Neo-Malthusian Population Control - Essay Example

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The Malthusian theory of population holds that at some point in the future, with generational turnovers of humans, will outpace agricultural production. Based on the works of Thomas Malthus, this principle of population expresses cynicism about the future of human life…
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Neo-Malthusian Population Control
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Download file to see previous pages Celibacy, or sexual abstinence, struck Malthus as potentially an effective solution for solving the problem he himself diagnosed with human societies (Gilbert). As we should in contemporary liberal societies, most will find Malthus' conclusions unsettling, not only because of what they describe as in our future, but because of what his findings might justify in terms of government control. The kinds of methods that Neo-Malthusians suggest are necessary to protect the Malthusian catastrophe are undesirable at best and totalitarian at worst. Given this background, there are numerous theorists, from many different fields, who oppose the arguments of Neo-Malthusians by criticizing Thomas Malthus himself.
One criticism is apparent in economist David D. Friedman, who concludes that the prospect of parents having "too many" children is unlikely. His first argument is that although parents may not always be the most rational in deciding to have a child, it is even more difficult for a government, which is the only alternative from having parents decide. Parents are, despite common concerns, rational decision-makers. As the Malthusian catastrophe nears, reasons Friedman, economic effects are felt on fertility. Friedman says, "Consider also the effect of economic conditions on fertility. At the bottom of a depression, with short term income low and long-term prospects-for both parents and children-bleak, birth rates should fall. They do" (Freidman).
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