Thomas Malthus' endgültige Niederlage?

Vor kurzem hat die UNO ihre Prognosen über die Weltbevölkerung revidiert. Heute leben rund 6,3 Milliarden Menschen auf der Erde. Wenn die Fruchtbarkeitsquoten in relativ armen Ländern den in relativ reichen Ländern gesetzten Trends weiterhin folgen, befinden wir uns bald in Reichweite der für die Jahre 2050 bis 2100 vorausgesagten maximalen Weltbevölkerung von 9 bis 10 Milliarden.

Danach könnte die Weltbevölkerung aber wieder zurückgehen. Unter gut ausgebildeten Frauen mit ihren vielfältigen sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Möglichkeiten in den reichen Ländern von heute ist die Fruchtbarkeitsrate bereits unter das natürliche Bestandserhaltungsniveau gefallen. Das Problem ist allerdings nicht, dass sich diese Frauen durchschnittlich weniger als zwei Kinder wünschen, eigentlich hätten sie sogar gerne mehr als zwei Kinder. Aber weil sich viele dieser Frauen ihren Kinderwunsch erst jenseits ihres dreißigsten Lebensjahres erfüllen, steht ihre tatsächliche Fruchtbarkeit nicht im Einklang mit der gewünschten Kinderzahl.

Bei einer Weltbevölkerung zwischen 9 und 10 Milliarden Menschen müssten wir uns aber noch keine Sorgen hinsichtlich der Theorie von Thomas Malthus machen. Malthus, ein englischer Ökonom des 19. Jahrhunderts sagte uns eine Zukunft voraus, in der die Weltbevölkerung schneller wächst als die Produktion von Ressourcen, die zu ihrer Erhaltung notwendig sind. Millionen Menschen wären daher dem Hungertod geweiht. Tatsächlich ist es aber umgekehrt beinahe schon ein Schock zu sehen, dass sich das Zeitalter der Bevölkerungsexplosion möglicherweise dem Ende zuneigt.

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