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[The controversies over population growth and economic development] Die Kontroversen um Bevolkerungswachstum und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung.
In: Probleme und Chancen demographischer Entwicklung in der dritten Welt, edited by Gunter Steinmann, Klaus F. Zimmermann, and Gerhard Heilig. New York, New York/Berlin, Germany, Federal Republic of, Springer-Verlag, 1988. 19-35.This paper presents a broad review of the major theoretical and political viewpoints concerning population growth and economic development. The western nations represent one side of the controversy; based on their experience with population growth in their former colonies, the western countries attempted to accelerate development by means of population control. The underlying economic reason for this approach is that excess births interfere with public and private savings and thus reduce the amount of capital available for development investment. A parallel assumption on the social side is that families had more children than they actually desired and that it was only proper to furnish families with contraceptives in order to control unwanted pregnancies. The competing point of view maintains that forcing the pace of development would unleash productive forces and stimulate better distribution of wealth by increasing social pressures on governments. The author traces the interaction between these two viewpoints and shows how the Treaty of Bucharest in 1974 marked a compromise between the two population policies and formed the basis for the activities of the population agencies of UN. The author then considers the question of whether European development can serve as a model for the present day 3rd World. The large differences between the sizes of age cohorts and the pressure that these differences exert upon internal population movements and the availability of food and housing is more important than the raw numbers alone.