Projection of population growth made by English economist Thomas Malthus
. He based his theory on the population explosion
that was already becoming evident in the 18th century, and argued that the number of people would increase faster than the food supply. Population would eventually reach a resource limit (overpopulation
), and any further increase would result in a population crash, caused by famine, disease, or war.
Malthus was not optimistic about the outcome and suggested that only moral restraint (birth control) could prevent crisis. More recently, famines in Ethiopia and other countries, where drought, civil war, and poverty have reduced agricultural output, might suggest that he was correct. In the USA, the UK, and other developed countries, the agrarian revolution boosted food production, and contraception led to a decline in birth rate
; and in some countries, such as China, population control
policies have been introduced.
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