Malthus vs. Julian Simon

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Although Cornucopians like Julian Simon have somewhat contradicted theories with Malthus, they are both perspectives in the field of demography. Further, they both concern about population growth and economic growth. Regarding the similarity on the viewpoint of economic growth, Malthus believes that even though population will not outgrow the food supply, it will slow down the economic improvement and lower the standard of living because more population will exhaust the resources such as housing, environment and education. On the other hand, Simon agreed that short-term rapid population grow will decrease the economic growth. However, in a long term, the population growth would actually benefit the society. Because of that, when the policy is trying to limit the population growth, it will in fact pay the cost of limiting the population. Thus the governor needs to judge whether it is worth to limit the population growth but not just following the theory of Malthus.

Another difference is that Julian Simon is more risk taking. He stated that every single mankind has his/her own value. Thus, population growth should not be seen as a threat to the economy. Whereas, Malthus’ perspective on population growth is limited by food supply, because when population excess the limit of food supply, the mortality rate will increase and then the population will be pushed back to its limit. In this case, Simon’s view is questionable when we think about examples in the real life. For instance, people depend more and more on fossil fuel nowadays. More population will cause the potential lack of fossil fuels, which is a threat to the technologies people are using daily. As the resources and materials in the world become exhausted in future, it is not likely anyone would make a change without the existence of all important resources. Thus, although Simon provided a much “delighted” demographic theory, his view can only cause one to distrust the Malthus theory, however, cannot cause one to fully reject Malthus theory. For the reason that no one can guarantee the human power that if humankind could not find such a cure to the population boom, the catastrophe will fall upon us. After all, even though Simon’s theory is not so persuasive, it still introduces the consideration of the inherent value of human lives.

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