World Issues



There are many important world issues. Among these issues, we have studied the rapid growth of the world, which was the topic of critical importance. The extraordinary rapid increase of the world population constitutes a serious problem in which no citizen of the world can remain indifferent. The public has become increasingly aware of the dramatic rise in the rate of the world population growth during the three centuries of the modern era. There is a tendency on the part of many to see rapid rates on population growth as giving rise to a barrier on a road to progress. This may threaten peace and stability in the world because the population growth may make it impossible to meet in a timely fashion, the reasonable aspirations of hundreds of millions of people in the underdeveloped countries.

During the first three centuries of the modern era, from 1690 - 1990, the world population has multiplied five times, from 1 to more than 4.5 billion. Over this time span the population of Europe increased six times, and of Europe and European occupied areas in the Western Hemisphere and Oceania combined about eight times. The population of North America increased about 160 times and that of Latin America about fourteen times. During the same period, the population of Asia increased by less than 4 times (however, this contrasts with what must have been a much less rapid increase earlier. The absolute increase in Asia however was very large.) In Africa, the population merely doubled. It is clear that greatly accelerated growth occurred first among the nations that first experienced modernization - the combination of "revolutions," including the agricultural revolution, commercial revolution, science revolution, and the technological revolution. Explosive population growth, th!

e "vital revolution" - a pace of growth without precedent in long settled areas - did not approach nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, until after Wold War I and especially after World War II. Rapid growth has been one of the three related population phenomena generating public concern. The two other are the increasing concentration of people on a relatively small portion of the Earth's surface - a phenomenon of better urbanization and mertopolitanization and growing diversity of the people who share the same geographical area and increasingly, the same economic, social, and political systems.

World population growth is entirely the result of natural increase - the excess of births over deaths. If mortality declines rapidly and there is a high birth rate in any given country, there will become a heavy child burden that marks the beginning of overpopulation. The reasons for this remarkable change are not entirely clear. One cause was certainly the widespread control and virtual elimination of Malaria and other insect-carried disease. Other causes were widespread use of vaccines and modern drugs in less developed countries. There also has been speculation that human beings have developed more immunity to some microbial diseases that the virulence of some microorganisms has declined. The disadvantages of high birth rate are not generally admitted for two reasons. First there is and ideological prejudice against admitting that a high birth rate can in any way be harmful, and so anti nationalist policy does not generally appeal to politicians. Secondly, there is widespre!

ad belief that an ever-greater pool of manpower is a military and economic asset to a nation. It therefore comes as a shock to many people to hear it maintained that one of the demographic factors weakening a nation's powers is a birth. No one can maintain that a pre-industrial birth rate is always and in every way disadvantageous. In certain instances, it may be an asset. But an analysis of the effect of birth rates on a nation's efficiency will show that in most cases today the advantage lies with a low rather then a high rate.

The rapid population growth has economic, social, and political effects. It also interacts with public education, health, and welfare, and the qualities in which people live.

Economic Consequences:

Rates of population growth in many less developed countries are at least half the rate of economic growth and in some cases equal the latter. Chiefly because of high fertility of these countries, the ratio of children to adults are very high when compared with these ratios in developed countries, and the numbers of these young people reaching the age of labor force participation are rapidly increasing. Both