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    Population Growth in Developing Countries

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    A local reporter has called you for help with an article on population growth in developing countries. He begins the article with the fact that over a billion people in developing nations live in households that have too little land to meet even their own needs for food and fuel. He wants you to help him understand the options that are available to these people. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of each of the following options.

    Subdivide existing farms and redistribute the land so that everyone has enough to live on.
    Combine small, inefficient, farms into larger cooperative farms that people farm jointly.
    Open up new land for agriculture
    Look for work in the cities
    Emigrate to developed countries where opportunities are more readily available
    What do you think are the best options available for people in this situation?

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    Solution Preview

    It will be up to you to decide which option is the most appealing. Certainly, they all have their drawbacks, and there isn't a perfect solution. There is probably a "best" solution for each part of the world, but none of them would work everywhere.

    Subdividing the land may seem like the most "fair" solution. However, there will be a great deal of resistance to giving up property rights in most regions, making it politically infeasible. In addition, future population growth would require additional subdivisions, making it a stop gap measure at best. The second option is is the best in terms of land use, in an ideal world. However, when the government involves itself in the land redistribution, the results can be disastrous. This is the case in Kenya (see reference 1). In some parts of the world, the cultural climate might be such that everyone would work as hard on a community farm as they would on their ...

    Solution Summary

    Pros and cons of various means to address population growth in developing countries.