the supply of food is growing arithmetically. But Malthus focused on the rational judgment of an individual to bear potential offsprings, the fear of being reduced in rank, and the feeling of increasing in number as well as the struggle to support more offsprings. But I agree with the Neo-Malthusians point of view that if the population continues to grow at the current rate, people would be forced to starve because the rate of food production does not match the rate of population growth. But Percival argues that this perception is wrong asserting that when more people exist, they will be free to exploit their own and resources on earth to provide enough food to feed them. From his perspective, he argues that the planet is a self-sustaining system.
Lester Brown, in his article “The numbers, don’t lie: why Malthus was right,” sounded a warning that corresponded to the Essay on the Principle of Population of a tendency for exponential population growth but with an arithmetic growth of food supply. Brown offered support to the Malthius essay on the Principle of Population, reiterating the need to control the rate of population growth, at least to match with the rate of food supply. Otherwise, it would reach a point where the people will be forced to starve because the population is too large for the amount of food available. Brown agrees with Malthius, basing his argument on the continuing freshwater scarcity that compels him to worry more about the supply of food in the future. He also argues that fish are growing scarce in the oceans, a steady decline in the amount of farmland per person, and global warming that can interfere with food supplies in various ways. He, therefore, believes that more people translates into more misery.
From the two reacting to Malthus’ essay, it is noted that everyone is providing evidence to support his argument. However, I believe that Ray Percival was rightto refute the arguments of Malthus. Therefore, I agree with Ray Percival’s reactions. Sometimes, I wish Thomas Malthus was alive today to see the world feeding six billion people, and by the time he was writing, there were around 800 million people in the world. I believe that the earth is a self-sustaining system that can sustain the number of people living in it. I, however, disagree with Brown because food production is still growing and the costs are reducing. At the same time, I believe that starvation and malnutrition reflects political incompetence but not problems with the supply of food. The prices of materials are also decreasing showing an ever-increasing supply, particularly with technological advancement.
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