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Critics are warning that at almost six and a half billion people currently inhabiting the world, we are coming dangerously close to the sustainable capacity of planet Earth. Overpopulation and attempts to control the whirlwind of reproduction that is plaguing both developing and developed nations has been dog-eared as one of the major concerns for the United Nations at the recent summit in Johannesburg. Both Edwin Dolan and Charles Southwick have cited the population explosion that started postindustrialization in their respective excerpts; "TANSTAAFL: The Economic Strategy for Economic Crisis" and Global Ecology and Human Perspective - as a problem deserving serious attention both in academia and the international front. However, both men's arguments contain some rather significant holes for several reasons. The first is perhaps often overlooked when discussing the Earth's ultimate capacity in terms of human population. What is a sustainable number of persons on the Earth? How is it to be measured? What basic human rights should be ensured to every man, woman, and child, and how can these rights be ensured without a redistribution of wealth? In essence, can overpopulation and economic disparity be separated? Southwick discusses this, but gives no decisive verdict on how the two are actually related, while Dolan claims that the issue is of less urgency than commonly perceived. Furthermore, both authors are failing to include rather important viewpoints into their arguments that ultimately results in the weakening of their chosen position. Dolan argues that population growth when coupled with the technological progress will eventually level off and the problem will more or less disappear. He is claiming a tech fix is inevitable, but ignores the problems with applying this tech fix to the lesser developed nations that are being most violently effected by the population boom. Conversely, Southwick argues that human population growth is virtually unstoppable and will only be curbed with significant global legislature and aide or worldwide catastrophe. He ignores many of the arguments, such as the possibilities of a technological solution, which Dolan is presenting. However, when the two essays are combined, they provide a more comprehensive picture of what global population growth actually looks like, and give the reader a better sense of how the problem will develop and therefore must be handled in the near and distant future. The first question of interest &endash; what actually constitutes overpopulation &endash; receives no answer of adequate definition in either of the works. While Southwick does not outwardly define the term, he does note that human population growth is "one of the greatest problems in global ecology and a major driving force of environmental degradation (Southwick, 160)." His meaning seems to point to the environmental consequences of too many people in any confined area and thus depleting their resources beyond repletion. However, he goes on to mention seven other points, presumably which he connects to overpopulation, but don't seem to have any immediate ties to his initial description. The fact that one out of four adults cannot read or write (Southwick, 160) does not necessarily point to an overpopulation problem, but rather a problem with the distribution of wealth and thus educational opportunities. Is Southwick suggesting that a population of only 2 billion would result in total literacy? It seems highly
an argument concerning it must at the very least define what is reportedly plaguing the Earth. Ehrlich and Ehrlich define overpopulation as an exceeding of an area's carrying capacity. We can't even manage total literacy in the U. His "reasonable standard of living" where every person and family has "a satisfactory job. They are based on the assumption that fewer people would result in a more equal distribution of wealth. The problem just seems to be understood to be a significant one. and claims that the population problem isn't really one at all. It basis is purely theoretical. It could very likely result in an even larger poverty gap like that which was experienced pre. In short. like so many others in the discussion of overpopulation. cities as they are known today constitute a greatly overpopulated area and should be abolished. But in doing so. adequate housing. health care. recreation. a simple definition is necessary. or what ramifications they will have. Dolan takes a very different stance than Southwick and many experts in the field. In fact. Are population growth alarmists suggesting. in posing an argument for or against it. it seems to be that the Earth is already vastly overpopulated and we are well past the proverbial point of no return. overpopulation is simply another way of implying environmental degradation. In fact. he fails to identify what the problem with this increasing growth rate really is and why it needs to stop at all. 161)" all seem to align themselves with the definition of an middle-class American lifestyle. a sense of safety and security. at least one automobile for each family. Dolan skirts the issue of what the definition of overpopulation is altogether. never mind if we were to spread our population across the span of the entire globe. an area of land that contains more people than its resources are able to provide for. and satisfactory access to education. How can Dolan argue that the problem doesn't exist when he doesn't even offer up a concrete idea about what the problem is in the first place? Because of the ambiguity of both the definition of the term and the factors that are attributed to its cause. Who is defining "adequate housing" and "a satisfactory job"? What are they being compared to? It seems that a world populated . 59-61). with their 2 billion person quota.S. Under this definition. He. with overreaching legislation. other transportation and travel opportunities. under this definition. Likewise. We are able to exceed Southwick's ideal carrying capacity because the criteria he sets up for its fulfillment are so ideal and naïve. that an ideal world would contain no cities at all? How would commerce thrive and nations build economies? It seems obvious that overpopulation in some areas is necessary for our new global economy and way of life.implausible. 56)" but never goes into what they are. Fewer people would not necessarily mean more money for all. clouds the issue and refuses to separate it with the poverty problems in our country and world. While there is something to be said for the inherency of the population growth problem. and personal development (Southwick. He claims there are "fixed environmental limits (Dolan.Industrial Revolution. at what capacity they will be reached. focusing instead on how the rate of growth we are currently experiencing will eventually curb itself. This all falls under the presumption that this is what the world's population wants in life. disregarding the natural human tendency to hoard for one's future progeny. but instead simply a current nuisance that will check itself with one of two proposed theories (Dolan. in their essay titled "The Population Explosion". a varied diet without fear of food and water shortages.
63). was on the track to meet 1. perhaps the first option he presents. Whatever the fix entails. citing numerous reasons why all these organizations could continue to function with a smaller population index. via the political process (Dolan. It may ignore some of the larger. The tech fix that Dolan elusively predicts doe seem inevitable. and other well-developed &endash. because we have been dealing with that for nearly a century now. but until the social structure in many of these agricultural countries that engrains the philosophy that more children will yield more money is dispelled. that the optimal carrying capacity of the world is only 2 billion persons (Southwick. and commerce.0 growth rate by 1975 (Dolan. Although significantly dated. So what then is it that Dolan is trying to present? His article seems contradictory at every new idea. He uses this fact to then back up an argument that no matter what. Dolan's argument. His ambivalent solution now requires another one. especially if it involves an alteration of a cultural identity. . an effect that requires more than just a zero population growth. clean water. pure goods that should be equally shared by all the Earth's inhabitants. but compares the two theories only by stating the obvious fact that an end to population growth would alleviate poverty in some lesser developed areas. Limiting family size would increase the per capita for some of these families.within its carrying capacity can only ensure a lifetime's supply of food. Southwick does note the direct relationship with poverty and population growth but does not clarify the specifics of the relation. He claims that either poverty is a result of high population growth or high population growth is a result of poverty (Southwick. 166). it will be the distribution to the LDCs that will require more significant global unity on the issue. He then proceeds to dismantle these claims. there is some validity in his cold and capitalistic solution. read economically wealthy and technologically advanced. The question then remains.S.S. demanding that countries prove it is a problem before it can demand international attention and thus aide from wealthier countries. why are people still able to live comfortably in numerous locations on this planet? The real problem is not simply overpopulation. more pervasive problems. against their will. although providing sound solutions for the eradication of the human population explosion in the U. speaks little toward the ramifications of the issue in LDCS. armies. "permitting one subgroup of the population to impose its favored population policy on the rest. why is the world able to continue to accommodate the increasing numbers of people? Why has no Malthusian catastrophe occurred yet? If. Culture consciousness must play an intricate role in whatever "tech fix" that is decided upon. All the other luxuries lie within the realm of economic equality. Instead. 161). Where does that leave Dolan's argument at present day? The "burden of proof" that he referred to has been tackled and accurately demonstrated. but it could provide an effective solution for a simplistic view of the problem if properly administered. He calls for a laissez-faire policy concerning the issue. 72). and air &endash. a negative population growth in many of these LDCs is merely theoretical." Although referred to with highly negative connotations. population growth will always be encouraged to some extent. as Southwick claims. the real global problem at hand seems to be the everincreasing poverty gap that is correlated to this overpopulation that the world is experiencing. citing the alleged advantages it brings to politicians. Dolan presents statistics that prove the Net reproduction Rate in the U.
" 123HelpMe.com/view. Ch. 159-182.com. pp. 03 Oct 2013 <http://www. By simply isolating population growth and reducing it to its simplest form. teaching methods of birth control within a specific cultural contest seems to be enough for at least curbing the population explosion to some extent in some places. they fall into the trap of assuming too large of a task. How to Cite this Page MLA Citation: "The Plague of Overpopulation. . pp. Press.123HelpMe. A simple educational plan funded by the wealthier. more developed countries and global organizations. 1996. ineffective means of birth control.. namely the United Nations. a solution can be more easily assumed and applied. Ch. 55-72. Sources: Southwick.. 5 from "TANSTAAFL: The Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis" 1974. Edwin G. 15 from "Global Ecology in Human Perspective" Oxford Univ. a solution for the latter does not need to include elements that will solve the former. As academics try to solve the problem of poverty and population growth with one single solution.asp?id=22177>. Dolan.Whatever the link between poverty and population growth may be. Charles H.
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