Economic theories are meant to be pointers that gives healing to a sick economy. When a sick economy gears back to life after a coma, it is usually the handiwork of creative energy. It is what economics referred to as development. Historically, development is famous for taking the gradual linear progression. Most times, stumbling upon sudden wealth is cancerous to the society. In Africa, the abundance of natural resources continues to be the very reason for ceaseless backwardation.
What then is the harmony of the Malthusian school of thought and Nigeria? According to the projections of Malthus, An English economist (1766-1834), he arguably prophesied that increase in population would outgrow increase in agricultural output. In simpler terms, he is of the opinion that the number of humans on earth will one day surpass that quantity of food available.
Since it was only but an arguable prophecy with no divinity, many refuted such futuristic claim. They said Malthus was taking up an imaginary role of some unknown god. In fact, many claimed that the earth can never get saturated. To those who quickly attribute theories to faith, they said the one above will provide and so, a house of representative member marries four women and feed above a twenty-something children. The followers of science and technology also had a thing to say; improve in tech and science research will solve the depletion of food. There are perhaps other salient point as to why the Malthusian theory died a natural deadduring late twentieth century.
But our world is a dynamic one. Overtime, a lot has been improved upon and on a flip side, a lot has also retrogressed. Using Nigeria as a case study, it seems safe to say that we are breathing in the Malthus gas. Why do I say so? It simple. While our population stands strong like Anthony Joshua, our basic necessity of life (food, clothes and shelter) is bending it back against the sun like a man lost in the desert.
Of course, Nigeria’s arrival at the junction of per-capita suffering is not without a trace. In the early 1970’s, our nation substituted Mr. Crude Oil leaving agriculture on the bench. At that time, Mr. Crude oil scored for us so many great GDP goals. In ours eyes, we were sovereign but if only we knew better, we should have known that the joys of GDP goals at the neglect of agriculture only leads to suffering-thing. Many stories have been told about how we wasted our fortune under the guise of searching for a whiter elephant.
That is not the end, as time progesses, we have had newer breeds of troubles which gives credence to Malthus. On the political scene, there are too many power tussle, waves of possible succession, ethnic cleansing, and majority dominance over the lesser tribes. Somewhere in the south-south, the lands are rendered barren and the owners are forced to agitate in the most brutal manner. But the daughters of retrogression weren’t done just yet. In the north, terrorism has found a home, banditry is building it nest and crime rate soars high like the growth of an unwanted weed in a vegetable farm.
Our neighbors from the global axis have learnt too that our race read very little and so know very little. China knew that as far as we only care about what religion supersedes the other or who got the bigger loan or who seats in the Aso’s… We shall continue to be the typical specie described by Malthus.
If truth must be told. The recent killing of farmers as well as herders in many locations of our country is not a win-win for the society. If people don’t plant, they don’t get to eat. If food and meat cannot be safely transported, then hunger becomes the trade mark of the people. Surprisingly, low income earners tend to feed produce more in times of hardship. This too shall pass if there is a deliberate action.
Up next, averting the Malthus prophecy.
– Olayinka Kayode Kingsley
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