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Malthus reasoned that this disastrous outcome could only be avoided if the population stopped growing. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This, Malthus thought, was what would save us from large-scale starvation. At the time when he was writing the Industrial Revolution had not yet arrived, and without developments such as pesticides and fertilisers the amount of food that could be produced per acre of land was much smaller than it is today. That is what I have tried to do. For the rest of her life, she worked as a consultant and writer. One of those resources is food.

Indeed, the Malthusian trap may even drive the development of technology. Journals Publications Categories Topics Economists. Perhaps a Malthusian crisis drove our ancestors to cease hunting and gathering and take up farming. Retrieved from ” https: Under pressure of numbers, with more mouths to feed, people put more labour and more intense effort into feeding themselves, and find ways to get more food production out of the land.

In the 18th century an economist called Thomas Robert Malthus wrote an essay outlining his response to the problem.

Malthus vs Boserup

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Economics of Agrarian Change Under Population Pressure, laid out her thesis, informed by her experience in India in opposition to many views of the time.

define boserup thesis

For the rest of her life, she worked as a consultant and writer. Malthus thought that if the human population continued to grow, food production would not be able to keep up with demand and there would not be enough food to go around.

According to Malthusian theorythe size and growth of the population depends on the food supply and agricultural methods. Retrieved from ” https: Malthus is talking about the potential for a population to face environmental limits.


That is what I have tried to do. OK, so the population is reaching the point when the food supply is reaching exhaustion. Supersized The implications of persistent population growth Education levels: Woman’s role in economic development.

There are some who argue that Boserup can’t work indefinitely. Boserup, a Danish agricultural economist, is distinguished by two intellectual achievements: The work of Ester Boserup, however, continues to transcend the boundaries of this polarized discourse.

Ester Boserup – Wikipedia

In the future will defie be able to produce enough food to support the ever-increasing human population? Her best-known book on this subject, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth, presents a “dynamic analysis embracing all types of primitive agriculture.

Boserup says that you just have to upgrade the productivity of the food supply. Her position countered the Malthusian theory that agricultural methods determine population via limits on food supply. For example, a farmer who has four fields to produce food for his family might grow crops in three of the fields, but leave the fourth field empty as the ground is dry dwfine his crop will not grow there.

define boserup thesis

This, Malthus thought, was what would definr us from large-scale starvation. They can both be right. They cultivate the land more intensively, they add extra manure, extra fertiliser, extra water and improve their crops.

Malthus vs Boserup | Big Picture

Then, “encouraged by her mother boseruo aware of her limited prospects without a good degree,” [7] she studied economic and agricultural development at the University of Copenhagen fromand obtained her degree in theoretical economics in Although Boserup is widely regarded as being anti-Malthusian, both her insights and those of Malthus can be comfortably combined within the same general theoretical framework.


Contending with insufficiently fallowed and less fertile plots, covered with grass or bushes rather than forest, mandates expanded efforts at fertilizing, field preparation, weed control, and irrigation. While this seems like a 21st-century problem, it is actually a question that has concerned economists for hundreds of years and farmers blserup the first days of agriculture. Her other major work, Woman’s Role in Economic Developmentexplored the allocation of tasks between men and women, and inaugurated decades of subsequent work connecting thexis of gender to those of economic development, pointing out that many economic burdens fell disproportionately on women.

define boserup thesis

Archived from the original Definf on October 30, Boserup developed her ideas in connection with traditional farming systems in South East Asia, but her ideas have been applied to global agricultural patterns.

She suggested that food production can, and will, increase to match the needs of the population.

Ester Boserup

However if the farmer has two more children, the pressure to produce more food might drive him to build irrigation canals to bring water to the fourth field or to buy a different type of seed that will grow in drier ground. In the Malthusian view, when food is not sufficient for everyone, the excess population will die. She worked for the United Nations and her experience working in low- and middle-income countries such as India helped to shape her theory of the relationship between human population growth and food production.

Women, development, and the UN: