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The population explosion: Economic implications

  • Joseph J. Spengler
Chapter

Abstract

Of the great disruptive periods in world history perhaps the most disordering is that elapsing since August 1914. Then began the first modern Peloponnesian War, to be followed by a second within twenty-one years. These destroyed the several-centuries-old hegemony of the European peoples who still formed about 35 per cent of the world’s population in 1960 much as in 1900. While it was ideological cleavage and failure to subordinate national interests to western man’s interests that destroyed his hegemony, it is the world’s vital revolution that is converting this upheaval in world hegemony into what may prove the greatest watershed in mankind’s politico-economic history. It is with this vital revolution and some of its implications that my paper deals.

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Notes

  1. I have drawn on the following studies by the United Nations: The Determinants and Consequences of Population Trends (New York, 1953); World Population Prospects (1963) (New York, 1966), and World Population Situation, E/CN.9/231 (New York, 1968); J. D. Durand, ‘World Population Estimates, 1750–2000’, in United Nations, World Population Conference, 1965, II (New York, 1967) pp. 17–22;Google Scholar
  2. Milos Macura, ‘The Long-Range Outlook-Summary of Current Estimates’, in World Population — The View Ahead, ed. R. N. Farmer et al. (Bloomington, 1968) pp. 15–42; also Durand’s comments, ibid., pp. 43–8.Google Scholar
  3. On the theory see W. P. Travis, The Theory of Trade and Protection (Cambridge, 1964) chap. 1;Google Scholar
  4. S. B. Linder, An Essay on Trade and Transformation (New York, 1961) pp. 15–19, 83–6, 100–9.Google Scholar
  5. See W. S. and E. S. Woytinsky, World Population and Production (New York, 1953) pp. 116, 460, 462 for data somewhat comparable to the above data for the United StatesGoogle Scholar
  6. United Nations, Growth of the World’s Urban and Rural Population, 1920–2000 (New York, 1969) pp. 12, 31, 73.Google Scholar
  7. See Clark, Population Growth and Land Use (New York, 1967) pp. 258–60.Google Scholar
  8. United Nations, The Growth of World Industry, 1938–61 (New York, 1965) p. 194.Google Scholar
  9. See also L. J. Zimmerman, Poor Lands, Rich Lands (New York, 1965) chap. 2.Google Scholar
  10. United Nations, World Economic Survey 1967 (New York, 1968) pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  11. On these matters there is an extensive literature going back to the writings of W. A. Lewis and others. E.g. see J. C. H. Fei and Gustav Ranis, Development of the Labor Surplus Economy: Theory and Practice (New Haven, 1964);Google Scholar
  12. Benjamin Higgins, Economic Development, 2nd ed. (New York, 1968) passim:Google Scholar
  13. M. Desai and D. Maxzumdar, ‘A Test of the Hypothesis of Disguised Unemployment’, Economica, xxxvii (February 1969) pp. 39–53.Google Scholar
  14. E.g. see Lloyd Rodwin, Nations and Cities: A Comparison of Strategies for Urban Growth (Boston, 1970); also my ‘Population Pressure, Housing and Habitats’, in Law and Contemporary Problems XXXII, Part I (Spring 1967) pp. 191–208.Google Scholar
  15. United Nations, The Aging of Populations and Its Economic and Social Implications (Population Studies, no. 26) (New York, 1956) pp. 26–7.Google Scholar
  16. More detailed tables are given in A. J. Coale and Paul Demeny, Regional Model Life Tables and Stable Populations (Princeton, 1966).Google Scholar
  17. J. R. Hicks, ‘Growth and Anti-Growth’, Oxford Economic Papers, XVIII (November 1966) pp. 265–6, 268.Google Scholar
  18. For data on food-output prospects see The World Food Problem, II, esp. chap. 7; Lester R. Brown, Seeds of Change (New York, 1970);Google Scholar
  19. National Academy of Sciences, Resources and Man (San Francisco, 1969) chap. 4.Google Scholar
  20. G. Bylinsky, ‘The Limited War on Water Pollution’, Fortune (February 1970) pp. 103 ff.Google Scholar
  21. E. A. G. Robinson, ed., The Economic Consequences of the Size of Nations (London, 1960) pp. xiii–xxii.Google Scholar
  22. See D. W. Jorgenson and Z. Griliches, ‘Explanation of Productivity Change’, in Review of Economic Studies, XXXIV (July 1967) pp. 249–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. reprinted with an examination of the major issues involved by E. F. Denison, in Survey of Current Business, XLIX, Part II (May, 1969), 1–27. See on alleged evidence of increasing return, Colin Clark, Population Growth and Land Use, chap. 7.Google Scholar
  24. E.g. see J. L. Simon, ‘Family Planning Prospects in Less-Developed Countries and a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Various Alternatives’, Economic Journal, LXXX (March 1970) 58–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. See Thomas Frejka, ‘Reflections on the Demographic Conditions Needed to Establish a U.S. Stationary Population’, Population Studies, XXII (1968) 379–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© South African Institute of International Affairs 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph J. Spengler

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