Overpopulation from Malthus to Manila

Sep 18, 2017, 05:00 AM
A baby girl was born in a hospital in the Philippines, on 30th October, 2011. However, unlike all the other children born that day, the arrival of Danica May Camacho was witnessed by a crowd of photographers and journalists. The world’s media were gathered in a hospital in Manila because this little girl was the 7 billionth person on earth. 

“Overpopulation” is a word that gets used and abused in a variety of ways. But while much of the discussion around it may seem like a relatively modern concern, especially given how quickly the world population is currently growing, as a concept overpopulation can actually be traced back to one person: Thomas Malthus.

In this episode I talk to Dr Ruth Doherty, an expert in the cultural and literary representations of overpopulation. We talk misery and vice, Dickens and Dan Brown, London and the world.