What are the pros and cons of population growth?

I have to do a project on Australia (where I live), so it would be helpful if you know anything specifically about Australia as well.

1 Answer
Apr 3, 2016

The obvious advantage of population growth is that it provides genetic diversity, which means there is a greater chance of the species surviving from any particular disease or disaster. If everyone has the same genetic susceptibilities and potentials, then a disease that kills one person can kill everyone, so having a wider set of genes is helpful.

Diversity is also an advantage socially and economically. Interactions of different groups in society lead to a better welfare, according to Dr Gary Becker, because of the diversity of the market and the total effort we can put into certain endeavours as a species, such as scientific research.

However, population growth puts a strain on finite resources, particularly food, space, healthcare and a clean water supply. These resources have to be spread over an even larger population, and humans are now cutting down rainforests, polluting the atmosphere and struggling for clean water and healthcare in many areas.

When there is a resource shortage, prices go up, and so only the rich can afford them, while the poorer go further into poverty. As the population grows, the strata of society move further apart.

As we cut down trees to make room for people, the number of consumers outweighs the number of producers, which means as we breath out #CO_2# there are not enough trees to take it up again, contributing to global warming. The more people, the more fuel and energy is used, too, which means polluting the atmosphere.

More people can lead to social issues, too, as there is conflict or tension between different cultures. Between individuals, too, there may be violence and crime.

Specifically to Australia you could talk about cultural friction with Aborigines, the fact that people mainly inhabit the coastal areas and the class divides already present.