The following article will guide you about how can the problem of over population be solved.
Excessive population causes poverty and a low standard of living. In less developed countries (LDCs) like India, where industries have not been adequately developed and employment opportunities are few, growth of population creates great pressure upon land, and leads shortage of food and unemployment. A large number of consumers retards savings. Therefore, overpopulation has an adverse effect on capital formation.
Evils of under-population:
Reduction of population is generally considered desirable in densely populated LDCs like India. In such countries, there exist a surplus population which can be eliminated without affecting either production or aggregate demand. But rich countries like the U.K. or the U.S.A. are in a different situation. In such countries, a reduction in the size of population may have some undesirable effects.
The possible evils of a declining population in rich countries are:
1. A fall in the size of the population will reduce effective demand. Less people will mean less demand for goods and services. The total expenditure on goods and services will fall. Consequently, production will fall.
2. With declining production it is almost impossible to maintain full employment. Hence, declining population in a developed country will generally involve more unemployment. People temporarily unemployed, because of changes in the industrial structure, will find it more difficult to get new jobs. Hence, structural unemployment will increase.
3. Reduction of effective demand and of output will automatically reduce national income. The rate of economic growth will slow down and the country will move towards economic stagnation.
Under these circumstances, a fall in the rate of population growth is desirable for maintaining the current living standard first and improving it thereafter. So, advanced countries have already achieved the much desired goal of, “Zero Population Growth” by adopting small-family norms.
The bogey of overpopulation raised by Malthus deeply influenced political and economic policy during the 19th and the early part of 20th century.
A school of thought grew up, known as Neo-Malthusianism, which advocated positive measures of population control through the use of methods not known in the days of Malthus, viz., medical contraceptives. Unfortunately, these methods are used mostly by the educated and the cultured people. Therefore, there is a danger that the quality of the population will deteriorate. A rational population control policy must be qualitative and not merely quantitative.
The measures that can be adopted to deal with the problem of over-population are as follows:
1. Introduction of compulsory medical examination before marriage and prohibition of the marriage of persons found to be mentally defective or suffering from hereditary diseases. These measures will improve the quality of the population.
2. Spreading information among the people regarding family planning.
3. Medical contraceptives may be used and operations may be performed with the consent of the persons concerned.
4. Increasing the number of schools and colleges and raising the cultural level of the people. Biologists have shown that a high level of culture coupled with a high standard of living tend automatically to reduce the rate of growth of population.
5. Economic development which will create more employment opportunities and raise the level of incomes and the standard of living.
For all these reasons, a number of economists hold the view that “a positive rate of population growth is desirable in most rich countries”, i.e., a rate of population greater than the Zero Population Growth.