World Demographic Development (And Food Supply)

1670 words - 7 pages

1.) The Neolithic and Industrial RevolutionsThe two changes in the use of the earth's resources that had the greatest effect on the world population werethe neolithic and the industrial revolutions.The neolithic revolution (a.k.a. agricultural revolution) was a change in the way of life of our ancestors. Ittook place about 8000 years ago among various tribes in Asia and the Middle East. It included a transitionfrom foraging and hunting to the domestication of animals (most probably starting with the dog) and tofarming. Tribes settled in fertile areas and formed agricultural communities many of which grew into villagesand cities. This relatively stable way of life and the more reliable food supply (and surplus) led to thedevelopment of new professions, to labor specialization and ultimately to the stratification of these societies.Improved conditions of life led to somewhat longer life spans. Nevertheless population growth remained lowdue to high infant mortality rates. The impact of the neolithic revolution was not as much on immediatepopulation growth (even though it did have a long term impact on population growth) as on the material andspiritual development of the human race. It is widely regarded as the beginning of civilization.Industrial revolution was another process of change. It was the process of substituting muscle power withmachine power. It took place in the 18th century in Europe and is still happening in many parts of the world.In many characteristics it has been similar to the neolithic revolution: it increased production, it led to theuse of resources that had been mostly unused until then and it improved the overall quality of life. It also ledto changes in the structure of society.What was different, was its impact on population growth. It was quick and easily noticeable. Advancedsanitation, hygiene and medicine led to longer life spans and declining death rates, with the birth ratesremaining high. This resulted in a high rate of population growth that still continues in many countries.The information revolution is the process of change that began in the second half of the 20th century in thedeveloped countries of the world. It is the process of substituting 'brain power' with 'machine power'. Itleads to increased production and has the potential to create a more even distribution of the world'spopulation on the surface of the earth. It also has the potential to decrease the differences between the lessdeveloped and the highly developed nations of the world. Then again it also has the potential to increasethose differences. It causes changes in the structure of society. Many of its impacts are still to beexperienced.2.) Thomas MalthusThomas Robert Malthus, an English economic thinker published a theory in 1798 concerning the relationshipbetween population growth and food supply. He said that population always increases exponentially, whilefood supplies increase only arithmetically. He advocated that moral restraints can not be...

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