Dispel the Myth of Malthus 

Church of Euthanasia is a religious organisation promoting the “voluntary population reduction” to bring about “balance of the humans and the remaining species”.  Their website is here. If you go into the website, it has a counter on how much population is on the planet (which automatically increases every half a second), their slogan is “Save the planet, kill yourself”. They claimed that “human population is increasing by 1 million every 4 days” without any source while making fear-mongering claims of us having “tremendous environmental consequences”. While disguising themselves as a “religious” organisation, they are nothing but a radical environmentalist group. Their “sermons” are slam poetry (aka rant which doesn’t rhyme),they even have a guide on how to cook human flesh! (Can be found in the above link under sermon, read at your own discretion). While most people are not as extreme as them, the idea of overpopulation is a common misconception being fed to us by the “scientists” and the media. We have one person to blame however, his name was Thomas Robert Malthus

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Thomas Robert Malthus wrote a dystopian book called  An Essay on the Principle of Populationon on the impeding death of the human race due to “overpopulation”. The first criticism of Malthus’ work is his claim of human population doubling every 25 years, this claim had no substantial weight. If we look at some of the graphs of human population history in figure 1 and 2. The advancement in technology allowed for improvement in farming to supply food for more people, such as selective breeding, genetic modification, light sensors, greenhouse, automated grain off loading, machine harvesting, chemical fertiliser, etc. Figure 1 also shows the breakdown of population from developed country and less developed countries, we can see the effect of improved living standard and education has effect on families to plan their reproduction. There are an extensive amount of literature on this [1][2][3]. Clearly, Malthus did not expect the exponential increase we have seen in the last century.

Fig 1. Human Population Growth
Graph showing mankind growth; between 4000 BC and 1000 AD, the number of people remained relatively constant at less than 1 billion people ; following a dip in 1500 for the Bubonic Plague, the number of people rapidly grew to over six billion by 2000.
Fig 2. Human Population

Another of his assertions was that food production is constrained, therefore it would not meet the demand of the growing population but again, we can see the effect of subsidising the farming industry has in fact led to an oversupply of food.

Fig 3. Prevalence of Obesity

This led to his solutions, first one is Eugenics which he claimed

“As the human race, however, could not be improved in this way without condemning all the bad specimens to celibacy”

However, his second solution was to create a moral constraint of people acting against their impulse, to only procreate once they are ready, he suggested the abolition of the poor law (State welfare) in which it would reduce the inflation and made people independent.

His theory was backed up by his claim that when population increased faster than production of food, real wages fall causes the cost of living to go up, this allows people to reduce to the rate of population growth with planning, however, if we look at the actual data, the poor actually has higher fertility than the rich, therefore the theory is cannot stand under scrutiny.  Other factor such as division of labour rendered the agrarian society Malthus came from implausible.

Look at the urban environment today, politicians have cried the cities are too “over populated”, but the fact is that the cities are not an enclosed environment where people could not move in or out, people simply chose to congregate in the urban area because of job opportunity and ease of transportation, there are in fact a number of used land outside of the such settings which could be used for production of foodstuff.

There are hungry people in the world but it’s not caused by over population. The famine in Soviet Russia was not caused by over population, it would be laughable to imply overpopulation caused the hunger when it was able to sustain the same amount of people before central planning took place. This is the same story in Africa of lack of entrepreneurship caused by the political failure which resulting in famine in their naturally fertile lands.


Malthus’ doomsday warning was so effective that we see people attempt to use this idea in reality. Let’s look at China, China adopted the “One-Child Policy” from the late 70s to prevent “overpopulation”, people having more than one child are fined. One of the first consequence of this policy is the disparity in sex ratio, Chinese  had the tendency to value male children more than female children, this lead to reports of abandonment of female babies if the first child was female, in some cases discrimination and abuse also occur, which can lead to increased sex crime and trafficking [4]. It is estimated there would be 24 million more men than women of marriageable age by 2020 [5]. The second consequence is that children who were not first born are not protected under the law nor recognised under the law[6] The last consequence is population ageing, which like Japan and other advanced countries, the population is not increasing to provide enough services and goods for the welfare State.

Several fictional works have also been influenced  by the doomsday preaching. The novel Make Room! Make Room! and the film adaptation Soylent Green took inspiration from Malthus and transformed it in a terrifying level; in the video game Hydrophobia, ecoterrorists hijacks a ocean-liner who call themselves Malthusians attempt to kill most of the population on the planet to prevent overpopulation.


 

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