Thursday, August 20, 2009
Theory of Population
The theory of population is an explanation of the phenomenon of population growth. It tries to explain the rise and fall, the growth and decrease of population in different countries. It surveys the trends and analyse the cause of the various stage in the curve of population. Based upon data in one or more particular countries a population theory seeks to generalise about the laws of population. It tries to unravel the first principles of demographical process. Though systemic theories of population have evolved very recently, theorising about population is sufficiently old. In against times statesmen and thinkers tried to control population according to the variability of means or to encourage it if required. Criteria for encouraging or discouraging were the military, political, social and economic issues. This is true about population theory even now. The problem of population is not worked out in vacuum. It is always considered in the context of economic, social and political issues. Of these the economic issue is the most important since the most important problem concerning population is to meet the need of the growing population. The history of population theories has been classified on the basis of before and after the advent of Malthus, the celebrated demographer. Thus the Periods are classified as Pre-Malthusian, Malthusian and Post Malthusian Periods. These Periods show thinking about population theories. But even before these early thinking can be discerned about population problems.
Early Thinking on Population:
Most of thinking in the west started with the Greek thinkers in the Greek scheme of life, the individual was a part of the state. The purpose of marriage was procreation wars required a continuous demand of soldiers. Therefore, procreation was encourage and even rewarded by Greeks and the Romans. The Spartans and the Athenians encouraged population and encouraged optimum population. According to Plato (427 – 347BC) a city state should have 5040 citizens so that highest good manly be achieved. In this ideal population Plato also did include women, children and slaves. Including them the total population of an ideal city in Plato’s times was about 50,000. Plato also did not over look the possibility that the demographic ideals may not be followed. Therefore, he recommended infanticide on the grounds of Eugenics. In order to control population and maintain its highest quality Plato recommended selective breeding among human beings. He recommended that the age of marriage for the girls should be between 16 and 20. Marriage was made compulsory. The peculiar number of 5040, accordings to Jawlt, is based upon numerology. According to Hutchison, “it was simply to aid in maintaining an even division of Property” Plato’s ideal on population, as expressed in his law, were based on the ideal of city sate.
After Plato, Aristotle (384 – 322BC) maintained that fast population growth leads to increase in Poverty and suggested abortions and infanticides in order to control the size of the city state. He also proposed family Planning to be prescribed by the state. Thus the Greek thinkers insisted both on proper quantity and quality of population.
Besides Greeks, the Romans also thought over population issues. They encouraged Procreation and made marriage compulsory. Those who do not marry were burdened by several disabilities.
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