Thomas Malthus made the pessimistic observation in the late 1700s that the population of our species multiplies exponentially, while the amount of food increases exponentially. He hypothesized that when our numbers exceeded food supply, masses of people would starve until war, disease or some other factor reduced our numbers. Current biological theory is slightly different, saying that any species can outgrow the resources the Earth provides, but that they are constantly kept in check by predation and other ever-operating mechanisms.
Just a little more in depth on this theory, Malthus thought that humans are basically prisoners to their genetic urges to reproduce and because of this the population rate would grow exponentially. The argument against this is that reproduction is part of a social structure and not a biological inevitability. The second part to this theory is that the increase in food production to support this growing population would cause “diminishing returns”. This means that he thought they were already using the best land for agriculture, to produce more food they would have to expand farming to land that wouldn’t produce the quality and quantity of food than the land already being used. Basically, a lot of energy just to get a small output. The argument against this is that his theory was before the agriculture revolution(keep in mind this was in the early 1700’s). With new technology and genetically modified food this part of the theory is argued as wrong.
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