Thesis Statement: some people say that overpopulation in China is because of old causes and it cannot be a useful thing. However, another theory is that the overpopulation can provide benefits to their society.
The paper’s objective is to explore the problem of overpopulation and present possible arguments in support of overpopulation. To inform those people responsible for education activities or teaching in schools and universities on the problem of overpopulation. It is obvious that most people when they hear the word ‘overpopulation’ the first thing that comes to their mind; it is a severe problem and cannot be something beneficial. However, this is not the whole truth.
This paper is going to disapprove the critics of overpopulation by drawing upon relevant resources and using sound arguments to justify the benefits of overpopulation. The paper will draw upon the case of China since it is considered as one of the countries with a large population. Simply it is recognized as being overpopulated. The first part begins by an understanding of the term overpopulation and then followed by a discussion of the benefits of overpopulation. The final section analyzes some of the arguments put forward by the critics of overpopulation.
Definition of Overpopulation
Overpopulation can be phrased in many ways, but all definitions are based on one concept; it is regarded as the number of people in a certain area exceeds the carrying capacity of the area (Population Reference Bureau). It is not sufficiently adequate to measure overpopulation using population density. For example, economically advanced countries such as the Netherlands and Hong Kong have the ability of supporting an extremely dense population. It would be appropriate to base overpopulation in regard to the country’s population growth, living standards and other factors. There are those that argue that the earth contains finite resources, therefore, population has its limit; while others argue that if technology and science continue advancements population growth has no limits.
Causes of Overpopulation in China
There are over 1.3 billion people living in China and the number is predicted to continue rising. The population growth has been experienced since the last 60 years. One recordable cause of the high population growth today, is the mid 1990s Mao Zedong policies. Zedong encouraged the Chinese people to bear as many children as possible. As a result, Chinese families began having 5 to 6 children, therefore, the population exploded. During this time, workers formed the majority of the population and thus the People’s Republic of China paid families to have babies. However, the population growth did not stop after that and has been continuing throughout the years.
Lack of family planning is another factor that influences population growth. The effect is that there is an uncontrollable birth of babies without considering the future implications. China has also experienced massive technological advancements which translate to better living standards. It in turn results to a decline in the death rates. Thus, a greater number of an aging population coupled with a huge number of the young generation creates an overpopulated society.
Advantages of Overpopulation
More military forces
A country with a high population would translate to many people joining the military forces, therefore, increase the power of the force. A large force ensures that the country is well prepared to defend its boundaries and its citizens in the case of external attacks. Apart from having sophisticated and technological advancements, the fighting power of the country is determined by the man power of the military. Wars of attrition favor the ones with more manpower. China’s economy is stable and it has developed policies that try to manage the rising population. It favors the increase of its military numbers and supplies (Stetson N.P).
More labor force
A large population would ensure that the workforce is readily available. According to Stetson (2011) about higher demand industries, “logic would dictate that a country with a higher population will ensure more of a demand in certain industries.” The availability of sufficient workforce would translate to the production of more goods and services. The market for the increased production will also be readily available due to the large population hence high returns for businesses. Thus, it has a significant contribution to the economy of the country due to an increase in trade.
There will also be production of cheap and readily available products. Since, a large population would contribute to a significant workforce hence more products would be available to people. The high supply of the products means that prices would decrease and become affordable to the ordinary citizen. The high supply of human resources means that the cheap labor is easily available (can work for less). Many will dispute that this situation is economically undesirable, but it may be beneficial to the society.
A society whereby few people receive high wages, the economy cannot support to pay all people high wages, therefore, a substantial number of the population is left jobless. A system whereby labor is readily available and willing to ‘work for less,’ ensures that the problem of unemployed is minimized. Many get employed and this boosts the living standards of people in the society. Therefore, overpopulation is an essential resource to the development of the economy of China.
Having many people depicts that there are many intelligent people hence increased developments (Toby N.P). There would be more intelligent brains that would spur scientific and technological innovations. The world, today, depends on the technological innovations; vehicles, airplanes, ships, computers farm machinery all make work easier and contribute to the economic growth of the country. It is evident as China today has become a leading economic destination in the world. The high population also means that the government has to build more schools, colleges and universities which increase its source of income. The construction of these learning institutions creates job opportunities (Harri, N.P).
With a large population, it means that urbanization would increase, and urbanization is directly related to economic growth. It is rare or possibly impossible for a country to have a high economy with a low level of urbanization. Countries like the Netherlands and Hong Kong have a high population coupled with urbanization and it is a fact that these nations enjoy a relatively good economic power (Eyecandy Infographic N.P).
Overpopulation has increased the knowledge regarding human activities that negatively affect the environment. It has necessitated the development of effective ways to preserve the environment and minimize the exploitation of natural resources. With such strategies, the effects of global warming will tremendously reduce. Human beings are always motivated by problems they see (Harri). For example, during World War II countries fought each other and the need to emerge triumphant forced people to come up with better fighting strategies. It led to the development of advanced military equipments. Thus, it seems to be the nature of man to act only when confronted with a difficult situation. Hence, overpopulation in China has contributed significantly to the development of strategies that would improve its people living standards consequentially the growth of the economy.
It is obvious that many people will disagree with the statement that overpopulation is a good thing. They base their arguments on the negative effects of overpopulation such as air pollution, not enough resources and a bad economy. Overpopulation also causes degradation of the land and detrimental living conditions. Critics propose for measures to curb population growth as the solution to overpopulation. For example, China has developed policies that try to regulate the population growth such as the ‘one child policy.’ The policy required every person to have only one child and there were repercussions for going contrary to the policy. It includes being obliged to pay taxes or loss of employment and other benefits. The different population control policies are prone to have negative effects.
Overpopulation is one debatable issue and the world today seems to be having more critics than proponents. Majority of the critics tend to overlook on the potential benefits that overpopulation possesses. The benefits include an adequate military force, availability of a large workforce that works for less, economic growth, technological innovations, urbanization and increased awareness on the need to protect the environment. It is essential for people to stop concentrating so much on ways to reduce population growth and tap on its potential possibilities to the futures economy.
For example, Toby Ord through his research acknowledges that although overpopulation has detrimental effects, the benefits outweigh these effects (Toby). Overemphasizing on negative effects of overpopulation only serves to divert from the real problem of poor living standards of people. Almost everything has its negative effects, but it is by capitalizing on the positive attributes that lead to a much desirable outcome.
- Eyecandy Infographic. Advantages of Overpopulation. 2014 N.P. <http://www.eyecandyinfographic.com/advantages-of-over-population.html >
- Harri, Daniel. Benefits of Overpopulation. 6 July 2011. 27 March 2014 <http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-overpopulation/ >
- Population Reference Bureau, PRB. “What is Overpopulation.” Population Education Interchange 17.4 (1988): 1-2. < HYPERLINK “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12281798?report=abstract”
- Stetson, Chad. “The Advantages of Overpopulation.” 8 June 2011. eHow UK. Demand Media. 27 March 2014, N.P <http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_8562266_advantages-overpopulation.html >
- Toby, Ord. The benefits of overpopulation comparing to underpopulation. University of Oxford, October 2011 N.P. <http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2011/10/overpopulation-or-underpopulation/ >