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Two hundred years ago Thomas Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population reached the conclusion that the number of people in the world will increase exponentially while the ability to feed these people will only increase arithmetically 21 Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the truth For example between 1950 and 1984 the total amount of grain produced more than doubled much more than the increase in population in those 34 years More recently though these statistics have become reversed From 1950 to 1984 the amount of grain increased at 3 percent annually Yet from 1984 to 1993 grain production had grown at barely 1 percent per year a decrease in grain production per person of 12 percent Brown 31 Also strengthening to Malthus argument is the theory that the world population will increase to over 10 billion by 2050 two times what it was in 1990 Bongaarts 36 Demographers predict that 28 billion people were added to the world population between 1950 and 1990 an average of 70000 a year Between 1990 and 2030 it is estimated that another 36 billion will be added an average of 90000 a year Brown 31 Moreover in the 18th century the world population growth was 034 it increased to 054 in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century to 084 Weiskel 40 Neo-Malthusians base their arguments on the teachings of Thomas Malthus Of the Neo-Malthusians Garrett Hardin is one of the most prominent and controversial Hardins essays discuss the problem of overpopulation and the effects it will have on the future In Lifeboat Ethics he concludes that continuous increases in population will have disastrous outcomes Neo-Malthusian arguments come under much scrutiny by those who believe that the population explosion is only a myth Those who hold these beliefs state that the evidence Neo-Malthusians use to justify their views is far from conclusive Critics hold
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