World Populations and Development 1. ) The Neolithic and Industrial Revolutions The two changes in the use of the earth's resources that had the greatest effect on the world population were the neolithic and the industrial revolutions. The neolithic revolution (a. k.
a. agricultural revolution) was a change in the way of life of our ancestors. It took place about 8000 years ago among various tribes in Asia and the Middle East. It included a transition from foraging and hunting to the domestication of animals (most probably starting with the dog) and to farming.
Tribes settled in fertile areas and formed agricultural communities many of which grew into villages and cities. This relatively stable way of life and the more reliable food supply (and surplus) led to the development 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 low due to high infant mortality rates. The impact of the neolithic revolution was not as much on immediate population growth (even though it did have a long term impact on population growth) as on the material and spiritual 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 with machine power. It took place in the 18 th century in Europeans 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 the use of resources that had been mostly unused until then and it improved the overall quality of life. It also led to changes in the structure of society. What was different, was its impact on population growth.
It was quick and easily noticeable. Advanced sanitation, hygiene and medicine led to longer life spans and declining death rates, with the birth rates remaining 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 20 th century in the developed countries of the world. It is the process of substituting 'brain power' with 'machine power'.
It leads to increased production and has the potential to create a more even distribution of the world's population on the surface of the earth. It also has the potential to decrease the differences between the less developed and the highly developed nations of the world. Then again it also has the potential to increase those differences. It causes changes in the structure of society. Many of its impacts are still to be experienced.
2. ) Thomas Malthus Thomas Robert Malthus, an English economic thinker published a theory in 1798 concerning the relationship between population growth and food supply. He said that population always increases exponentially, while food supplies increase only arithmetically. He advocated that moral restraints can not be implemented on the scale of the whole population because most individuals are will seek their own pleasure ignoring the global impacts of their actions. The growing population will therefore put a strain on the limited food resources that will lead to wars, famine and disease, decreasing the population thus restoring the equilibrium. I think it is obvious that the first part of his theory, while it does apply to certain countries, proved to be completely wrong on a global scale.
There is no world-wide calorie deficit. The 'food supply increase to population increase' ratio is substantially higher in the developed world than in the less developed countries. On a global scale, current food supplies do exceed the needs of the world's population, but they are not distributed in away that benefits the whole population. Fortunately international programs aimed at achieving a better distribution of food resources do make an impact in decreasing the calorie deficit, and it is quite likely that the inhabitants and the leaders of the developed nations will eventually come to the conclusion that it is better to 'share some' than to risk loosing all. So, even where moral restraints don't work, common sense just might have a chance. 3.
) Population Growth, Demographics A. ) In the early prehistoric times (1 million years ago) there were no more humans on the whole earth than in a modern American town (such as Provo). For along time the growth rate was slow. The difficulties of obtaining food, the lack of sanitation or advanced medicine, the living conditions in general meant short life spans (20-25 years in average) and a high death rate. Even the largest communities (tribes) rarely exceeded 100 people. B.
) The neolithic revolution about 8000 years ago meant that tribes began to domesticate animals and plant food crops. Tribes settled and developed into larger communities. The reliable food source and relatively peaceful existence led to the development of many new professions and inventions. It also led to the division of society into different classes (peasants, artisans, rulers, etc. ). The continuing process of advances in technology led to faster population growth and by the time of Christ the world's population numbered more than half of the current population of the USA.
C. ) The different rates of population growth in various areas of the world, the different levels of development (nomadic vs. civilized) and the differences in the availability of resources led to numerous migrations over the centuries. -Asian tribes moved to the west and south (5 th century BC - 16 th century AD); -Europeans colonized large areas of the Americas, Australia and the Pacific region, India and Africa; - African slaves were bought and taken to the Americas and to Arabic and Turkish areas; - Russians 'colonized' the eastern reaches of Eurasia. By the 18 th century the world's population numbered about the same as the current population of the whole American continent. (Heavy population decrease occurred during the Black Death in Europe and South-Eastern Asia.
) D. ) In the 18 th century AD, technological development finally reached a level where it became possible to substitute muscle power with machines in many areas. A virtual chain reaction of inventions began. Increased production, advances in medicine and other areas resulted in increased life expectancy and decreased death rates with the birth rates remaining high. This led to noticeably faster population growth. E.
) Finally in this century the developed countries experienced a decline in birthrates and thus a slowing population growth. Many countries of the world, mostly the less developed ones have not yet achieved this stage. Most of today's highly developed countries were able to exploit the resources of the less developed nations of Africa and Asia long enough to give time for the impacts of the higher standards of living, longer life spans and abundant resources to change the attitude of these nations and result in decreased population growth. The less developed countries of the world have no other nations to exploit. Most often the improvements in technology simply lead to population increase that 'eats up' the fruits of the improvements, making further development and investment nearly impossible. It is especially important to understand that we all live on the same planet.
Cooperation and assistance to the developing nations are usually cheaper than another set of missile defenses... 4. ) Migrations Europeans traveled to America, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. These were the migrations that were the most important of this period.
They allowed the ever growing population of Europe to find a new habitat. These migrations resulted in European dominance of these newly colonized territories and spread the fast pace of technological development experienced in Europe to all the continents (although in varying degrees). The migration of Europeans to the Americas was soon followed by a flow of African slaves (as many as 20 million) who provided cheap labor. African slaves were also sold in Arab and Turkish areas. The eastward migration of Russians is also to be noted. The interaction with and the 'colonization' of territories east and southeast of Russia (Siberia, Caspian region, Caucasian region, etc.
) ultimately led to the formation of a much larger empire. 5. ) Stages of Demographic Transition " Demographic transition' is a process of population change that can be divided into four stages. a. ) Before the industrial revolution the majority of the world experienced lowlife expectancy, high birth rates and high death rates resulting in slow population growth; b.
) Western Europe entered the second stage with the onset of the industrial revolution in the 18 th century while other parts of the world entered it later, when they, too had either made technological advances or the benefits of industrialization were introduced to them by more developed countries. This stage is characterized by longer life expectancy, high birth rates and declining or low death rates, resulting in a high and continuous increase in population. c. ) With changes occurring in the 'value' of children as opposed to their costs many industrialized countries have entered stage three.
It is characterized by long life expectancy, rapidly declining birth rates and low death rates, resulting in slow growth rates, similar to the rates in the first stage. d. ) Some industrialized countries have progressed even further and have entered the fourth stage. It is usually characterized by long life expectancy , low birth rates and low death rates, with the birthrates sometimes falling below the death rates, resulting in minimal population growth or no growth at all and sometimes even a population decline. Countries in the second stage of demographic transition experience great difficulties in technological development because improvements result in larger population that automatically negates the benefits of those improvements. Many of these nations make great efforts to educate their people about the benefits of small families and the negative impact of large families.
6. ) Comparing the 5 most populated countries of the world; birth / death rate, lifespan, income. - Among the five most populated countries of the world India has the highest birth rate, while the birth rate in Africa is an average 50% higher than in India. - Among the five most populated countries of the world India also has the highest death rate, while the death rate in Africa is an average 20% higher than in India.
- Among the five most populated countries of the world Indonesia has the lowest life expectancy; life expectancy in Africa is almost the same as in Indonesia. - Among the five most populated countries of the world China has the lowest per capita income; more than half of the African nations have a per capita income lower than in China. The average, however, is about twice as high due to a few mineral rich countries.