Is development the best contraceptive? – Part II: Social View

Opposite to the New Malthusian View is the Social View, which suggests that the population problem is a result of poverty – that over population is a symptom of poverty. In this view, it is suggested that if a community has poor access to social resources such as health care and education, that community will have a high fertility rate and thus a high population growth.

Development, however, is not just about economic growth, but also other aspects that affect the general wellbeing of people. In this view development is not only measured by economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP), but also ability of one to enjoy ordinary living conditions that the average people in ones community enjoy; it is about entitlement to resources.

It includes one’s ability to make choices, one’s ability to access basic needs such as food, health care, housing and education that can enable one to live an acceptable standard of living. Measures for development within this view, in addition, include United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicators such as the Human Development Index (HDI) and Human Poverty Index (HPI).

Implicit in this view, therefore, is that the solution to the population problem is development – of the kind in which people have access to and enjoy their entitled resources.

This analysis is part of a wider analysis that I did debating the question: “Is development the best contraceptive?” The slogan ‘Development is the best contraceptive’ implies that there is a population problem that needs to be solved and the best way to solve it is development. My analysis is based on an analysis by Tom Hewitt and Ines Smyth that is contained in their article titled: “Is the world overpopulated (Hewitt & Smyth, 1992)?”

In my analysis I discuss four views on population – the New (Neo) Malthusian View, the Social View, the Women at the Centre View and the New Consensus View; and I conclude by demonstrating how each of the four views takes culture seriously or not. Click here to read the first one, on The New Malthusian. This is the second and the others are published in separate posts.


I wrote this analysis and commentary for a tutor marked assignments for the Open University Course Module TUXX871 – Development Context and Practice, a course I passed with merit; as part of my studies for the award of a Master of Science Degree in Development Management of the Open University, United Kingdom. I was triggered by the up-date, below, published in the New Vision to edit and republish my post of 2015 in a more user friendly manner, hence splitting it up to parts.

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