Population, Economic Growth, and Agriculture in Less Developed Countries

Population, Economic Growth, and Agriculture in Less Developed Countries

Population, Economic Growth, and Agriculture in Less Developed Countries

Population, Economic Growth, and Agriculture in Less Developed Countries

Synopsis

Since 1950 the world population has increased by over 3 billion. This population explosion occurred mainly in the developing areas of the world. This study analyses the relationship between population and economics to understand such growth.

Excerpt

This book intends to offer an analysis of the relationships between population, economic growth and agriculture in less developed countries - encompassing the discussion of the different positions in this debate - that could interest university students in development and population and their teachers and generally readers with a background in economics and an interest in the population debate.

A difficult task in a project like this is to select the topics to be included, and those that, although interesting and relevant, are less so in the perspective chosen and are therefore excluded. The perspective that has guided the selection here is the following.

Population pessimism is based on two major grounds: Malthusian concerns about the finiteness of natural resources and concerns about the (per capita) capital endowment of the economy. This book argues that population optimism, on the other hand, is very much related to the extension of a neoclassical perspective to the theory of institutions. Agriculture is both an important part of the development problem and the traditional (Malthusian) basis for population pessimism. Agriculture is also a sector where the more recent, less pessimistic ('revisionist') position has found relatively solid empirical and theoretical support. By and large the theoretical background of the analyses that suggest population optimism for agriculture lies in a more general belief that the power of the invisible hand works also for the institutions. However, it is argued here, both in general and in the case of agriculture in less developed countries, that simple functionalism leads to a misrepresentation of the problems which arise with population growth. There are many possible failures of adjustment to population, which usually have consequences on the environmental resource base.

Given this perspective, the book illustrates the models at the basis of population pessimism and the theoretical perspectives suggesting

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