Population Pressure: A Study in Social Equilibrium

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by Harold William Saunders

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Fhilosophy, In the Department of Sociology, in the Graduate College of the State University of Iowa February, 1942

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/, however, from

on© society to another and, hence, an individual stand*ard distinct from the group standard depends upon this fact* However, since the family is even yet a fairly im­ portant unit economically, standards of living are pri­ marily family affairs, with the standards of living of the individual family members both related to and differ­ entiated from them, The well integrated family, of course, would be characterised by a fusion of Individual standards into a group standard.

group has attained,

The extent to which the group culture

has advanced depends upon the circumstances surrounding and determining the nature of the social interaction going on within th© group.

These circumstances would include the

nature of the population, the culture base upon which to build, the geographic environment, and th© opportunities for social contact and cultural borrowing with th© outside world (with other distinctive culture groups located else24 where but communicatively accessible)* The standard of living of an individual is deters mined by the cultural setting in which he lives and moves* More specifically it is a function of his social status; it depends upon his position in the class structure and moves upward or downward as he changes his position from one social stratum to another.

Within any social stratum, ^

the individual standard varies with age, sex, etc# Changes in the standard of living produce changes in the degree of population ores sure.-

The scale cf living

remaining constant, the degree of circulation pressure varies u -----------------------------------------------As was previously pointed out, culture is diffu­ sive; and, in the absence of isolating lectors, conv-unica­ tion results in a common standard of living in all Inter­ connected areas.

directly with the standard of* living#

This statement like­

wise applies to the incidence of population pressure upon a person or social class* Relative to the interaction of the scale and stand­ ard of living there are two questions to be asked and answer eds

(a) what are the effects of the standard on the scale;

and (b) what are the effects of the scale on the standard* In answer to the first query, there seem to be two general ways in which the standard affects the scale; tatively and (2) quantitatively*

(1 ) quali­

The qualitative effects

of the standard upon the scale are bound up with the fact that the compos! tion of the scale la determined principally by the standard*

This is quite obvious because everyone

knows that* in the main* consumer income is spent in such a manner as to make scarce purchasing power go aa far as pos­ sible toward the maximisation of personal want satisfaction* This is Implied in the assumption made earlier* namely; that every person competes in an attempt to make his scale of living coincide with his standard of living* to close the gap between them* tative coincidence*

This means both qualitative and quanti­ The very fact that it is called a

standard of living means that it is a measure* a criterion* a test in terns of which the Individual determines the ade26 quacy of his achievement* Qualitatively* the scale of .

g ^,r.r-r-rTr--r,rr-,



Webster1a Hew International Unabridged Dictionary* under the term standard, defines standard ofcomfort ana standard of life or living and includes this idea*

living reflects the standard of living* which often results in their being confused* The fact of scarcity prevents the scale and stand­ ard from coinciding and forces each and every individual to choose what wants* out of his numerous competing ones* are to be

satisfied and to weed out* for the time being at

least* those wants which are of leaser importance to him* and which must go unsatisfied*

The fact that persons

usually have more wants than can be satisfied with the means at their disposal forces them to range their wants or desires in an order of preference*

Every such "scale of

preference" involves a personal evaluation of wants with re­ sulting decisions as to their relative importance#

Such an

order of preference determines what unsatisfied wants will be satisfied with certain increases in purchasing power (or control over economic resources); also* it determines what previously satisfied wants will go unsatisfied when personal control over economic resources diminishes* It Is at this point In the theory that the con­ cepts of necessities* comforts or conveniences* and lux­ uries enter the discussion* the scale of preferences#

Necessities are at the top of They are the goods and services

purchased first when purchasing power moves away from zero and those sacrificed last as money income moves toward zero# Comforts or conveniences are those goods which are purchased

100 lator and sacrificed earlier than necessities as Income expands or contracts.

luxuries are the goods and services

which are purchased last and sacrificed first as Income moves up or down.

Necessities are those goods or services

considered most important! conveniences are those considered less important; and luxuries are those considered least important*

These relative valuations are manifested In the

relative willingnesses of the person or group to do without

26 these respective goods and services. The quantitative effect of the standard upon the scale is simple and obvious*

The standard tends to raise

the scale to Its own elevation*

The standard of living.

as a motivating factor, tends to result In


more rational

and more thorough use of one’s economic resources and. thereby, to bring one’s scale of living into as close an approximation of his standard of living as Is possible under the circumstances*

In this sense, the standard of living

controls the height of the scale of living* When viewed the other way around, in terms of the effect of the scale upon the standard, the results are quite similar#

The scale influences the standard quailta-

tively because It Is through personal experience with the gS--------------------------------------------------------

There may be, and there often Is, considerable disagreement among individuals as to Just where certain goods or services should be placed in such a scale of pref­ erences# However, In any relatively stable and well organ­ ized society there would be a general consensus on this J matter of position in a hierarchy of values* If the society were stratified the principal variations would be those representing class differentials*

lGi 1 process of consumption that the ability of Various goods and services to give satisfaction is determined,



may be acquired to a certain extent vicariously but they are only fixated as parts in one’s standard of |lliving through trial and error, experimentation In the aetpeiL consumption or enjoyment of those things supposedly pos/se'^sing the cap­ acities to provide want satisfaction*

Certiaih wants and •• i \ \ desires expand quite rapidly as a result of Isu$h experimen­ tal experiencing; others shrink and disappear*

For this

reason much of the purchasing performed by bonsijmiers in the #\ market is exploratory. However, since most of ^he actual consumption of goods and services which takes p|ace in any society is a group affair, common or collective,' the reac­ tions of others influence greatly the development, of tastes and desires; a standard of living is a product/ of jaociai interaction,


As an outgrowth of certain consumption experiences,


\ K \

more or less Influenced by the attitudes of othersj, persons come to anticipate further satisfactions as futurdi possibll;\ ltles and seek to make them actualities* Xn this* Way, \the ' Ij | \ scale of living Influences particularly the composition of the standard; but, nevertheless, the height of tyxe stanijli

ard Is simultaneously Influenced thereby, The scale of living is often thought to produce i

reactions on the standard that keep the latter constantly marching ahead of the scale of living*

This implies that

the gap between the two can never be closed *

In the

vernacular, the statement goes "the more people get the more they want#"

Or, as Is often said in the American mid­

west, "farmers raise more c o m , to feed more hogs, to sell more hogs, to get more money, to buy more c o m , hogs, and so on to Infinity*" quite eminent support*

to feed more

This conception has received

Veblen says 2

"The standard is flex­

ible; and especially it is Indefinitely extensible, If only time is allowed for habituation to any Increase in pecuni­ ary ability and for acquiring facility in the new and larger 27 scale of expenditure that follows such an increase." This notion comes very close to the idea of the classical economists who have always considered human wants as infinite and insatiable*

However, this position seems 28 to be especially vulnerable# in the first place, it does

not say much about the time factor*

Does this mean that

the height of the standard at any given time is infinite? Or does it mean, as Veblen Implies, that we could Imagine a group*s standard of living Increasing without limit if suf­ ficient time were allowed for the advance of culture or civilisation? seems tenable* w

The latter conception Is the only one that In many ways Maithus sized the situation up . ------------------

Veblen, op* cit., Page 102* This seems to be a "trained Incapacity," pert of the "folklore of capitalism," which Impedes understanding and prevents a correct analysis of "The capitalist crisis."


quite accurately#, He says* **fhe condition of the laboring classes of society must evidently depend, partly upon the rate at which the funds for the maintenance of labor and the demand for labor are Increasing; and partly, on the habits of the people in re­ spect to their food, clothing, and lodging# • # # It rarely happens, however, that either of them remains fixed for any great length of time together# The rate at which the funds for the maintenance of labor increase is, we well know, liable, under varying circumstances, to great variation; and the habits of a people, though not so liable, or so necessarily subject to change, can scarcely ever be considered as permanent# In general, their tendency is to change together# When the funds for the main­ tenance of labor are rapidly increasing, and the laborer commands a large portion of necessaries, it is to be expected that if he has the opportun­ ity of exchanging his superfluous food for con­ veniences and comforts, he will acquire a taste for these conveniences, and his habits will be formed accordingly# On the other hand, it gen­ erally happens that, when the funds for the maintenance of labor become nearly stationary, such habits, if they ever existed, are found to give way; and, before the population comes to a stop, the0standard of comfort is essentially lowered #wl5W The belief that any person or group could consume an infinite number of certain kinds of goods and services in a short period of time without satiation occurring has —

m----------------------------------- -------------------------------

Principles of Political Economy (second edition, 1636), pp. 224-226* As was pointed out In an earlier chap­ ter, Malthus revised his original position drastically In this later work# Consequently, he developed a theory seem­ ingly entirely overlooked, which in its general outlines, resembles that being set forth in this study# Ezra Bowen fails to understand this aspect as well as his spiritual predecessor; in his work, o p # cit#, page 15, footnote, he says, *the desire for a higher standard of liv­ ing Is In direct proportion to the height of living-stand­ ard s .n Thereby he betrays his inability to clearly dis­ tinguish between the taro#

been severely challenged end virtually discarded#

It has

usually been utilized only in the sense that as a personfs Income rises, he consumes larger quantities of those goods and services previously obtainedj and, he also purchases and consumes different or new goods and services not pre­ viously obtained*

This Implies, only, that as the scale of

living approaches the standard, goods and services previous­ ly excluded from consumption because of lack of purchasing power (but desired nevertheless) are not included in it, not that the standard Is increasing In height#

As was previous-,

ly pointed out, Inability to completely satisfy wants leads to economizing on the part of the consumer which implies an order of preferences, a scaling of wants In terms of their relative importance#

First things are put first and certain

conveniences or luxuries are sacrificed to the exigencies of the moment.

However, wants so sacrificed make themselves

manifest at the first increase in control over economic re­ sources, unless the time elapsed is sufficient to make for their deterioration#

Hence, it may seem that a rising scale

of living is actually resulting In the acquisition of new wants on the pert of the person or group'# What really occurs is that the scale and standard advance together In an expanding economy and a developing civilization*

Although these two processes occur simultane­

ously they may not be as intimately related causally as Is

105 easily assumed*

It does not seem logical that the improve­

ment of a new technique of production which made possible a higher scale of living would automatically result in new wants and a higher standard of living*

The invention of

new techniques and the Invention of new wants are different processes and for clarity of thought must be kept logically separable• In the maini the creation of new' wants and the re­ sulting rise In the standard of living precede improvements in technology*

However, once a aeries of technological

changes occurs and productive capacity expands, especially when all of the logical implications of the new knowledge have been exploited and applied, excess capacity may result over and above that needed to bring the scale and standard into alignment*

In a capitalistic society, when this oc­

curs, there is a tendency for all productive establishments to attempt to create new wants on the part of consumers in order to market the extra goods and services which the new technology makes possible*

This is done through advertis­

ing* When a lag occurs, such as Is Indicated here, the excess capacity tends to be wasted*

It may be a case of

simple waste where It is merely unutilized? or, it may be of a more complex sort.

For instance, the release of pop­

ulation pressure may result in a new laxity on the part of potential parents whereby the birth rate rises, population

grows, and the scale of living is lowered without any in­ crease In happiness on the part of the population*


same general result may be achieved through increased pur­ chases of necessities as the pressure on the consumer Is relieved? Increased purchases of necessities would produce a decline in the death rate and an Increase in the size of the population with the consequent lowering of the scale of living,

In practically every society unplanned for and

unwanted children continually appear upon the scene and the mores Inhibit their extinction through infanticide*


these conditions a new demand for necessities would be created and the excess capacity would be put to use. If, however, the resulting excess capacity produces dtarger money incomes among the more well-to-do members of the society— especially among those who can and do restrict procreation— forced savings would probably result with Its consequent unemployment, or wasted capacity.

This seems to

be the principal result In our modern economies where the maturity of the economy has been practically attained and where the distribution of wealth and Income is extremely in­ equitable. More exactly, a rising scale of llvin0 7iay produce, but not necessarily, a social-psychological sotting especial­ ly fertile for the production of new wants*

If the scale of

living rises over a considerable period of time, as in the history of Western Furope

and America since the Industrial

±0? Revolution, it breeds a spirit of optimism and creates an expectation that new things for people to want will con­ stantly make their appearance on the social scene.


belief in progress is especially conducive to the entice­ ment of gifted Individuals Into the field of invention. It is possible that under these conditions such new desir­ able objects of consumption as automobiles, radios, and motion pictures will parade themselves endlessly.


compounding of culture, or the principle of the accelera­ tion of the rate of cultural growth, applies to the growth of social wants as well as to the growth of technology. Nevertheless, this is no mechanical process, going on in­ evitably and without interruption,

Rather, there are many

interferences and resistances which make the growth process frequently a matter of spasmodic and irregular bursts of 30 activity. The belief that every rise in the scale produces a corresponding rise in the standard of living seems to be the 55-------------------------------- :-------------------- ----

The optimistic belief in the Inevitability of social progress seems to be a by-product of scientific advance* This attitude is very highly developed in America where the coincidence of vast natural resources and scientific advance has been especially favorable. See the National Resources Committee, Technological Trends and National Policy, pp. 390; also, S..M, Rosen and £• fosen, technology and Society. Some of these Issues are raised by W. P m 6gburnTn F T s introduetion to this book? although he still seems to believe that social change through cultural compounding is the rule, he admits the possibilities of interruptions and implies that the process is not necessarily unidirectional and in­ evitable, The entire question is especially hazy and needs considerable research for clarification purposes.


result of the mistaken conclusion (or pious hope) that dynamic societies go on progressing forever*

To believe

otherwise is considered In many circles as selling the society short*

Nevertheless, it is an historical observe*

tlon that all of the older civilisations finally reached a state of maturity*-vis* Greece, Rome, China, India, etc* There is a second factor producing the assumption that the scale of living can never reach the standard, the Idea that the standard always moves on when the scale ap­ proaches*

The behavior of individual standards is often

confused with the behavior of the standard of the community as a whole*

Individual standards, In an open class social

order where there Is considerable vertical mobility, may rise until they reach the celling set by the elite at the top of the social pyramid* come to possess the

Socially ambitious persons

standard of the class Immediately above

their own and strive to gain access to this next higher class level*

However, they come to Imitate the standard of the

class they are entering only as they are inducted into It* Kven though previous indirect contact has made them familiar with the general outlines of the standard of living next above them, it is only through more Intimate experiences with the prior members of the superior social layer that they really become familiar with that group*s social ex­ pectations*

±09 Bat one gains access to# or tentative membership in# a superior social stratum only by increasing his Income and manifesting the social characteristics that wealth.

go with

Hence# the scale of living of a person or family

must rise before acceptance in a superior social stratum takes place; and, even then# it is somewhat slow and grudg­ ingly given, as the newly rich always find out.

But, as

social acceptance occurs, the isolation of the class neo­ phyte breaks down and he comes to know quite perfectly what one must want or desire if he is to be a full fledged mem­ ber of that status group. are acquired

In this way, higher standards

by individuals as they are successful.

Increased income results in new contacts and new ^ experiences, as class mobility is increased; these now contacts and experiences result in higher standards of liv­ ing for the persons in the process of circulation, of ’’get­ ting ahead in the world."

This seems to be the principal

way in which an increased scale of living results in an in­ creased standard of living.

Nevertheless, even this process

mast cease as the person reaches the apex of the class structure.

Further upward movement in personal standards

can occur only if the general standard dor the society as a whole is raised, which involves the raising of the leisure class standard, the upper limit to individual mobility. The primary function of an elite or leisure class . Is that of setting the general moral tone for the society

no at large; and part of that moral tone la the establishment * of a standard of life susceptible of emulation* As Veblen s&yst "It la for this class to determine, In general outline, what scheme of life the community shall accept as decent or honorific; and it is their office by precept and example to set forth this scheme of social salvation in Its highest, ideal form* But the higher leisure class can exercise this quas1-sa cerdo tal office only under certain ma­ terial limitations* The class cannot at discretion effect a sudden revolution or reversal of the pop­ ular habits of thought with respect to any of these ceremonial requirements. It takes time for any change to permeate the mass and change the habitual attitude of the people; and especially it takes time to change the habits of those classes that are socially more remote from the radiant body* The process is slower there the mobility of the population is less or where the intervals be­ tween the several classes are wider and more abrupt* * • * Its example and precept carries the force of prescription for all classes below it*"31 The effect of the scale upon the standard, whereby the former tends to drag the latter down to its own level, is almost always overlcoked*

But that is exactly what

happens when further rises in the scale become seemingly impossible and hope or optimism diappears*

Persons close

the gap between their scale and their standard not only by raising the scale but also by lowering the standard.


standard may be very tenacious; and, "it is much more diffi­ cult to recede from a scale of expenditure once adopted than it Is to extend the accustomed scale in response to an ac32 cession of wealth*" Nevertheless, standards decline as 51

1 Veblen, op. clt., pp. 104-105*

32 Ibid. page 102.

well aa climb.

The societal or community standard so be­

haves when economic progress ceases % Individual standards recede, or move toward the scale, when persons lose their mobility In the class structure* Even though In an open class system all the lower classes emulate the standard of the elite at the top, when class lines harden and ®the circulation of the elite® lessens, class standards become differentiated and move to­ ward. or hover around, the respective scales of living in the various stratified layers of the society.

The lowering

of class standards to bring them into close approximation with class scales of living that have ceased to rise, and the lowering of a general community standard toward the community scale as the economic expansion of the community subsides, occur simultaneously; or, rather, the former la an aspect of the latter. For some persons and some communities this general tendency and expected equilibrium is not always achieved. Some persons, marginal men partially assimilated into two different social classes but completely members of neither, because it is socially impossible under the circumstances, find themselves in a position where they are constantly bombarded by social stimuli that maintain high levels of aspiration, even though their legels of achievement are much lower and show no tendency to rise.


Such persons be­

come disorganized and either despondent or rebellious.

112 This situation seems to be especially conducive to Insanity, 33 suicide, and crime# The precise conditions giving rise to one or another result are not known* Chronic cases of intense population pressure are more or less characteristic of secular societies, especial* \

ly in the m o d e m world*

Widespread and fairly Intense un­

rest seems to be "normal11 in the Western World because these societies have the exceptional ability to create and stimu­ late wishes which they do not have the ability to satisfy* Modern education, the newspapers, the radio and the movies bombard the person with stimuli creating and maintaining high levels of personal aspiration.

M o d e m advertising is

a prime factor operating in this direction.


playing upon human thought and emotion, advertisers main­ tain a high community standard of living, even when economic depression is severe and the scale of living spirals down34 ward as unemployment mounts# gg------- ;-------------------------------------------------

E, V* Stonequist, in his book, The Marginal M an* develops this concept and indicates its general implicationa, after having derived it from Robert E* Parkj see Park, "Human Migration and the Marginal Man," American Journal of Sociology, 33i 881-893 (1928). See Karen Horney, op, clt* * for the relation of the situation to neurosis* Although not put in these terms, the relation of this situation to crime is implied in the work of W# A* Bonger, Criminality and Economic Conditions* See also John Pollard, e t ,a 1, feustra1 tfon and' ~A&sre ss5.on * Ruth Cavan*s book, SuloTde, is likewise somewhat capable of being fitted into this frame of reference, 34 It might be assumed that advertising could solve the problem of economic collapse, but such an assumption

113 seems unfounded* If depression is, in the main, caused by a discrepancy between savings and investment, or "oversaving” and "under consumption," this discrepancy results from the fact that the distribution of wants does not coincide with the distribution of purchasing power; the persons whose money incomes exceed their scales of living are forced to save. To further stimulate tbeir highly inflated standards of liv­ ing seems well nigh on to impossible, since many of them have already reached the physical limits of even "conspicuous waste"; besides, it would seem to invite social disaster be­ cause it is impossible to direct advertising to them alone. To believe otherwise seems to carry the desire to maintain the present economic bystem too far* It must be Institution­ ally overhauled in order to fit the modern conditions of life. Population pressure becomes intense in these cir­ cumstances and results In a general clamor for getting rid of the excess number of people, for revising the economic system, or for war, rather than a process of accommodation whereby aspirations are brought into conformity with real­ ities.

This tenacity of the community standard of living

in modern society means social disequilibrium; but, it also holds the possibility of social reorganization if intelli­ gence is applied to social and economic problems.

The Ameri­

can and the Western European, rather than compromise with reality as the Oriental tends to do so readily, hang on to ideals and attempt to reconstruct reality In order to bring 55 tTtopia somewhat closer. m --------------------------------------------------------An excellent contrast in the philosophies of the East and the West is presented by Hu Shih in his chapter, "The Civilizations of the Fast and the West," contained In Whither Mankind, edited by Charles A. Beard, pp. 25-41.

I1€ The development of "escapist philosophies of life," along the lines of foe Nirvana cult of India, or of Chris­ tianity in its."other worldly" outlook, serves to facilitate the process of community accommodation; it serves to bring concessions and compromises In the group standard of liv­ ing whereby the gap between it and the scale of living Is closed and social equilibrium restored#

Under certain cir­

cumstances this may be more "realistic" than It seems, how­ ever*

A. lowering of the standard generally occurs as hop©


(1) when applied intelligence cannot devise

the techniques whereby situations can be so controlled and institutions revised as to make possible a rise In the plane of living; or (2) when the social resistances are so great that the techniques already devised, and presumably workable, will not be accepted and applied, .Intense class conflicts are especially productive of such a state of affairs#

CHAPTER V POPULATION PRESSURE AND SIZE OF POPULATION* THF) BALANCE OF BIRTHS AND DEATHS The way in which population size determines or conditions the pressure of population has heen discussed in a previous chapter*

The question now becomes that of

tracing the cause end effect relations running in the opposite directions

ascertaining how population pressure

affects population sizey The general result has already been indicated in a prior passage, wherein it was pointed out that popular tion pressure initiated processes leading to its own de­ struction, or diminution; and that population processes or movements (including changds in population size) fall in this


Inasmuch as the size of population contri­

butes to the origin and intensity of population pressure, it is necessary that such adaptations in population size occur as will reduce the intensity of the competitive struggle and thereby lead to the conservation of human energy#

There is a constant tendency manifested in the life

processes of every human group whereby the energy output of such a group, under the given conditions of life, is always 1 in the process of being reduced toward a minimum# One of 1

— — — ' For a brief discussion of this "law of evolution of an organic system" see Alfred J# Lotka, "Contact Points of Population Study with Related Branches of Science," Pro­ ceedings of American Philosophical Society# 80i 601-626 (Feb. 1&3 Essays in Honor o i T * ftl* ‘ C arver» p p * &06-5&7 # See also "his ledl'caX ~h Ij Ttpry"’of Contraceptlon# This evidence amply re­ futes the belief that™the declining birth rate is a result of a decline in fecundity (biological capacity for repro­ duction) accompanying the rise of civilization, as present­ ed by such persons as Corrado Gini, o p * cit# One of the clearest and most penetrating analyses of the elation between the development of a civilization and population size or growth was made by Arsene Dumont# Under the term "social capillarity" he summed up the relation of class mobility to birth control# The theory was first published in his Depopulation et Civilisation* This idea was further developed 'in his two later books} Natalite et Democratie; and La Morale Baaee sur la Demographic * For eTbrief summary of IJumontTs position, see G. F • McCleery, The Menace of British Depopulation, pp# 103-117#

12? A population is practically never at the maximum possible, even though there has been sufficient time for the growth processes to work themselves out; rather it tends to be of such size as to make the scale of living coincide with the standard of living, a size that tends to approximate the optimum.

Or, as both Reuter and Bowen say, 16 "population varies inversely with the standard of living." In summary, then, the ability of a human group to

control its habitat sets the upner limit to population size, The degree to which this upner limit is approached by any given population, in the lonp run, depends noon the extent 17 to which its reproductive powers are utilized or restricted. Population growth and population decline are symptoms of disequilibrium and are processes by means of which a new balance among population size, the habitat, and group culture is attained.


Every population is in process of

‘'r~ 11 r'r' “1

This quotation is taken from £• B, Reuter, op, clt., page 185, However, Ezra Bowen's statement, on, clt,, page 14, is almost identical. He says, "populations, • , • tend to decline in numbers as standards of living rise," This relation has been more or less clearly realized for a long time* E. Whitaker, op* cit*, pp. 360-354, gives a brief review of the theories carrying this realization, al­ though he falls to call attention to some of the :«or& recent v/rlters, such as K# 8, Router, B, Bowen, and iV. G. Sumner* 17 An excellent summary statement is given by Sumner and Roller. They say: "Numbers vary directly with the arts and inversely with the standard of living........ Population tends to increase up to the limit of the support­ ing power of the environment (land), on a given stage of the arts, and for a given standard of living." op. cit., Page 46,

128 stabiliration but may never reach stability because the factors upon which population stability re.sts are always in flux*

A population grows whenever group control over

the habitat increases, or whenever the restrictions on its reproductive powors are relaxed,

A population declines

whenever its control over its habitat diminishes, or when* ever the restrictions on its multiplication are intensified* A population reaches stability when its birth and death rates coincide, as the two controls (control over death and control over birth) are balanced one with the other*


over, this balancing process is just one aspect of a more inclusive process:

the balancing of the scale of living

wi tb the standard of living*

Population equilibrium is

just one aspect of social equilibrium*

These relations can be given more exactness if they are shown graphically an^/nc&s specifically into the termin­ ology and frame of reference of economics*

When so stated,

population si^e Is always tending to stabilize at that point where the demand for population and the aupoly of 18 population are equilibrated. jjj

Adam Smith was, seemingly, the first to state these relations in economic terms, although he- jailed to understand the nature of the supply of population. To him, demand created the supply arc. therefore secr-ed ell important. He says: "The demand for men, like that for any other com­ modity, necessarily regulates the production of r-en; quickens it when it goes on too slowly, and stops it when it advances too fast* It is this demand which regi.ilat.es and determines the state of propagation in-all the different countries of the world *" An Inquiry into the Mature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Modern Library Edition, page 78.

1329 In the long run demand anct 3upply are always equated; In the short run, however, the actual size of the population may be above or below the equilibrium point, but always tending to coincide with It*

If the actual size la

above the equilibrium point, the failure of potential parents to reproduce as rapidly as formerly will bring It down to the appropriate size; if the actual size is below the equilibrium point, increased reproduction will bring it up to the appropriate size. attained in another way.

However, equilibrium may be

If the actual 3ize is above equi-

librium parents may not allocate sufficient necessities to the family members#

This increases the death rate tenpor-

arily and brings population size down to the equilibrium point.

the other hand, if the actual also in belew equi­

librium, parents may purchase snore necessities, with a con­ sequent decline in the death rate, an Increase in population size, and the achievement of equilibrium*.

These statements

will have more definite meaning if the demand for population and the supply of population are more carefully defined and rela ted * The demand for population refers primarily to the ability of an area to support a population of varying size* As was stated previously, an area can support a population of any size between zero and the maximum for that a r e a given, the economic organization of the prospective inhabi­ tants, the size of population that is supportable is c

130 resultant of the proportions In which the factors of pro­ duction for the a r e a

a r e

c o » ‘b l e e d *

In other words, roiny ’bach to the "ecc-ionic optimum theory11 of population, given the natural resources of an area and the technology of the group inhabiting it, the scale of living which can bo produced by tho oconomic organization varies with the size of the copulation and passes through three definite stages as the size of the population moves from zero toward infinity:

(1) the stage of increasing re­

turns (where the scale of living risos as the population in­ creases); (2) the stage of constant returns (whore the scale of living remains virtually constant as the population in­ creases); and (3) the stage of decreasing returns (where the 19 scale of living falls as the population inc.eases), The actual he 1 ,bt of tho scalo of livin0 In any of the tires stages just indicated depends upon the relative quantities and qualities of the factors of production utilized by the economic organization*

The height of the scale (Its distance

above tho level of subsistence) Is primarily a matter of technology, varying directly with technological advance, Yiihen portrayed graphically, the relation between tho scale of living and the size of the population assumes the shape of a curve, as shown in Figure 1. ^ —


This is basically a matter, as was previously point­ ed out, (chapter IV), of the proportion of labor relative to the other factors of production# The amount of labor varies directly with the size of population# Tho two are not iden­ tical, however: labor supply is a function of population# Optimum population is partly a result of makin0 the two as nearly coincide as possible under the circumstances.










132 If units on the OY axis indicate varying amounts of real income and unite on the OX axis indicate t h e


the nooo.la ti on , then

in g numbers of individuals const!tut in

the curve DD shows tho three stages throurh which the economy

20 passes as the population Is increased*

The steepness of

the incline or the decline of the curve has no particular significance in this illustration; the general relationship Is all that Is Intended* However, some other signifleant facts can also be communicated by means of this diagram*

If OL represents

the minimum amount of real income (necessities) which a per*** son must have to live, then the lino LL Is the "level of subsistence" and Its point of Intersection Q with the curve I'D determines the maximum size of population which the area

can support under the circumstancest

population OP *

In the

long run, if the economic resources (including technology but exclnd.tr.g labor, since It Is a function cf ••••opulction sise) remain constant, tho else of the populatlon cannot be greater than Oh and the scale of livinw cannot bo loss than OL, nor greater than 01*

Tho distance of the demand curve above the level of subsistence at any given population sl.ze would represent the Economic surplus1* possible u:dor the defined circumstances.


'" .


The phase of the curve Indicating increasing re­ turns (the scale of living rising with increase of popula­ tion) is sometimes referred to as a condition of "open re­ source s*n The phase of tho curve showing decreasing re­ turns (the scale of living falling with population increase) is often called a condition of "closed resources*" For this usage of terms, see H* J. NIeboer, Slavery as an Industrial System*

Also, if the point R represents the place where the scale of living is at Its maximum, then population OP is the opti­ mum population and real income 01 is the highest possible, given the economic resources*

As the size of the population

increases up to the size OP the scale of living rises; as the size increases beyond OP the scale of living falls and approaches the magnitude QM, the level of subsistence with its correlative maximum population OM* Changes in the demand for population result from changes in the supply of land or of capital and from changes in technology#

Any change In the relative proportions of

the factors, or of the ways in which they are combined, would result In a lowering or raising of the level of the curve as a whole#

An Increase in either, all, or some com­

bination of tho factors, would result In a general rise in the demand curve; a decrease would result in a general fall in the curve*

An Increase In one factor, say technology,

may be offset, however, by a decrease in another factor, say land#

Under these conditions, naturally, the demand

curve remains relatively unchanged*

Constant improvement

in technology, other things being equal, results In a con­ stant shifting of the demand curve upward— the maximum size and the optimum size become steadily larger as technology improves*

The two typical changes in the demand curve

(a decrease in demand and an increase In demand) are shown graphically in Figure 2*









135 If the curve

represents the new curve result­

ing from a diminution of natural resources, of capital, or of technology, all of the previous correlative magnitudes would likewise decline.

The scale of living for any size of


except at Its upper oxtre-ne, would he loss; the

scale would

be at Itsnew maximum 01^ when

was at Its new opt?.mum sine OP^.

the population

The largest population

that could be sustained would be correspondingly smaller, as shown by

the length of the line OMj.


the curve Is shifted upward toDgDg by improve­

ments In economic resources or technology, all of the correlative magnitudes would be increased thereby, except scale of living with maxi.mum population.

The new maximum

population would bs that shown by the line OWjg; OPg would be tho new optimum population; and the now maximum Income wooId be represented by line 0I8 . The supply of population refers to the numbers of people which a group is willing to produce and maintain at ' /

21 all possible scales of living.

As such, it terns3 very

close to the concept of Rae, "the effective desire for

22 offspring,”

This s t & t e n e r t

assumes that group r* v : .vly-rs


: Tlila is meant to refer to a large cultural group as a whole; however, It can also be applied to a family (or rather, a set of parents). If It is used In the latter sense, tho former reference would not bo eliminated, but, rather, the supply of population for the cultural group as a whole would be the summation of the supply curvos of all the families constituting the society,

22 John Rae, The Sociological Tho 01*7 of Capital, pp. ^54 ff; see also, "Letter of Rae to ?.IIlT~on Malthusian Doctrine of Population," Economic Journal, 12; 111-120 (1902).

136 .understand the relationship between population size and the scale of living; it also assumes that they possess the tech­ niques necessary to control the 3ize of the population. The relationship between the number of people (or size of family) any group is willing to produce and maintain and the scale of living they are able to enjoy is a direct onC; tho higher the scale of living they can expect, tho larger the size of population they are ready to supply.


relationship is a manifestation of the fact that the pro­ duction of children is a costly process:

that the economic

resources necessary to the production and maintenance of children cannot be utilized for the attainment of all t joss other things which potential parents find desirable in ad­ dition to children.

An other words, the desire for children

must compete with all of the othe£ desires which parents have and which can only be satisfied by the expenditure of 23 economic resources. The supply curve for population is an inverted image of the standard of living;

the higher the standard, the less

the supply? the lower the standard, the greater the supply. 23 It is possible that prospective parents may desire children and children alone, hi:t it is '*l^hlr imprcbpbio.

Children, as previously pointed out, necessitate a certain standard of child caro, w v1ch 1s an. aspect of tv,e group . standard of living. Also, if the parents are to lavish the necessary car© upon the5r chi Ifror., they Ulrew-J so muet be maintained at a certain scale. All of this loads to limita­ tion of offspring if at all possible. In fact, it -•'Ipht lead to the complete avoidance of marriage and sex relations.

±3? The less the gap between the scale of living and tbe standard of living, the less necessary it is for poten­ tial parents to forego children in order to enjoy the other things of life*

The greater the gap, the greater the ten­

dency to sacrifice offspring for ether consumption goods and services.

In fact the greater the gap between, the scale of

living and the standard of living, the more luxurious chil24 dren become. Hence, as income increases, both the desire for children and the desire for other things can be par­ tially gratified.

Thus the supply curve rises from left to

right, as is si-own in Figure 3. 24 For a long period of ti o the ets- list* col correla­ tion has been observed that the size of family varies in­ versely with tbe scale of 'vlrg c-:.f fcr if - t reason any students of population believe that this fact contradicts the belief that peon1st2or: varies directly ??.1th wee 1 th. They fail to realize tbe role played by tho standard of liv­ ing. The significant tiring is the go p between" the scaTe and the standard. It is in order to reduce this gap that parents are careful not to have too n.any children relative to the other things desired? ambitious couples forego off­ spring, partly or entirely, even though they conId have them and would really like to have them If they could ”af­ ford1,1 to do so. They merely put "first things first* and, according to their calculus, children do not come in that category. However, in this analysis, the question reverts back to why children do not rank higher in their "scale of preferences." This was discussed undor the topic of the determination of the standard of living. For good, but limited, discussions of the relation of tho scale of living to family size, see Rudolf Heberle, "Social Factors In Birth Control." American Coci ological Review, G: 794-805 (Dec# 1941)j Rupert Vance, "Tho Regional Approach to the Study of lligh Fertility," ‘rllban?c Memorial Fund 3 trate tho nature cf population equ.i.liorlum ana to trace the dynanics cf penult, tier. as the supply curve undergoes change•

‘ fhese processes arc graph­

ically summer!zed in Figure 4. If tbe demand curve is DD and the supply curve is SI, their point of intersection determines the scale of liv­ ing and the size of population that will make equilibrium possible.

Under these conditions (which are epitomized in

these two curves, IB and SS), the population in the long run would tend toward that represented by the line OP, and the scale of living would tend toward that represented by the line 01,

If the population were larger and the scale

of llvinc smaller

than these respective amounts, potential

parents would restrict tho prouuc tic:: .of offspring until the population ware auf fl eiru. t.lv reduced to give tho either scale of living possible- at too equilibrium point,

xf the

fjopulation wsre smaller than Of and the scale of living higher than 01, potential parents would experience an un­ satisfied desire for offspring and would proceed to sacri­ fice the less desired elements in their scale of living in order to produce and enjoy more children,

Pai’ents tend to

balance their desire for offspring with the competing de­ sires for all the other goods and services which the economy can provide.

Given the knowledge and the control techniques,

they approximate what they consider a "decent living," and an "ideal family,"
















represents an Increase in the supply

of population, resulting from a lowering of the standard of living so that children as values encounter less severe competition.

The demand curve remaining constant, an in**

crease in supply results in an Increased population and a lower scale of living!

OPi would he the new population

size and 01 ^ the new scale of living resulting from such


an increase In the supply of population. Curve SgSg represents a decrease in the supply of population^resultlng from a rise in the standard of living with children encountering more severe competition.


demand curve remaining constant, a decrease in supply re­ sults in a smaller population and a higher scale of living, as represented hy the lines QPg and Olg respectively. The effect of simultaneous changes in demand and supply upon size of population would he of several sorts. In general, they can be summarized as follows!

(l) an in­

crease in supply coupled with an increase in demand would give an accentuated rice in population size larger than that which would result from an increase in supply or demand alone; (2 ) a decrease in supply coupled with a decrease in demand would give an accentuated decline in population size larger than that which would result from a decrease of either singly; and

(3 ) an increase in supply coupled with v

a decrease in demand, or an increase In demand coupled with a decrease in supply, would produce offsetting tendencies,

144 and the net result of these changes upon population size would depend upon the magnitude of the change in supply relative to that In demand--it would be possible that they might exactly offset each other with population size remain­ ing unchanged* The effect of simultaneous changes in demand and supply upon, the scale of livin„ would likewise depend upon the direction and magnitude of the interrelated changes* In brief, they are:

(1) an increase in demand coupled with

a decrease in supply woulc. produce a larger Increase in the scale of living than would result from either change alone; (8) a decrease in demand coupled with an increase In supply would result in a greater decrease In the scale of living than would be produced by either change alone; and (5) an increase in demand occurring simultaneously with an Increase in supply, or a decrease in demand occurring simultaneously with a decrease In supply, would tend to offset each other, with tho net result dependent upon the relative magnitudes of each change*

At this point, two interesting ana important ques­ tions arise*

In the first place, what are the conoitoons

under which the optimum population v>»ould be reached?


answer to this query, tber* seem to be two possibilities* The first one would be a chance coincidence:

where the

supply curve ascending to the right happens to intersect

145 the demand curve at the optimum point# a coincidence are slender indeed,

The chances of such

The second one is more

probable than the first, but It is difficult to say lust what tho probabilities are.

If parents were completely

“economic men” and looked at children purely as means to ends and not as ends In themselves (if they did not want children for purposes of enjoyment, through association with them; or, rather, If they considered children only as investments capable of nroduel.nr dividends), then parents would stand ready to produce and maintain lust sufficient • children, no more no less, to keep the population at the optimum point so that they (the parents) could enjoy the maximum flow of goods end services possible with the natural resources and technology at their disposal.

To reach this

state of affairs, the attitudes toward children would need to be completely utilitarian and the supply of offspring would have to fluctuate In accordance with economic cir­ cumstances so as to increase tb© population, or decrease It, just enough to mairtain optimum production or maximum wel­ fare as the economic resources expanded or contracted. This is probably what A. E. ^‘olfe means by the "rationaliza­ tion of production and reproduction," which seems to be more or loss characteristic of our modern, secular, or civ-

26 illzed societies.

If certain potential parents were to

forego the production of offspring, entirely or in nart, others would have to make up the deficit.



A. B» Wolfe, op. cit*

In a society

— »—

±46 where all were “economic men," if some parents were to make up the deficit caused by the failure of other potential parents to reproduce, they would have to be compensated for it, and not at “bargain prices#*

If the demand really creates

the supply, a class of "professional parents" would come Into existence in order to maintain population equilibrium at the optimum point#

Under these conditions, the "rationalization

of production and reproduction" would have reached its ze­ nith. However, it seems impossible that the process of civilization would go to this extreme of rationality, with children as sentimental values completely eliminated from the standard of living# be in that direction#

The trend, nevertheless, seems to Urbanization produces the conditions

conducive to such an attitude.


*n fact, it even carries it

beyond, for children become negative values to many, with the consequent result that mature cities fail to reproduce themselves by a considerable margin#

This defect would

probably right itself, though, if cities were unable to draw upon the rural areas for the labor necessary to the maintenance of the urban economy#

Negative attitudes toward

parenthood seemingly result from modern individualism in Its most extreme form#

Where each and every family is striving

to increase Its scale of living to the maximum, one of the short run results Is an exaggerated limitation of family size# If carried to Its logical condition,

the ultimate result

147 would be a general scale of livin0 lower than that possible with a larger population*

However, if people were completely

rational, they would foresee this long run result and would probably produce sufficient children to maintain the labor supply* Large cities* up to the present, have been able to avoid the long run effect of underbreeding because they have been able to draw population through migration and, thereby, obtain a labor supply able to participate in the economic order without cost to the urban areas, since the costs of producing these individuals have already been met by the rural families from which they come*

When and if this

source of supply disappears, with the adoption by rural people of urban standards of living and urban practices of birth control, cities will b© confronted by the necessity of choosing between (l) having sufficient children of their own to maintain the labor supply and (2 ) experiencing a grad­ ually declining scale of living as a result of their unwill** ingness to undertake the responsibilities of parenthood* When they are Confronted with this choice, city dwellers will probably change their attitudes sufficiently to produce the necessary labor supply*

Rational persons will bear the

costs of production and reproduction whenever they consider the probable consequences desirable*

Carr-Saundersr position

would be tenable if so restated as to make the attainment of optimum population the end result toward which the process of civilisation moves*

143 Many persons at present are urging that


control he exerted to arrest or reverse the process of 27 urbanization before actual population decline begins. They foresee the time when the spread of urban attitudes and ways of life into the now rural areas will so reduce the surplus of rural birth that rural-urban migration cannot offset the urban deficit.

Prophesying underpopulation, they

advocate measures to decentralize the population so as to produce conditions more favorable to reproduction; automatic equilibrium they cannot see or depend upon.

The imiiiiuence

of population decline throughout the western world is pro­ ducing a revulsion against extreme industrialization and urbanization*

The clamor is for national policies to con­

trol reproduction. 28 such policies*

Many countries have already established

This discussion has led into the second questions what are the possibilities of Mraee suicide”?

In answer to

this query another highly improbable possibility can be indicated*

If the supply curve were above and to the left

See 0* E, Baker (and others), Agriculture in Modern H f e ; Lancelot Kogben, 15Planning for Human Survival7ir t>anserous Thoughts, pp. 120-138: and Guglielmo Ferrero, Ancient tome and Modern America, pp. 78-80* The latter, attributing iHe 'downfalT o? tbe loman Empire to excessive urbanization, thinks that the modern world can learn a valuable lesson from that experience. 28 See D. V. Glass, oj>. cit.; Gunnar Myrdal, ££• cit.; G* F. i^cCleary, The Menace of British depopulation; J. J. Spongier, France Faces Depopulation; Enid Charles, The Menace of Underpopu 1stion: A Biological Btudy tpe Becline oF fopuTiition Growth; Loriroar, Winston, and Kiser, oo. clt.; and. Alva Myrdal, Nation and Family; The Swedish Experi­ ment in Democra11c Famfly and Population Policy.

149 of the desand curve and. stayed there so that the two never Intersected (see Figure 4), equilibrium would be Impossible and a true case of "parents on strike'* would occur.


scale of living would depend upon what the size of the pop­ ulation was when the supply curve assumed that position and it would rise as the population declined, provided population size were beyond the optimum size; then it would gradually decline as the population declined until the group was elim­ inated by the Inexorable processes of nature which say, "adapt or die,”

Such an extreme case of group failure to

accommodate to the 'Conditions of life" would represent an exaggerated instance of irrationality* and such an example would prove that culture can make for elimination as well as survival* h much more probable occurrence would be that as

the scale of living fell, as population size dropped below the optimum (at least sufficiently to prove that it was not just a temporary phenomenon), the group would be shaken, out of its ambitious stubbornness and would proceed to lower its level of aspiration sufficiently to increase the supply of population by the amount necessary to an equilibrium condition*

The increased population pressure resulting from

a declining scale of living, even in the absence of intense desire for children, would probably produce an increased supply of population* Every group has an "area of effective choice" ly­ ing between the optimum population and the maximum population.

150 Within this area two types of choice are possibles

(1 ) more

children (population) and less of the other things of life} or (2 ) less children (population) and more of the other things of life.

Xn terms of Figure 4, the supply curve of

children may fall anywhere between these two effective limits* It may, at one extreme, coincide

with the line T..L (a maxinwm

of population with a minimum of other goods and services)} or, it may, at the other extreme, coincide with a line per* pendicular to the OX axis and passing through point R where the scale of living is highest (the point of optimttm popula­ tion). Social control could be utilized to produce a group standard of living which would result in a supply curve of population anywhere between these two extremes, provided that sufficient knowledge were at hand to set up the ap­ propriate conditions and that group loaders knew what they wanted.

Whether such control would ever be established is

another matter.

Hor/ever, it seems to bo true that a policy

of lassiez-faire would not necessarily result in equilibrium within this area.

As has been Indicated, equilibrium would

not b© possible at all if group members insisted on a scale of living far beyond the productive capacity of the economy. Given exaggerated notions as to what constitutes a "decent scale of expenditure," as In a highly secular world where extreme emphasis is placed on "front," freedom, and "getting ahead," children may be entirely eliminated from the social sceno.

Children have a difficult time competing with other

goods and services under these conditions.

151 If such an Incurable “urban psychosis" should de­ velop, the group would slowly dwindle away*

Extreme individ­

ualism of this sort cannot defy nature’s struggle for ex­ istence.

If parents should insist on individual happiness

minus the joys of parenthood, Hature would find (as she does in part at present) such human beings unfit to survive and v/ould proceed to replace them by other forms of life which do not place such exhorbitant demands upon their habitat. The problem of survival has two aspects: technical, and (e) the evaluational*

(l) the

Humans must not only

be able to control their environment In order to survive$ they must also possess a value system compatible with the conditions of life. be eliminated.

If either is lacking, the species will

Tfodern science, for instance, merely pro­

vides the possibilities for a greater "margin of error," without the imposition of the extreme penalty for mistaken value judgments# If human beings are to survive, there must be suf­ ficient numbers of them able and willing to maintain the species.

The new means for restricting population size

must be used In such a manner as not to negate human sur­ vival, if this value is of sufficient importance to warrant the devotion of economic resources to its attainment. implications of modern birth control are profound. writer says:


As one

"The recent discovery of effective moans of

153 contraception, on© of the few great human discoveries, is now throwing the world into new disorder, which will doubtless continue for some centuries and result in racial and social readjustments as profound as those produced by the 29 discovery of fire or the development of language

29 ®t B* neuter, handbook of Sociology# page 71#

CHAPTER VI POPULATION PRF-SSTJRP AND SI'/F OP POPULATION: the role of irmmi migration Human migration refers to those spatial movements whereby people, Individually or collectively, change their place of abode.

It is a process by which people relinquish

one habitat in order to live in another; as such, It in­ volves uprooting, spatial movement, apd resettlement.


begins with the severance of those bonds or connections representing adjustments to one habitat and it ends with the establishment of a new set of bonds or connections re­ presenting adjustment to a new habitat* Obviously not all spatial movement of peoples is migration, in the sense just indicated.

Movements of var­

ious sorts occur that do not Involve change of abode and 1 the working out of a life adjustment to a new habitat. Migration, or movement, is closely associated


with and.-dependent upon mobility but is not to be, for that reason, confused with It*

Mobility refers to the capacity

for free movement, the quality of being movable.

It In­

volves both a physical and a psychological condition.


change in the technology of transportation is likely to j . Some writers refer to spatial movement without a change of ecological position as "fluid!ty." See R. P. ’.'cKensie, "The Scope of Human Ecology," The Urban Community (edited by E. V*. Burgess), pp. 167-182. Web"fe"~and Brown say: "Migration is the purposeful and socially necessary type of mobility which has stability as its immediate object," See graftt Families, Works Progress Administration, Research Monograph xV?fl, page XXV.

154 affect the ability of individuals or groups to move at greater speed over wider areas

and perhaps at less cost*

Any change which weakens or dissolves 0100*3 habitual attach­ ment to his habitat at once frees him for movement and 2 makes him psychologically ready for movement# Improvements in the technology of transportation widen the area of con­ tact and communication and, even without actual migration, result In expanded spatial horizons.

They make possible a

wider range of choice in the selection of a habitat In which to dwell* Population pressure, by making people dissatisfied with their present habitat, results in a readiness to move* A corollary of this is that the greater the pressure of pop­ ulation, the greater the readiness to move (the more excited and restless the population becomes)#

Mobility Is, then, in

great part, produced by population pressure, which serves to make people unadjusted, to uproot them, to make them psychol­ ogically ready for movement. When the ability to move is thus associated with readiness to move, the expectation of enhancing one*8 com­ petitive position by changing habitats results in migration# g------------------------------------------------------------

The usage which distinguishes mobility from movement, by making mobility the quality of being movable and thus a precondition to movement, is not prevalent but, nevertheless, suggestive and useful# C# W# Hart suggested this distinction In a seminar discussion* See R* S* Park, "Human Migration and the Marginal Wan,” American Journal of Sociology* S3* 881-893 (May 1928), for a good discussion of the relation of freedom to migration* Pltirira Sorokin makes mobility and movement practically synonymous* See his article on "Social Mobility" in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences; also his book, Social M o b i l j t y 'pasaTm*


155 In other words, mobility la translated into migration whenever people see

the opportunity of closing the gap, in whole

or in part, between their scale of living and their standard of living by changing their spatial position, i. e. their habitat* This conception of the causes of migration implies both "push" and "pull," or, rather, two sets of forces: (1) one set of forces tends to produce the evacuation of the habitat already occupied; and (8) one set of forces at­ tracts the prospective migrant toward an alternative habi5 tat* Before migration actually takes place, there normally occurs a period in which the relative opportunities offered by the present and the anticipated habitats are compared* If the balance la on the side of the anticipated habitat, the person or group migrates unless prevented by external barriers*

Migration has always these two aspects; both the

pushes and the pulls must be in operation if it is to occur* It is conceivable, of course, that migration may take place in the absence of known alternative opportunities: when competition reaches the brute level of a mere struggle $------------------------------------------------------------

This idea, of "push” and "pull" is discussed by C# is* Lively and Conrad Tseuber in Rural Migration in the United States* Works Progress AdminXsferation, Research Mono­ graph XIX, pp* 78-80. Webb and Brown, o£. cit., page XXI, say: "At first glance it may seem impossible to reduce the causes of so complex an action as migration to simple terms for analysis. The complexity of the descriptions, however, is reduced by the fact that reasons for migration are com­ posed of two complementary factors: the reason for leav­ ing one specific place and the reason for selecting another specific place as destination."


156 for continued existence, because the previous supporting capacity of an area has disappeared, people may forsake that area for a blind adventure into the unknown areas. Often, in desperation, such movements do take place because some people would rather starve on the move than just give in to circumstance.

The risks being groat in either case, 4 they stake their chances on the great adventure. It is

perhaps true, however, that even in such cases, where no knowledge of alternative habitats is available, some ad* ventitious circumstance precipitates actual movement and gives it direction* 1


Primitive migrations and ancient migrations, in contrast to modern migrations, were predominantly of this type, and were usually collective rather than individual affairs, because the powers of locomotion were relatively weak, the knowledge of the outside world was relatively meager, and the dangers were relatively great* Migration, in antiquity, was really a venture into terra incognita. See the article on Migrations" by Roland B, Dixon, houls Halphen, and Imre Ferencs! in the Encyclopedia of the Social sciences* In this section the supposed "wanderlust" is disre­ garded* There seemingly is no such original desire in the human animal; hence, any such overpowering wish must be an accommodation to movement itself, instigated by other forces* Consequently it is rare and relatively Insi0nificant* For a discussion of it, see Ragnar ffumelin. The Wan­ dering Spirits A Studjf of Human Migration; hela Anderson, ¥he Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man, and Men on the Move, page also \\ebb and Brown, op* cit,, page XXV* A somewhat different phenomenon Is found in the mi­ gratory-casual worker for whom migration Is an established way of making a living; this type of individual "travels regularly over a relatively large area and Is dependent for a living on work that is distinctly seasonal or Inter­ mittent*" See John H* Webb, The Migratory-Caaual Worker, Works Progress Admini a tra ti on7 So search Monograph VII, pp. XV - XIX*

±57 From the foregoing analysis it appears, then, that migration is a way of competing, a means for removing the discrepancy "between the scale of living ana the stand* 5 ard of living, Where no such discrepancies exist there are no potential migrants} the population is immobile, may develop, however, in either of two ways*


(1) through a

decline in the scale of living; or (2) through a rise in the standard of living*

Of course, both changes may occur

together and thereby give accentuated impetus to the development of a condition.of mobility, A decline in the scale of living occurs in econ­ omies that are retrogressing because of depleted natural resources, excessive consumption of capital, economic "de­ pression," etc,

The present so-called "dust bowl migration*

from the Great Plains of the United States is a case in point,

A rise in the standard of living occurs As an area

is touched by the forces of an expanding civilisation*


case in point'here is that of Japan following tho establish* ment of trade relations with the Western World,

The terri­

torial spread of Western Civilization has everywhere created 5--------------------------------------------------------- —

See Warren S, Thompson, Research Memorandum on In- u ternal Migration in the Depression, Social Science Research Counc 11 "culietin Tfo, £6/"page T, He says: Migration is a process of social osmosis. It is one of the means which man ha3 always usod to establish a more satisfactory rela­ tion between his wants and his fulfillment of them. It is an attempt to dqualize as best he can what he feels to be the unequal pressure of environment on Individuals and groups,"

much population pressure and consequent mobility in the *culturally imdevclopod areas” by raising their stcmdcrds of living to a lov^l "early equal to that of Europe and America.

These areas have ’become- great sources, actual and

potential, of intercontinental migration.

The potential

migration has greatly exceeded the actual because of the existence of strong impediments, especially the national restrictions or immigration established by the potential receiving areas. When the statement is made, however, that every person who has a discrepancy between his scale of living and his standard of living Is a potential migrant, it must not be inferred that be will move if the money income ob­ tainable elsewhere is greater than the money income he is

6 receiving in. the area in which he is located.

It must be

kept in mind that the determining factor is a matter of real income; also, it must be reme Ybered that part of the real income of every individual or family consists of goods or services, especially-the lattor, not for sale ”on the market,” or, at least, not in the usual sense of that term. 1 'n ~iri ' ’ 1 "1 Lively and Taeuber seemingly agree. They say, "The evaluation of relative opportunities i3 essentially a sub­ jective matter, and.no arbitrary evaluation of opportunities or desirable levels of living is likely to meet with wide­ spread acceptance.” The controlling element in the decision whether to move or not may not be the objective reality; rather it may be the individual^ subjective evaluation of the various alternatives wbioli he is considering.”, op. cit., pp# 79-80, 6









159 Part of everyone^ real income consists of psychic income, things isnme terial and Intangible which ,rrey be ^ure or less indigenous to an area and not fouuri elsewhere#

They may

/ »

be sucl? things as the local scenery, climate, intimate / association, or the security and domestic tranquility of a i rural area. Inasmuch as th©:?c values are scarce (limited / /

to, $ particular area and not available elsewhere), they en! >I i^r.into the balancing of alternative opportunities when de­ cisions are made relative to spatial relocation, even though /

//they do not usually enter the pecuniary calculus of the ■'!

j \ market place* 4 /

These factors are Integral parts of both the

..scale of living and the standard of living and, hence, 7 ypartially determine all deels.lore relative to migration* With the we qualifications, It may be said that migrations occur in response to differential* in economic 8 opportunity* These differentials are variations in the

«r~i Many persons would rather call these "sentimental barriers to migration," thlnhing primarily In terms of the pricing system and its ability to compare the gains to be obtained through migration. This might simplify the pro­ blem in one way (in the sense of getting a theory that la operating with measurable factors) but It complicates it in another, because it misinterprets the social-psychol­ ogical processes involved* Some investigators go so far as to Impose their value judgments upon the problem of migration and deride the sentiments which prevent people from becoming "economic men*" This Is even worse because it distorts the entire question* It condemns rather than understands or explains* it is an example of the "pecuniary psychosis*"

8 See Lorothy S* Thomas, Research Memorandum on Mi­ gration Differentials, Social Science Research Council Bulletin, lio* 43, pp* 141-159*

scale of living obtainable In the various areas; they exist or appear because economic resources are Inequitably distributed over the face of the earth#

The relative

scarcity of labor In one such area produces a relatively greater demand for population in that area; this greater relative demand is reflected in the earnings of labor and produces discernible differentials in economic opportunity# These differentials then become attractions and the area with the higher scale of living tends to receive population 9 from the areas with the lower scales of living# The relative economic opportunities which deter­ mine the direction and rate of flow of migratory movements are matters of the proportionality of the factors of pro­ ductions

land, labor, and capital#

Land is relatively

fixed and Immobile, whereas labor and capital are not# Hence, spatial movements of labor and capital occur so as to transfer these factors from those areas in which they are relatively abundant to those areas where they are relatively scarce#

Such movements continue until the rel­

ative proportions of the factors are the same in all of the W

"This unequal distribution of economic opportunity has always been the chief cause of migration. It is true that most men were long ignorant of, and many men a till imperfectly aware of, Informed of, the existence of greater opportunity elsewhere. But given knowledge of the situa­ tion, and the overcoming of certain inertia due to tradi­ tion and other cultural factors, men seek higher levels of economic well-being, almost as surely as water seeks a lower geographical level, Moreover, such a tendency v;e call ’n a t u r a l * D o n a l d Taft, Human Migration: A Study of International Movements, pp# 555-556# SeeCareer Goodr F c h a n d others, Migration and Planes of Living; also, Migration and Economic 6pporiuuirty, pp, 50*7-505.

interconnected areas, as manifested by the fact that areal differentials in the scale of living disappear#

When this

10 state of affairs is realized, migration ceases# Such an equilibrium condition, if ever fully at­ tained, rarely remains undisturbed for any length of time. It may be disturbed by (1) differential rates of reproduc­ tion in the various Interconnected populations; and (2) dif­ ferential rates of change in the economic resources of the areas— that is, in (a) the accumulation of capital, or (b) the exploitation of natural resources*

If one popula­

tion remains stable while the others either increase or decrease, or If one population either increases or decreases more slowly or more rapidly than the others, the sptalal distribution of people (that is, labor) would again be in a state of imbalance, the economic resources other than labor remaining unchanged.

Discrepancies in the scales of living

of the interrelated areas would again appear, with the areas now having a relative abundance of labor as a result of differential rates of change, experiencing relatively lew scales of living and again becoming sources of emigration to the other areas.

These new migratory flows, In turn,

ID Dell and Luthringer. Populationt ftesources# and Trade, pp. 3-19* Foreign trade and capital movements op­ erate as surrogates for the imrcbility of natural resources along with migration. The three In combination, when op­ erating freely, serve to maintain the same proportionality of economic resources in all Interconnected areas and, thereby, operate to maintain an equal distribution of economic opportunity in space.

162 would continue until the discrepancies w ere removed and

11 equilibrium was restored* Migration* however, does not always flow so nicely as to maintain such a state of equilibrium, even when suf-

12 ficlent time is given for the expected results to occur. This disjunction between the general theory and observed facts necessitates some subsidiary postulates*

It nec­

essitates a more comprehensive statement of the conditions under which migration would occur, as stated above, and under what conditions it would not* Underlying the theory as Just stated is the basic assumption of complete or "perfect” mobility, of ability and readiness to move in response to an opportunity for im­ proving one’s competitive position.

However, In actuality,

perfect mobility is never attained; it is only approximated* Perfect mobility would rest upon ~* c 21 organization. Such improver'nts arn adopted been: s'* they reduce production costs and Increase the scale of living* Hence, they reduce the intensity of the competitive struggle by diminishing the discrepancy between scales of living and living-standards* In other words, an expansion of economic resources in an area (resulting from the discovery of new natural re­ sources, the invention of new production techniques, or a combination of the two) changes the economic situation of that area from one of "closed resources" (or decreasing returns) to one of "open resources" (or increasing returns). The now scarcity of labor in this area results in a rising wage level which, in turn, servos to attract mi g r a n t s from other areas having " d o cod resources ,11 ov li.v;or v/p.je rates* The influx of population into the economically expanding area allows it to raise its scale of living by exploiting the new resources* The outflow of migrants from the m ------------------------------------------------------Such a spatial rearrangement of the labor supply ^ seems to be the function that rural-urban migration has performed* The Industrial Revolution created the modern city and necessitated a redistribution of population. • If pefcple were to enjoy the rising scale of living possible with the new techniques of production the labor s u p p l y had to be concentrated, in part, at the points where the new goods and services were to be produced, namely, in the cities. See W. S. Thompson, Population Problems, 1955, pp, 299-315; also Our Cities, pp. V - Vlil*

173 economically stable (or declining) areas allows them to raise their scale of living, by bringing the size of popula­ tion closer to the optimum point*

This all aroi^rd increase

in scales of living selves, therefore, to reduce the gen­ eral Incidence of population pressure and not merely to re­ duce it in some areas by intensifying it in others* In the long run, however, this reduction in pop­ ulation pressure may prove mainly temporary.

If the pos­

sibilities of birth control are very limited, practically all the new productivity will go into the maintenance of a larger population,

Under these conditions, the intensity

of the competitive struggle may be reduced only slightly, when sufficient time la allowed for population to catch up* If, as is very probable, a rising standard of living fol­ lows as part of the process of cultural expansion, and if potential parents are unable to translate completely their new standard into a changed supply curve of population, then the reduction of population pressure will prove to be short-lived or pressure of population actually may be in­ creased,

Stated somewhat differently, increased economic

opportunity, and the consequent spatial redistribution of population, result In a permanent reduction of population pressure only when reproduction Is so controlled as to al­ low for a rising scale of living rather than a more increase in size of population*

174 As was pointed out in the preceding chapter, migration is a secondary phenomenon, reproduction is the basic process of the two*

In the long run, total popula- ,

tion size, for all interconnected ecological areas, is a y

matter of the balance of births and deaths, of the demand

22 for and the supply of population#

Migration serves to

increase population size only when it makes possible a more efficient use of economic resources and, thereby, re­ sults in an increased demanu for population, without a correlative offsetting Increase in the standard of living 23 and its consequent decrease in the supply of population* „



Francis Walker was one of the first persons to realize that migration was not an important factor in the determination of population size* He claimed that the also of the population of the United States would be relatively unaffected, in the long run, by the volume of immigration* However, he was much misunderstood and severely criticized* See his Economics and Statistics, Vol* II, pp. 421-426. The general conclusion that the volume of migration makes no appreciable difference in population size is not contradicted by a situation where migrants with a relative­ ly low standard of living invade an area inhabited by a group possessing a relatively hi$i standard of living. Although it might be assumed that these contrasting stand­ ards would result In a higher birth rate and a higher rate of natural increase on the part of the immigrants, ana that eventually these differential rates of increase would lead to the replacement of the native population by the immigrant population (with the lower standard of the immigrants sup­ planting the higher standard of the natives, and population pressure being reduced thereby), such an assiwiption seems unwarranted, immigrants who are culturally inferior are rather completely and rather quickly assimilated into the cultural pattern of the area thay invade* The process of assimilation is relatively rapid as compared to toe pro­ cess of population succession operating ever a series of generations* When assimilated, Immigrants are culturally

indistinguishable from the native population. Through assimilation immigrants acquire the econo™?c technology of the natives, as well as the native standard of living and the native birth control practices. Tinder these conditions the demand for population and the supply of population re­ main unchanged. Kence, the size of population and the pres sure of population are relatively unaffected. Ilany students of population assume qualitative differ­ ences in population stocic ©nl assert that t.'-.es? differences operate as powerful barriers to assimilation, howovor, this assumntion is not in accord with modern ‘resecret find­ ings on the racial distribution of intelligence; see W « I. Thomas, Pr 1mltive Behav?or, pp. 770-BOO. But even if true, this assumption would not^invalidate the conclusion reached above. Lower abilities to assimilate culture would result in (l) lower technical efficiency and (2) a lower standard of living; the gap between the scale of living and the standard of living would probably be as great and the pres­ sure of population the same. Likewise, the supply 0f pop­ ulation would be greater, but the demand for population would be smaller; hence, the size of the copulation would be virtually identical. 23 Migration seems to have performed this role in the terrific outburst of European population after 1650# World population has grown over four hundred percent since 1650; the Btaropeans, however, have increased approximately six hundred percent since that date. For a discussion of the relation of migration to world population growth since the seventeenth century, see Walter Willcox, International Migrations, Vol. II, pp# 29-82; also F, B. Reuter, Popula­ tion ^rofejems , pp. 26-48.

176 CHAPTER VII SIT-T "AHY ALir COIICLITSICKS There is a long-standing interest in matters of population#

This interest has three aspects:

(1) the

practical, (2) the statistical, and (3) the scientific# Students of population tend to pursue one of these particular interests to the exclusion of the other two; and, hence, they tend to fall into three rather distinct groups# The first group of students is interested in the control of population processes in order to maximize social welfare#

The members of this group wish to formulate pop­

ulation policies defining the most desirable type of popula­ tion and specifying the techniques to be used for attaining such a population* The second group is Interested in the statistical measurement and exact description of particular human pop­ ulations.

The members of this group attempt to characterize

concrete populations statically, dynamically, and comparative­ ly. The third group is Interested In understanding and explaining the typical population processes (changes in size, composition,' and distribution), their nature, causes, and consequences#

The members of this group attempt to

formulate generalizations describing the abstracted con­ ditions under which the pooi;laticn processes emerge, as

177 well as the conditions determining their directions and their repercussions upon social organisation* All three approaches are closely interrelated and highly interdependent*

However, at the present time the

pursuit of each is being carried on more or less independent­ ly.

Consequently each approach is impeded and somewhat at a


The approach which is most laggard is the sci­

entific approach.

The imperative nedd at present is for

further advance in population theory; advance in the other two, especially in the practical or administrative approach, awaits further progress in the science of population. This study constitutes an attempt to meet this need.

It has involved an endeavor to formulate a set of

definitions and principles and to erect then into a frame of reference capable of explaining population phenomena. The scientific study of population antedates ’.falthua, but was given considerable impetus by him*

Since the time of

Mai thus, population theory has taken some notice of the phe­ nomena of population pressure.

However, the nature of these

phenomena has never been adequately ascertained nor fully related to the processes of population.

To begin with,

population pressure was thought to be a simple man-land ratio, a mere function of population density.

Later, it

was considered to be inversely correlated with the scale of living, but dependent upon the scale of living alone*


cently, it has come to be associated with the relation be­ tween the scale of living and the standard of llvin0 .

178 However* this relation has remained vague end unrelated to the full range of population phenomena. This dissertation is founded on the premise that the developmental trend running through the history of pop­ ulation theory, if properly facilitated toy logical inference and empirical research, holds out enormous possibilities for further progress in the scientific approach*

An attempt is

made on the basis of this assumption to erect a logically coherent system of ideas capable of assimilating and ex-* plaining the facts of population. The hypotheses and the arguments in support of them which have been presented in this dissertation may now be recapitulated as follows: 1*

Population pressure was defined as the intensity

of the competitive struggle going on within any given popula­ tion.

It refers to the amount of human energy consumed toy

competition* 2*

Population pressure emerges when a discrepancy

appears between a group’s scale of living and Its standard of living; and the degree of pressure varies directly with the size of this discrepancy.

Scale of living was defined

as the average actual flow of goods end services produced and consumed by any given population.

Standard of living

was defined as the average flow of goods and services to which the members of any given population aspire.


first is a level of achievement; the second is a level of

179 aspiration. 3*

Both Include children as goods* Population pressure initiates processes lead­

ing to its annihilation; it tends to be self-destructive. Competition is a way of closing the gap between one*s scale of living and his standard of living.

The processes

which bring the scale and the standard into a state of co­ incidence are of two general types *

(a) thoss that result

in upward movements of the scale of living; and (b) those that result in downward movements of the standard of living. 4.

Among the processes operating to reduce pop­

ulation pressure are, more specifically, the population processes.

Changes in population 3i?,e, composition, and

distribution tend to bring the scale and the standard into a state of congruence.

These population movements in turn

are produced by changes in reproduction, migration, or by some combination of reproduction and migration. 5, ever %

Group control over reproduction occurs when­

(a) knowledge concerning the nature of reproduction,

its causes and consequences, is at hand; (b) effective tech­ niques for regulating reproduction are possessed; and (cj a discrepancy between scale of living and standard of living exists*

Under these conditions, a group tends so to

distribute its powers of production and reproduction as to obtain that balance of offspring and other consumption


and services which most nearly removes the discrepancy be­ tween its scale and its standard.

180 6*

Migration, with or without a change in oc­

cupation, is likewise a way of competing, a way of closing the gap between scale and standard*

±t operates so to re­

distribute population in space as to £ive the r.cst productive combination of economic resources (land, labor, ana capital) or

toequalize the incidence of population pressure* 7*

Whenever the possibilities of relieving the

pressure of population through raising the scale of living are nonexistent or ineffective, equilibrium tends to be achieved through a lowering of the level of aspiration, the standard of living*

3!his adjustment may be accomplished

through a process of rationalization, through the develop* ment of a philosophy of life, "escapist" or "other-worldly," which accommodates individuals and groups to objective real­ ities beyond their control* 8*

Finally, every human group is in the process

of reaching a state of equilibrium where the scale and standard coincide but in actual historical circumstances the process usually fails to produce such a perfect equilib­ rium because (a) the conditions of life are dynamic and be­ cause (b) impediments exist which interf ere with the opera­ tion of the specific processes serving to produce equilib­ rium.

When the conditions of life change, a new adjustment

is.required and competition is perpetuated*

181 This general theory seems to he (1) logically coherent and (2 ) in accord with existing research data* These two substantiating features give the theory an ap­ pearance of validity. Its logical coherence is evidenced by the fact that the subsidiary laws or principles concerning the popula­ tion processes, especially those concerning size and growth of copulation, can be readily assimilated into the framework provided by the general principle placed at the core of the theory and serving to integrate it:

the concept of popula­

tion pressure defined as the intensity of the competitive struggle, existing because of a discrepancy between scale and standard of living, and varying directly with the size of this discrepancy. Its seeming ability to assimilate the findings of population

research gives the theory added plausibility*

^ven though the historical date on population are more or less unique and Incomplete, they nevertheless conform to the general pattern of the theory expounded in this study* However, this ability goes beyond the mere assimilation of population research data, for the theory accords with all findings In the general fields of economics and scciclogy* Tn fact, many of the concrete facts cor.csmir,

econoiic and

social behavior can be much better related and understood when this theory Is utilized for si:ch. purposes.

In addi­

tion, this theory seems to provide fertile suggestions for

183 future research and, ultimately, for the establishment of workable, rational public policies relative to control over the population processes. The theory, however, is far from being completely developed one* ft*r from being completely demonstrated#


of it need additional elaboration, clarification, p.rd veri­ fication.

Many .jans still exist la it sad call for further

constructive effort.

Moreover, the theory needs more ade­

quate testing with reference to the concrete findings of population research.

Ko systematic attempt v/aa made in this

study to match the various concrete research studies with the specific part3 of the theory#

A large number of such

studies were canvassed, analysed, and related In a general way during the period when the theory was taking shape, but in this dissertation their relation to the theory was rele­ gated, principally, to footnotes.

A more systematic check­

ing of the theory with the fact3 would constitute the logi­ cal next step.

However, many parts of the theory cannot be

amply verified by the findings of pr5or research, even though such an attempt were made carefully, s^stemeticully, and exhaustively.

Specific research stucieg, oriented in

terms of this theory particularly, nee:1 to be r.ot up and carried through in order to test More adequately the explan­ atory abilities of the position just developed. Among the gaps in the present formulation of the

183 theory the following are the more Important ones:

(1) the

absence of clear and definite knowledge concerning.the structure of a standard of living and concerning the processes by means of which it is formed and changed, especially concerning the conditions surrounding and Influencing the interaction of the scale and the standard; (2) the absence of clear and definite knowledge concerning the operation of the alternative processes whereby the scale is raised and equilibrium achieved, especially concerning the conditions under which various combinations

these processes occur;

(3) the absence of clear and definite knowledge concerning the relation between the rtandard of living and the supply of children, especially concerning the ways in which chil­ dren compote with other particular goods and services; and (4) the absence of clear and definite knowledge concerning the operation of the frictional factors interfering with achievement of short run equilibrium by means of migration, especially concerning the degree of population pressure necessary to the overcoming of particular resistances. Research studies could be profitably established and prosecuted In order to fill these gaps. early steps which needs to b e the concert of standard of

taken i s

One of the

that of quantilling

so tkr.t It e::n b.>: accu­

rately measured in concrete instances ana rroporly corre­ lated with the resultant forms of behavior supposedly assoc­ iated with it.

This 3 top is a ”nusttt if the theory is to

184 be completely validated and mad© sufficiently precise# Once this step has been taken, another logically follows, namely, the quantification of the demand and the supply of population#

The explanation of past growth trends

and the prediction of future growth trends await such quantification and measurement# There are two general research procedures that could be profitably utilized in this connection*

In the

first place, particular populations could be selected in which certain pronounced movements of population are occur­ ring and In which certain measurable,but changing, factors (scale of living, standard of living, etc#) are also occur­ ring*

The correlations between these two sets of variables

could be ascertained with great benefit to population theory# In the second place, two populations could be selected for comparative study with a similar purpose In mind#

A com­

parison of two populations matched with respect to all the factors except one would reveal the effects of variations in this on© faetor upon the population processes* If such studies were established and pursued, the requirements of a true science of population might be ap­ proximated#

Such studios would seemingly be the sort that

Sauer had in mind when he said? ®The science of population, which has scarce­ ly been begun, can answer questions regarding potential populations only by the most careful

work in historical geography, in the phenomena of human distributions, and areal exploitations. As yet we lack mostly the evidence for projecting population trends areally.

Carl 0# Sauer, "The Prospect for Redistribution of Population," In Limits of Land Settlement (edited. byIsaiah Bowman;, page 7'* In general, the suggestions made by V*helpton for future population research conform to those made here. However, even his pertinent suggestions would,seemingly, take on added significance if they were specifically re­ lated to the central thesis of this study. See P. K. Whelpton, Heeded Population Research#



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