Malthusian Trap And 100 Years Onward

Malthusian Trap And 100 Years Onward

Malthusian Trap And 100 Years Onward

What is the Malthusian population trap?

First presented by Robert Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, he argued that population, as it grows, takes up land that people would otherwise use for farming (Karuga, 2017). His theory, the Malthusian Trap, posits that as the population rapidly increases while the growth of agriculture fails to catch up, there will come the point where there will not be enough food supply to meet the ever-growing demand for food.

How do you solve a Malthusian Trap?

However, throughout the history of humankind, developments have led to the successful avoidance of the Malthusian trap.

Genetically engineered crops
  • One example is the Green Revolution of 1945, where new varieties of grains and crops were experimented with and developed to make food sources more efficient (Riley, 2009). These modified varieties of crops are commonly known today as genetically engineered crops. These included the invention of higher-yield seeds and crops with better nutritional values, eventually resulting in diminished malnutrition across populations. Essentially, this meant that better nutrition could be achieved from less food. And thus, reducing the demand for larger quantities of food. 
Government policies
  • Government policies can also play a significant role in avoiding Malthusian catastrophes. For one, public policies such as taxation and regulation of property rights can enable ethical and productive consumption of land and incentivize investments into the agricultural sector. On the population control end of this theory, historically infamous policies like China’s One-Child policy can obstruct rapid and uncontrolled growth in population to the point that current food reserves and resources prove to be insufficient to meet demands.
Social patterns
  • Social patterns such as increased awareness about the importance of family planning and a shift in consumer consumption patterns can also contribute to steering humanity away from the sustainability trap. For many reasons, there has been a steady decline in the size of the average family. For instance, the average American family in the 70s had four or more children, a number that has reduced to only two in the past 50 years (The American Family Today, 2020). Moreover, as consumers are beginning to adopt pescetarian, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles, the demand for grass-fed meat has reduced significantly. This means that land previously used as pastures for cattle can now be repurposed for farming and agriculture. 
Artificially created environments
  • Artificially created environments that promote crop growth while taking up less space is another way nations worldwide combat food shortages. Greenhouses, hydroponics, and other smart farming technologies allow the damaging effects of climate change on food production can be nullified to a great extent. 

As these technologies, the consciousness toward consumption, and policies continue to improve, humankind is well on its way to successfully avoiding the Malthusian trap. 

Check the following reference articles to learn more about the Malthusian Trap And 100 Years Onward
  1. Karuga, J. (2017, October 31). That Is The Malthusian Trap? worldAtlas. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from (URL)
  2. Riley, G. (2009, October 5). explaining the Malthusian Trap. utor2u. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from (URL)
  3. The American family today. 2020, May 30). pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. Retrieved January 6, 2022, from (URL)
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