Friday, 9 December 2011

Malthus is my controversial homedawg

In simple terms, Thomas Malthus believed that population increases faster than food supply, reaches its peak, and has to be brought down again in a population crash, like famine or war. It's a pretty harsh theory, basically implying that the thousands of deaths that stem from disease or natural disasters like earthquakes are cruelly convenient because they bring down our numbers. There's then enough to go round for those who survive. Sinister swings and roundabouts.

But Malthus has a valid point, one I tried to argue before the angry glares of my classmates shut me up. It does make sense, and I can't be the only person to have occasionally thought: 'Hey that disaster was tragic and heartbreaking but at least all the victims are at peace rather than having to deal with the aftermath...' There's no easy way to word it, either way I come out as Cruella De vil.

My brain is a realist, I feel the same way about 'first world pains'. They are first world problems! Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those people who'll pause guiltily in the middle of a meal as the latest WaterAid advert comes on, but I'm also the person who'll carry on eating when it's finished. I have, and will continue to, donate to charities for those far worse off than me. But I refuse to spend my life feeling bad about every meal I don't finish, every luxury I buy. I was lucky enough to be born into a good, financially stable family, have I committed a crime?! It would seem that way.

'My Laptop's running out of battery but the charger is upstairs. #firstworldproblems'
Yes, this may seem mundane but haven't we all felt this way at some point?
'I have a car but petrol's so expensive #firstworldproblems'
Am I to pedal a rickshaw to school just because I worked hard to learn and work hard to pay for it? No! I study geography, I understand the explosive population growth we're experiencing. But a little part of me, and secretly a little part of you too, often wonders where the millions of pounds we donate every year actually goes.

I could argue this for a long time, but my coherency and ability to structure an argument will disappear and my arms will start to flap. For now I leave you with this, because in my world, this truly is an issue.


  1. I completely agree; its all relative.