Malthus’ theory about overpopulation, written in ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798), might be familiar to you. If not, or if you just need a reminder, look at the graphs and explanations on the link below. This is a very basic guide to Malthus, but it’s a good start:
In the absence of positive checks (e.g. disease, famine) and preventative checks (e.g. sexual abstinence), Malthus thought that population could grow exponentially and outstrip food supply, which would grow at a slower rate. At this point, there wouldn’t be enough food to feed the high population.
1. What do you think of Malthus’ theory? Can you spot any flaws?
2. Do some further research about how popular Malthus’ theory has become. The below article is a good place to start; Sir David Attenborough has argued that we should control population to prevent the strain on resources. Can you also think of any examples of population control; perhaps start with a bit of research on China’s one-child policy?
There is a report here, and a much shorter associated article, which lists the challenges that overpopulation can cause:
Remember to maintain a critical eye. In the case studies on the link above, do you think that overpopulation is the only source of problems?