What is a Malthusian trap? And where does the Avengers have to do with it?

Modern society is often called societyconsumption. Do not forget that we consume, first of all, not new iPhones, Tesla and other benefits of the development of technology, but food. People can afford a car every few years, a smartphone every few months, and you need to eat every day. It would seem that it is simpler, there is money - you eat, no money - do not eat. There is only a “but” in this matter. For example, have you ever heard of the Malthusian trap? No? And she is!

Living in beautiful modern cities is convenient, but not always pleasant.


  • 1 What is a Malthusian trap
  • 2 Ceiling medium tank
  • 3 Overpopulation of the planet
  • 4 Overpopulation in third world countries

What is a Malthusian trap

The term “Malthusian trap” appearedlong ago and has nothing to do with Malta. It got its name in honor of a man who for the first time described in detail the processes that are designated by this term.

It happened in 1979. Although similar conclusions were made several decades before by the famous economist Adam Smith in his book “Studies on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. But it was Thomas Matus who described the phenomenon more fully, due to which it received his name.

Malthusian trap is called typical forIn pre-industrial societies, a periodically recurring situation, as a result of which population growth ultimately overtook growth in food production.

Pre-industrial society - a consolidated conceptspecific social characteristics and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the industrial revolution. Pre-industrial society was followed by industrial.

There is also the concept of “medium capacity”. This term, as a rule, refers to the number of people, and sometimes animals, that are able to “feed the terrain,” that is, the environment. The capacity of the environment may vary depending on the climate, social phenomena and the development of tools, but the number of inhabitants in this environment still fluctuates more.

As a rule, when approaching the point at whichthe environment is no longer able to feed the population; mechanisms of self-regulation, if I may say so, were included. For example, some tribes waged war on others. Clashes within the tribe were not uncommon, as well as epidemics caused by poor development of medicine and food preservation methods. As a result, the population has always balanced on the verge of medium capacity.

The industrial revolution literally changed everything

Medium Capacity Ceiling

In the Middle Ages, when someinnovation in the field of agriculture, this led to an increase in the ceiling of the capacity of the medium. As a result, for several years, residents of the region received a fairly comfortable standard of living, not bordering on a hungry existence.

In addition to starvation, there are more fantastic theories of the extinction of all living things!

Here you can draw a parallel with transport. You probably noticed that the construction of new roads only temporarily eases the situation in the city. After a while, the traffic jams return again, and sometimes become even more dense. The reverse situation happens when a new large house is being built. At first, the roads become very crowded, and then the situation returns to its previous level a little.

Large cities are not always a source of overpopulation of the planet.

This does not always happen, but a certainthere is a tendency. As soon as the capacity of roads increases, people buy cars, as soon as it decreases, they start selling or simply stop driving.

In the case of the Middle Agesa relative increase in its capacity allowed people not to think about overpopulation for 20-30 years. After this time, the population grew again and the quality of life fell.

So far, everything is logical, but how to “tie” the Malthusian trap to our time? Very simple! Moreover, in our time it becomes even more relevant.

Planet overpopulation

We live at a time when medicine is not just developing, but is taking leaps and bounds. On the one hand, this is good and useful for society, but there are only disadvantages in this.

If you discard the ethical component, the actions of Thanos had a certain meaning. Just the methods were too harsh.

In developed highly urbanized countries peopleit helps a little that they do not have a large number of children. Due to this, their population does not grow very much and, as a rule, is limited to replacing one generation by another (two children are replacing their parents).

In our Telegram chat you can discuss not only the concept of a Malthusian trap, but also the mechanism of population restoration following it.

True, in developed countries recentlythere has been a large flow of migrants from third world countries, which increases resource consumption. Constraining factors in this situation are growing GDP and the constant emergence of new food production technologies. True, the constant growth of GDP leads to capital accumulation and sometimes a crisis of overproduction. Sometimes it can even lead to military clashes. Only the system of social protection of citizens in such countries mitigates tension.

Due to the effectiveness of these technologies indeveloped countries 3-4 percent of the population employed in agriculture can feed the entire population of the country. By the way, that is why it is so important to have agriculture in any country and you should not underestimate it by thinking too much about computers and equipment. You can live without them - you can’t live without food.

Although, conditional computers and other technologiessometimes come to the rescue in food production. For example, we recently wrote that scientists have found a way to grow meat in the laboratory. On the one hand, this will fill the refrigerators of the people of the future when they will be twice as many as they are now, but it is too early to draw conclusions on how this will affect their health.

It's like with firmware for a smartphone. Before the release, they checked it and fixed all the bugs, but as soon as she goes out, a very large bunch of flaws are gathered, which the developers simply did not pay attention to. So with artificial foods. Researchers cannot take into account everything, including the features of living in different climates, different lifestyles and a combination with other products. Here, only time can put an end to research.

Another way out of the crisis could beanimal cloning, but here it is also worth understanding the safety and economic feasibility of such an approach. In any case, first you need to allow cloning everywhere. After that, conduct in-depth studies, and only then talk about the application of such a method of combating hunger.

In any case, even if you cast aside the questionsubsistence of an overpopulated planet and to say that there will be no problems with food, the main problem will be the waste that people produce. But this is already a topic for a separate big conversation.

Overpopulation in Third World Countries

In Third World Countries Overpopulationcosts significantly more sharply. Local residents do not know how to get large crops from small areas and do not know how to keep them in order to have a normal amount of food all year round. Moreover, if in countries such as the USA, China, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Australia and many other large countries of varying degrees of development, the average number of children born by one woman during her life rarely reaches two, then in the countries of central Africa this value, depending on the country, ranges from five to eight.

The number of children born by one woman during life

Stop overpopulation of the planet humanemeans impossible. The population will continue to grow. Even where the birth rate is not very high, increasing life expectancy will do its job. In addition, it is also impossible to increase agricultural land indefinitely, as this can lead to desertification of territories, which will also not benefit anyone.

As you can see, the situation is not very clearnice. In the old days, such problems, as I said above, were solved by epidemics, which are now being stopped in the bud and by wars. But even if a war happens that can significantly affect the number of inhabitants of our planet, it will not be just a local clash, but a catastrophe of a planetary scale, after which it will hardly be possible to restore normal life.

Write in the comments what you think about this, and how you think you can delay the global fall of mankind into the Malthusian trap.