Thursday, September 11, 2008

Population Growth and SocioEconomic Development

Labor has ever been central to issues of production. Indeed, Marxists assert that it is the primary factor of production. Labor comes from the demographic stock, population. Recently, social scientists have again resurrected the specter of continued, if not worsening, prospects of poverty in the Philippines, in spite of projected growth of the economy. Their contention is that demographic growth will serve as stumbling block to Philippine development.

Students of Economic Planning, let me hear your views on the matter. Students of Sociology of Socio-Political Change, likewise. Please consider this as a sort of written examination. Your posts should reflect your theoretical position, as well as your empirical observations. Citations are most welcome. Due date for your posting is 5 p.m. on September 20, 2008.


W.Wei said...

Population growth in the Philippines will serve as stumbling block to Philippine development and cause poverty. However if the government can design a good policy of exporting Philippine labors and integrate the contribution of OFWs in its national macro economy, population growth, with respect to providing OFWs, can also promote economic development and reduce poverty through their huge amount of remittance.
According to “Development Prospects Group, Migration and Remittance Team” (November 29, 2007), eight millions OFW remitted a total $17 billion which made the Philippines the 4th top remittance-recipient country in the world.

The same source also shows that in 2007 that remittance flowed to developing countries reached $ 240 billion.

Remittance is the greatest contribution offered by foreign labors which improve their families and help develop the national economic development.

According to the “Report of the Global Commission on the International Migration (GCIM)”, migrant labors interrelated with development closely:

1. They play an important role in promoting development and poverty reduction in countries of origin, as well as contributing towards the prosperity of destination countries. Their contributions should be recognized and reinforced. They should become an integral part of national, regional and global strategies for economic growth, in both the developing and developed world.
2. They contribute to the development of countries of destination by filling gaps in the labor market, by providing essential skills and by bringing social, cultural and intellectual dynamism to the societies that they have joined.
3. All countries should make substantial investments in the education and training of their citizens in order to increase the competitiveness of their economies. If those economies are unable to absorb all of the people who have acquired professional skills, then such people can contribute to the development of their own homeland by migrating, sending remittances home and returning to their country of origin on a temporary or longer-term basis, bringing the knowledge they have gained while living and working abroad. Labor migration programs have a valuable role to play in realizing these positive outcomes of international mobility.

OFWs not only help economic development, they also play a major role in the bilateral relation with the destination countries. How to protect them has become an important issue for the government:

1. The government should help the OFWs to choose and migrate to the destination countries with good protection laws. For example Taiwan is one of the most favorite destination countries of the OFWs because in Taiwan the “Labor Standards Law” and its national medical insurance policy also apply to the FOWs.

2. Through diplomatic negotiations increasing the OFW’s benefit in the destination countries can be achieved such as the signing of the guidelines on OFWs’ direct hiring in the “Philippines-Taiwan 3rd Joint Labor conference” on July 24, 2008. With these guidelines, both countries can cooperate on labor issues.
3. The Philippine embassies in the destination countries should take responsibility of helping FOWs solve their problems.
4. According to Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilization”: “that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the domination source of conflict will be cultural.”
Since religion and nationality are two major factors in a culture, the government had better encourage the FOWs to migrate to countries where the inhabitants are of the same religion and ethnic race in order to avoid conflict.

leslie van c venturanza said...

Demographic growth imposes a problem only in so far as income and wealth distribution is concerned. The dilemma could be rooted from the growth of the poorer classes which is a lot faster than that of the middle and upper classes of the Philippine society. This is why a lot has been said about the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Indeed, sufficiency in the number of skilled labor in the manufacturing sector that produces goods for export is vital for economic development, notwithstanding the need for educated professionals as well.
One factor to be considered in demographics is the effect of migration, both local and international. As such, a large concentration of skilled laborers and intellectuals had come from the provinces to work in Metro Manila or in abroad in the hope of seeking greener pastures. Needless to say, they give back remittances to their families and loved ones and inculcate into their mentality that their so-called “quality of life” has improved. Such a cliché have become part of our culture. This is where underdevelopment starts to take place because income and wealth distribution becomes uneven as the countryside and outskirts are being stripped off of its educated professional and skilled labor populace. To make things worse, more and more of our human resources are opting to work abroad, while an alarming number of foreigners, both legal and illegal entrants, are putting up their businesses here, which make it harder for the locals having sufficient capital to start on their own because of stiff competition.

Giddy said...

The issue on demographic growth reminds me of Robert Malthus and his classical liberal views on population. He argued that population increases at a faster rate than food supplies due to the limited availability of fertile land. He proposed that population growth could be controlled either by positive checks such as famines, plagues and wars, or by preventive checks such as delayed marriages and moral restraint. Moreover, Malthus believed that government should not attempt to interfere with the operation of these positive checks (Clark, 1991).

Malthus’ theories on positive and preventive checks depict that of the country’s experience. In spite of ballooning population, the reproductive bill hardly is passed in the Congress due to controls of the church. The government cannot fully subsidize local food production due to ineffective agrarian programs making us highly dependent on imported goods, not to mention thousands of hectares of lands destroyed every year by natural cause. The ensuing atrocities in Mindanao have claimed many lives.

However, to be Malthusian is dreadful. This prescribes the government not to interfere with MILF activities and let them terrorize and kill people. In this case, the government should not prioritize food security as well as leave contaminated rivers unclean so there would be great risk to health of people. In other words, this will allow nature to carry out the hideous task of controlling population growth. Needless to say, this scenario is debilitating.

Malthus failed to correlate the fact that a large population is tantamount to labor advantage. He failed to identify the role of the state as key in managing labor market as a source of employment for its nationals. I believe the issue on population growth is only worrisome when labor capital is underutilized. The Philippine government should then be able to capitalize and benefit from its population. On the economic side, let us train Filipino workers and send them abroad. This translates to more remittances that salvage the economy. The challenge for the Philippines is to explore how international migration maybe a vehicle for promoting sustainable development.

donz said...

Labor, indeed is one of the driving force in turning the wheels of the country's economy. If social scientists would say that the demographic growth will be the stumbling block to Philippine development, this is because the needs of the people are not given attention. the government can say that the economy is growing, show statistics and numbers but the problem is that the trickle down effect of the economic growth could hardly be felt by the ordinary Juan dela Cruz. if this is so, how can labor be productive if the source of labor itself struggling to survive? how can we justify economic growth if this is not making an impact to the lives of the "masa" itself? the problem lies on how to connect these two together, that the needs of the population should be heeded in order to become productive labor producers.

Donna said...

In some Asian countries, labor has always been one of the major components that greatly affect the country’s economic growth and development. Philippines having an estimated population growth of 1.991% this year may still want to try trimming down the rate so as to reduce the degradation of our resources. But since Philippines may be scaled as one labor-intensive industrial and agricultural country, this is not an easy task. Population’s correspondence to production is much relevant in this case. Many experts say that the best way to get out of this dilemma is to produce jobs that would satisfy the demand of the huge labor market. Ironic as it is, but dropping population growth itself might create greater incentives to develop the social and political institutions necessary for conservation of our resources that eventually may lead to the country’s growth. If the population would decrease, what about the production concerns of the industries in our country?

In the event that the Philippines would try to promote lower population, it is likely to raise average child levels of household expenditure on health and education and thereby improve levels of child health and education. Slower population growth is likely to raise public expenditures on schooling per school aged child. By themselves, instead of having a mass of average workers there would be a change which results to a more productive labor force in the future. Today’s trend is that companies are empowering workers; they are gaining control over what they do. Hence, we produce dynamic individuals who may build a stronger foundation for the country. Good governance, increase capital income, and of course, labor productivity at optimum level; these will then lead Philippine development closer.

Alma dela Cruz said...

There are two contending views on the relationship between population and economic development: the “pessimist” and the ”optimist”. The “optimist” view believes that growth of population confers beneficial effects on economic growth in three ways: i) high growth of population raises aggregate demand for market goods and services; ii)it supplies more labor for employment and; iii) more labor means expansion of goods and services.
The “pessimist” on the other hand, argues that rapid population growth confers more harmful effects such as: i) reduction in man-land or man-resources ratios; ii) when the economy is stagnant, a rise in population will cause average standard of living to fall resulting to poverty, famine. migration, etc., which is known as the “Malthusian” population problem; iii) a rapid growth of population will increase unemployment and underemployment if labor supply is not fully absorbed ; iv) a high level of population growth rate puts further pressure on limited social capital for health, education, housing and other services; v) with inelastic food supply, a rise in demand caused by rising population may lead to inflation; vi) rapid population growth leads to high dependency ratio; vii) high population growth could contribute to pollution and environmental problems; and finally, viii) a rising population could exacerbate the inequality of income distribution.
Given the above arguments, I believed that the costs of rapid population growth could be much greater than its benefits especially in the case of the Philippines. While it is true that labor is a primary factor of production as Marxists assert, increase in labor supply per se is not a guarantee for economic growth because aggregate growth hinges on human capital investment. Human capital investment entails allocation of resources for education, training, health and many others. And our government’s capacity to finance these investments will depend on the economic growth that it will achieve. Human capital investment and growth reinforce each other in a self-sustaining manner. Hence, government’s poverty alleviation effort based on raising human capital are on the right track.
Likewise, the idea of “cumulative causation” states that rapid economic and social change resulting from economic booms lead to rapid fertility decline; rapid fertility decline in turn contributes to more rapid economic growth, thus fuelling more rapid fertility decline (Herrin, 2002).
Empirically, this thesis was supported by the stark contrast with the performance of the Philippines and the East Asian countries (Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore) in the past three decades. The Philippines is characterized by slow economic growth and slow fertility decline. On the contrary, many observers noted that the rapid fertility decline in East Asian has been a major contributing factor in its rapid economic growth (World Bank, 1993). Remarkable demographic transition, fostered by strong population policy, supported these countries’ economic dynamism. The swift decline in fertility resulted in a population structure that was favourable to increased savings rates, higher investment in both physical and human capital, and early achievement of full employment. This is referred to in the literature as the “demographic bonus” (Herrin and Pernia, 2006).
These conditions are sorely lacking in the Philippine scenario. While we are well endowed with human capital, the best and the brightest have chosen to go abroad and never to return because of the lack of opportunity in the domestic economy.
It is clear from above that rapid population growth is already taking its toll on our economic development. Government intervention in population management is warranted. I therefore support a strong commitment to a sound population policy and clear demographic goals (as shown by China’s “one child policy”; Singapore’s advocacy of “small family norm” ; Thailand’s organized efforts to provide contraceptive method and India’s male sterilization program). The Philippine government must have a stable consensus in its population policy and support population programs such as family planning and reproductive health. A firm and sustained commitment to reduce fertility rate and population growth will help us earn our “demographic bonus” which will eventually redound to poverty alleviation in the long run.

Maria Luisa said...

Malthusian Population Theory named after English economist the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), who believed that population would increase at a geometric rate and the food supply at an arithmetic rate. This disharmony would lead to widespread poverty and starvation which would only be checked by natural occurrences such as disease, high infant mortality, famine, war or moral restraint.
Two hundred years have now passed since the prophetic Malthus set forth his proposition. So far, while problematic in parts of the world, we are yet OK. Malthus did not foresee the scientific advances that affected both of the two parts of his proposition. World population had grown slowly until the industrial revolution, when, advances in sanitation, technology, and food distribution brought declining death rates. It is true, however, unlike its industrialized parts, non-industrialized parts of our world today are experiencing high birth rates and decreasing death rates. Birth control, with absolutely no thanks to the Catholic church, has, particularly in the world's industrialized parts, contributed to a decrease in the rate of growth of the total world population. The population problem may yet be beaten. The goal has to be zero population growth; and, many demographers foresee that this goal might be achieved within the next 100 years. While the predictions of the experts vary widely as to if and when we will be able to get our population levels under control, most agree that unforeseeable events make forecasts based on current trends highly suspect.
Population not root cause of Philippines’ woes according to Ambassador Jose V. Romero, Ph.D., University Of Asia And The Pacific.
Projected population growth rate in the coming decades is estimated by official quarters at 1.9 percent. This is only consonant with the downward trend, from the postwar 3.6 percent to the 2.3 percent today. In brief, population growth is not exploding, it is in fact decelerating. This level of population growth—the (immediate past) has been accompanied by higher economic growth rates—e.g., 7.3 percent last year, the highest
Philippine population translated into the “explosion” in labor exports has been the highest contributor to the growth of the economy. In fact, were it not for its contribution of approximately P500 billion yearly—an amount equal to about 50 percent of the national budget—our economy would most probably be in dire straits, given the lackadaisical performance of the manufacturing and agriculture sectors which cannot even provide enough food for the country.
Heavily populated countries—China, India, Brazil, Vietnam—are also the fastest-growing economies in the world today.
Among economists, the jury is still out with regard to the impact of population on development. While there are the Malthusians (prophets of doom in the profession), there are also those who see a big population that matches the natural resource endowments of a country as the driver of development.
Today there is still talk that the Philippines, after going through a challenging period of fast population growth amid slow economic growth, is actually benefiting from what economists call the “demographic dividend” where a bigger labor force (as we see in China, India, etc. today), when matched with its abundant natural resource, can actually catapult this country to greater economic heights.
Philippine poverty is rooted in graft and corruption, government ineptitude and undeveloped natural resources. It is also traceable to a closed economy run by monopolists and oligopolists in a regime of imperfect competition where the rich get richer and the poor poorer.
In conclusion population growth matters in the economic performance and poverty of nations. High population growth is not the sole culprit to the dismal performance of the Philippine economy during the last 25 years, but it is a key factor. The Philippines need for a clear population policy backed by strong government support.

adda said...

The interest in the relationship between population and the economic status of the country has been reignited due to the issue of the demographic growth, affected by the global food price increase and current oil crisis, to expound to that.
There are three contending vies on the demographic debate according to an article by Mong Palatino. One view is from the population pessimists as it affects all the indicators of human development: health, education, shelter, food security and employment. Increase in population divides more than what is really allotted for the people. While the population optimists think that population is the ultimate resource. They view that high population growth creates future opportunities; the country will have more entrepreneurs and innovators. The last view, which is from the population revisionists, tackle that demographic growth's effects depend on time, place and circumstances of the country and there can be no specific outcome for any increase in population. Partly, each view's contentions may be applied. A country's population can be the driving force of an economic growth, as long as the country can sustain the population's well-being. The issue here is not the increase in population per se, but the capacity of the Philippine government to support and sustain the needs of its people for them to maximize their capacities. One may not pinpoint the specific reason why demographic growth in the Philippines hinders its economic growth, it is a vicious cycle of events, affected by illiteracy, that people cannot contribute enough for the development of the economy that leads to unemployment and poverty; uncontrolled population growth, people are weighing between the opposing views on the moral (religious) and practical methods; urban migration, not enough opportunities in the rural areas because resources are often monopolized by the oligarchs and multinational companies; and corruption, officials that should stand as the protector of the national interest only patronizes theirs. Without corrective action to rebalance demographic growth against limited resources, prospects are complicated for moving out of poverty.

amr said...

The issue of the burgeoning population is indeed a problem that can greatly affect the rate of development of the Philippine Economy. However the country’s position seems to be still in a bright position but it is clearly in need of improvements. For one the Philippine population growth rate ought to be managed into levels that can readily be accommodated by the country and the world economy. It is evident that the problem can only be remedied by massive state initiatives that can cast down the shadows of massive unemployment and poverty. The state must fully implement birth control measures and override the hold on the Catholic Church on moral integrity. Only in this way that the state can manage the dilemma of overpopulation. Realistically speaking though, it is very apparent that the current administration continues cling to the cuddles of the strong civil society forces i.e the Church. It is therefore imperative that the state lead development ought to be lead by an administration that has strong political will to implement policies such as birth control measures. Philippine development is much dependent to the political capacity of the state to address concerns that greatly affects the rate of growth and the growth can only be managed if the will is fully focused on addressing the problems that plagues the development path of the nations.

Martin Defensor Jr. said...

Demographic Growth indeed plays a major role in a country's economy. It will adversely affect a country's economy if the increase in the demography will not be checked and utilized in a productive manner. But in a country like the Philippines, the growth of our demography has been an advantage to our economy. Our country is rich not only in natural resources but more so in human resources. We have millions of skilled laborers available and ready to work abroad. For years these skilled workers have contributed immensely in our economy through their remittances. The need for skilled workers has been expanding through the years because of the shortage of manpower in other countries. Our country had been exploiting this need by filling the gap in their shortage of manpower, in effect mutually benefiting both
our economy.

With this benefit in our economy however, I still prefer that the demographic growth of our country should be controlled in a most minimum possible level. Life in a sparsely populated countries are definitely far better than the densely populated ones. The Philippines is a small country with less than 298k sq./km of habitable area and a population of 95 million plus mostly living in the urban area. This make us a densely populated country. I personally would like to live in a place with ample space, clean water and fresh air and most of all - peaceful and quiet. Sadly, these are the things that I cannot find anymore in the Philippines.

Jachin Constans G. Concepcion said...

Good Day,
The age of globalization has truly begun and the labor issue is a continuous part of it. But first, we must go back to the roots of the problem concerning labor and for me education is one of the major issues. The government is helping in providing free basic education for the youth but when it comes to higher education, there is an issue. Yes, there are state universities and colleges providing higher education for the less fortunate youths of the country but still many can’t afford to go to college because of poverty. The government should address the issue for free higher education for all less fortunate youths of our country to become competitive in this growing economy.
Another issue is that there are many courses offered in the different universities and colleges all over the country but not all courses offered are those which are in demand for production. As stated in the study done by Hyun H. Son an economist for the Asian Development Bank entitled “Labor Mismatch slows Philippines’ economic growth”:
-Schools in the Philippines are providing the wrong kind of skills for its labor market needs, which is hurting economic growth.
-There were too many highly educated people chasing too few jobs.
-These with higher education have crowded out the less educated in terms of job opportunities.
-With higher education being an “important determinant of employment” in the Philippine market, “low-productivity jobs are taken over by the more educated labor force”, which in turn has “lowered the price for skilled labor over the period.”
-From a policy perspective, going beyond universal coverage in education is imperative because what is required is an expansion of the supply of the right kind of skills.”

All these concerns regarding free education and mismatch when addressed by our government will enable us to become more competitive with our neighbouring countries in terms of labor productivity. And I’m confident that our government will focus on these issues and formulate policies that will answer all these problems about education and in the end will meet the demand for labor and the economic development of the Philippines.

weng said...

Labor supply depends on population, for without workers, there can be no production and without which there can be no progress. Hence, the relation between population and economic development is therefore a potential important factor in the developing countries’ future. (Claus Chr. Portner, June 1996)

Over the years, attempts were made to establish the significant relationship between economic growth and population increase. In fact, it has spawned endless debates amongst economist throughout the world. Some believe that the upsurge in population help a nation’s economy by stimulating economic development while others support the theory of Robert Malthus who said that population increase is detrimental to a nation’s economy.

According to Malthus, population growth places a tremendous pressure on natural resources, which result in a chain reaction of problems as the nation grows. Also, advocates of the Malthusian theory argue that an increase in the number of people leads to an increase of mouths to feed. The increase in demand for food leads to a decrease in natural resources, which are imperative for the survival of the nation. They also adhere to the idea that one of the adverse effects of a booming population is poverty caused by low income per capita, famine and disease.

In one of his papers, well-known economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote that “Countries with high rates of population growth have a hard time increasing incomes (per capita), and thus face a greater prospect of increasing poverty”, adding that due to large population, “those with large families not only have a hard time feeding their children (and childhood malnutrition has lifelong effects), but they cannot afford to educate them, thereby condemning another generation to poverty and suffering.”

On the other hand, economists advocating the positive side of population growth admit that in the short run, it will constitute a number of problems, including famine, poverty and unemployment. Yet, they also claim that in the long run, it leads to new developments through advancement in technology, that leave countries better off than if the problems never occurred. This theory is maintained by supporters of the neo-classical growth model which provides that population is beneficial to an economy due to the fact that it is correlated to technological advancement.

Rising population promotes the need for some sort of technological change in order to meet the increasing demands for certain goods and services. With a bigger populace, economies are blessed with a large labor force, making it cheaper as well, due to its immense availability. An increase in labor availability and a low cost for labor increases employment rate as businesses are more inclined to cheap labor, as in the case of some East Asian countries like China. This model shows that a huge population provides a supply of labor and contributes to the increase output of goods which in turn, fosters economic growth.

Likewise, Julian Simon asserts that an increase in the numbers of consumers and an increase of income, expand the demand for raw materials as well as finished products.

Furthermore, the "Revisionism" view maintains that higher population growth increases the stock of human capital and will thus positively contribute to economic development.

After a careful study of the different school of thoughts, I now make my stand as to whether there is a correlation between economic growth and population.

To accept the Malthusian theory is to agree with the idea that the ballooning population in the Philippines is one of the primary reasons why it is still lagging behind its counterparts in East Asia in terms of economic growth.

I beg to disagree with this contention.

For one, population growth is not only the determining factor in defining the economic status of a country. How about the system of government? the leaders and officials running the country? poor implementation of fiscal and economic policies? Are these not contributing factors why until now the Philippines remain a third world country?

How about China? It is overpopulated yet, it remains to be one of the strongest economy in the world today.

India, for instance, it is the world’s second most populated country next to China (CIA, World Factbook 2008). But look at it now, recent studies show that India has sustained economic gain despite an enormous population growth which economists attribute to its low unemployment rates. Research shows that India has an increasing rate of employment that averages about 1.2% annually. Like its neighboring countries in Asia, it has a large skilled workforce which is protected by politically powerful unions. India also has an abundance of white-collar workers to further the industrial and agricultural sector. It is also endowed with rich natural resources which according to some economists could feed the world for the next 100 years.

If these populated countries were able to rise above economic crises in the past, why can't we?

Issues on population in the Philippines has always been associated with poverty and the slowing down of our economy. But up to now, there are still no empirical data that would clearly show the link between the snail-paced economic growth of the Philippines and its growing population which is now over 91 million (CIA, World Factbook 2008), making it the 13th country with the biggest population in the world.

Like India and other highly populated countries, the Philippines, too, is trying to let its population work in its advantage. For one, it continues to provide massive supply of workers abroad, who in turn, help the economy through their remittances. In fact, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her latest State of the Nation Address (SONA) acknowledged the important role of OFWs in the country’s economic development.

However, great importance should be given to fiscal policies intended for education and training of the populace because minds matter economically as much as, or more than, hands or mouths to feed.

Rapid technological changes in the world market today is also a constant challenge to less developed countries like the Philippines. East Asian economies in order to reduce the gap in technological advances, encourage the transfer of technology from foreign investors and made enormous investments in human capital, educating large numbers of skilled engineers able to absorb and adapt the most advanced technology. And the East Asian economies were willing to accept foreign investment and create an economic atmosphere conducive to its entry. Moreover, they combined these efforts with an emphasis on the most technologically advanced investment. (Stiglitz, Ethics, Economic Advice, and Economic Policy)

If only government would focus on economic planning with long term effects, instead of political bickering and making issues out of the increasing population then maybe we can move up the economic ladder like what China, India and the rest of our neighboring countries did in the past.

Rowena L. Tamayao

alyssa said...

Debates over the economic effects of demographic change have been raging since time immemorial. But the issue on demographic growth is way too complex than what it seemingly entails. Apparently, there had been several studies conducted on the impact of rapid population growth on poverty but there seems to be little effects on the direct relationship of the two. Conversely, it can actually be noted that rapid population growth rate may accommodate growth in labor force.

In the Philippine setting, however, population is growing at a very high rate per year. Population growth in and of itself is not a problem if resources are available to cope with the additional people requiring public services, employment, housing, and so on. But in a country where the budget is already stretched and where poverty is high to begin with, population growth becomes a major issue. The links between rapid population growth and persistent poverty have been well established. Rapid population growth hinders development for two reasons. First, because it reduces growth in per capita incomes and thus savings, it reduces the funds available for investment in productive capacity. This underinvestment in turn reduces overall economic growth and prospects for poverty reduction. Second, as population growth outpaces the capacity of industry to absorb new labor, urban unemployment and rural underemployment are compounded. Even if the Philippine economy may generate thousands of new jobs, this job creation, nonetheless increases unemployment levels for the reason that the job market will still be flooded with even more new entrants. Hence, it is very perceptible that these issues represent major stumbling blocks in efforts to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living in the Philippines.

JohnRodsonTagle said...

Many critics often blame that population is the reason for the increasing rate of proverty in the country. They say that the more the population grow, the more people are needed to be feed. This is similar to the idea of Thomas Malthus, whose theory also blame that the POOR are the one to be blame because the poor has the larger member of families compared to the middle and the wealthy class, and this demands that there would be "more mouth to feed and more money to go around". Personally, I am against this theory. I am more inclined to what Karl Marx has concluded that it is "natural to have children and increase the population, snd therefore the economy should naturally adjust. It is because according to many studies, the resources in our world is more than enough to feed its entire population, and it is up to us how we can manage and use it wisely and how to conserve it in order for all of us to benefit. It is just all about proper organization, and therefore population should not be blamed on the increasing rate of proverty. The real problem is that those who are in authority or those people who have high standards of living are consuming "too much" wealth for themselves causing for the rest of the entire population to lack much of their primary needs. I think, the the ordinary people or those who are in lower class must be given proper attention because they are the one who contribute much when it comes to labor since it is being said that labor is the primary factor of production, and ofcourse we cannot expect the wealthy ones to do their jobs. Most of the works that contributes to the growth of the economy especially our primary needs such as food, clothing, infrastructures..etc. are being done by the people in the lower class. Most of them are farmers, construction workers, ordinary school teachers. Without this people the implementation of every proposed project or plan for economic development is nothing. Because this people serve as the "backbone" of our economy and therefore it is needed to give them their deserved price for their contribution in the economy. There is no need to blame the poor if their population is getting high because in fact, they are tho one who works the most and contributes much to the labor force of the economy. The solution is that the government must give the poor people what they deserve instead of corrupting that causes them to starve, and if this is properly implemented, then there will be no shortage for food and other basic necessities.Besides, why blame the increasing rate of the population of the poor? Does this critics thinks that if the population of those wealthy people are the one increasing can contribute much compared to the increasing population of the poor? Where in fact, as I have already mentioned most of the basic jobs are being done by the lower class, Do they think that we can expect them to do much of the work that is being done by our farmers and other lower class? It is really needed that the government should prioritized those people, in fact in other countries such as Japan and in the states the farmers, workers and the teachers are treated the same or even higher as other professionals such as engineers, lawyers, etc. because they are the very foundation behind the success of those higher professions.

Mila T. Benabise said...


I will agree with the contention of the social scientists that demographic growth will serve as a stumbling block to Philippine development. Even though labor is one of the major inputs of production but in the principle of diminishing marginal productivity, it states that if increasing amounts of a variable factor (labor) are applied to fixed amounts of other factors (e.g. capital, land, materials), the extra or marginal product of the variable factor declines beyond a certain number. So, increasing and increasing population is not a guarantee of increasing production as mentioned in the marginal diminishing productivity considering that other factors like cultivable land in the Philippines is not increasing but rather declining due to the conversion of agricultural lands to subdivision and industrial parks. Hence, population growth will serve as a stumbling block of Philippine development because it would mean more mouths to feed.
We might say that labor cannot only be utilized in the agricultural sector as W. Arthur Lewis Theory mentioned two sectors: the agricultural or rural sector and manufacturing or urban sectors. In his explanation, he assumed that there are surplus labor in the agricultural sector and he explained that those surplus labor should be withdrawn from the rural sector and be absorbed to the urban sector without affecting the output in the rural sector. But the applicability of the theory to developing countries like Philippines is being questioned due to the capability of the manufacturing sector to absorb all the surplus labor from the rural sector. And there is no assurance that that profits to be derived from the urban sector will be re-invested and if it is re-invested it might be on the labor saving capital intensive production and sometimes there is a problem of capital flight. Therefore, increase in population would hinder development.
In the book of Todaro entitled development economics, it indicates seven negative consequences of population growth.
1. rapid population growth lowers per capita income growth in most LDC’s (like the Philippines), especially those that are already poor, dependent or agriculture and experiencing pressures on land and natural resources.
2. Rapid population growth fall most heavily on the poor because they are the ones who are made landless, suffer from cuts in good health and education programs, bear the brunt of environmental damage, and are the main victims of job cuts due to the slower growth of the economy.
3. Rapid population growth causes given educational expenditures to be spread more thinly, lowering quality for the sake of quantity.
4. It increases the health risks of pregnancy and closely spaced birth have been shown to reduce birth weight and increase child mortality rates.
5. Feeding the world’s population is made more difficult by rapid population growth.
6. Rapid population growth contributes to environmental degradation in the form of forest encroachment, deforestation, fuel-wood depletion, soil erosion, declining fish and animal stocks, inadequate and unsafe water, air pollution and urban congestion.
7. The rapid increase in international migration, both legal and illegal, is one of the major consequences of developing countries population growth. However, unlike the 1st six consequences listed above, some of the economic and social costs of international migration fall in the recipient countries.

With those negative consequences mention in the book of Todaro, I strongly stand that population growth would hinder development in the Philippines. In support, this is the reason why congressmen are passing a bill regarding the reproductive health bill to control population growth. Because they also believe that population growth will worsen poverty in the country hence, it would mean more mouths to feed, more people needs education, clothing, shelter and other resources. So the resources would thinly distributed to the people.

God Bless You!

Djoney said...

In my opinion, the current growth in our population should not be considered as the reason for the worsening poverty in the Philippines. Since I believe that the root cause of indigence in this country is the proliferation of graft and corruption in the government.I disagree on the proposition of Malthus on population wherein he explains that, "it is one of the causes that have hitherto impeded the progress of mankind towards happiness",he also cited, based on his theory in the law of diminishing returns that, "the implication of which is that food production is bound to lag behind population growth". I believe that conceptually in a non-corrupt country, if the people are given much attention, e.g better education, well trained on skills, and given better oppoturnity then I think that population shall be a favorable factor with regards to the success of our labor force.

According to Claus Chr. Portner, an ageing population has an adverse effect on economic growth.Like in the case of Japan and Canada. Japan’s demographic crisis raises three major issues one of which is the shrinking workforce that will eventually force Japan, which is sensitive about its “ethnic homogeneity,” to accept large-scale immigration. According to The New York Times article, “Insular Japan Needs, but Resists, Immigration,” a UN report recently forecast that to maintain the size of its working population, “Japan would need 17 million new immigrants by 2050,” which “would represent 18 percent of the [Japanese] population” compared to today’s one percent.(Asia Today, October 7, 2003).In the report made by the Canadian Government in collaboration with the Interdepartmental Committee on Aging and Senior Issues, Canada, according to, Seniors constitute the fastest growing population group in Canada. In 2001, it was estimated that 3.92 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a figure that is two thirds more than in 1981. During the same period, the overall Canadian population increased by only one quarter. The proportion of seniors in the overall population has gone from one in twenty in 1921, to one in eight in 2001. As the “baby boomers” (born between 1946 and 1965) age, the seniorspopulation is expected to reach 6.7 million in 2021 and 9.2 million in 2041, in adddition the aging of Canada’s population will cause escalating pressures on public expenditures in the areas of health care and old age security, while potentially slowing the growth of the labour force, reducing the growth of the economy,and limiting the growth in government revenues. However, pressures from an aging society will also emerge relatively slowly, enabling governments to plan and prepare in advance. Still, this adaptation will not be easy as shifts in demographics will necessitate difficult decisions regarding shifts in expenditures.

Indeed the growing population in the Philippines should not be considered as inimical to the success of our economy, instead we should maximize and utilize our labor force in a way that our country will benefit from it.

Cynch Del Mundo said...

Demographic growth is a stumbling block to Philippine development. This is one view pursued by the proponents of those who want to put a control on the growth in the population (by birth) which is now a brewing debate in Congress.

I put premium on individual choices or views but stressed that these choices have to be analytical, educated and above all responsible especially when it comes to scrutinizing demographic or population growth as a consequence for hindering economic development since such impinges on individual preferences and value orientation/cultural underpinnings that, though debatable, rarely reaches an agreement.

My view is that growth in the population affects the development of any nation and therefore careful and studied economic and social planning must be designed by policy makers. However, an increase in population is not necessarily detrimental to economic growth since there are other determinants of the population that have a more critical effect on the development of a nation. Planners should take a look on the following demographic variables/conditions such as: (1) distribution by age grouping since this will have a direct consequence on “the economic or carrying burden” as it will dictate the ratio of how many in the labor force (given a minimum wage) will be able to support the needs of a particular number of family members to live a decent life; (2) spatial distribution or concentration of the population as against the resources available; and (3) the quality of the population as to their education, skills, health, and labor preparedness as this will influence economic productivity and consequently the revenues generated which in turn can be used by government in providing the needed infrastructure, services and social welfare for the populace.

The recently published findings of the study of Hyun H. Son of the Asian Development Bank somehow shared my views. He zeroed in the Philippine schools as a variable that provide the wrong kind of skills for the labor market which hurts the economic growth. His study revealed that the per capita labor productivity which plummeted between 1997 and 2003 is a result of “those with higher education crowding out the less educated in terms of job opportunities and that they (those with higher education which is an important determinant of employment) are in low-productivity jobs. This in turn has lowered the price for skilled labor over the period. The education sector, he said, does not supply the right kind of skills that are demanded by the labor market.

Such research findings strengthen my opinion that: “It is not merely the populace that affect development but the mismatches in a lot of demographic variables and its combination with environmental and social conditions within a particular milieu that create a bias on the nation’s development, and how to strike a workable match/scheme is the challenge posted to our policy makers and planners as well as the academe, too.” (Ma. Cynthia M. Del Mundo, student of Economic Planning and Public Administration)

mira tacadao said...

The demographic growth issue in the country remains controversial. Indeed, it has been a long-time puzzle. Issues have been raised whether rapid population growth influences economic performance in a positive or negative ways. While our neighboring countries have long resolved the issue, sadly, here in our country, we failed to achieve a stable consensus and remain divided on the matter.

Obviously, as population rises, there would an increase in our labor supply. But it is very important that we can convert these “stock” as productive assets of the country. They have the appropriate skills and knowledge that could contribute to productivity. If the government could provide or give attention to the basic needs of the population (like health and education), then it would not be a burden and could be turn into productive laborers. Aside from sound economic policies, it might be beneficial if it is coupled with strong population policy. In the Philippines, the lack of clear and inconsistent population policy partly explains its anemic growth and persistent mass poverty. Thus, rapid population growth is an impediment to socioeconomic development requiring policy intervention that the government must address.

Juntado(-ism) said...

was here...

I have decided to address the topic from the comfort of my own blog, for reason of the discourse’s length. I do not consider this entry as something near to a comment, rather, it is probably more suitable to call it a reaction.


Ricky Allen Cruz said...

For me one of the factors that can be attributed to a well running economy is the growing population because it serves two functions;
1.) Generates demand, because each individual has its own set of demand as the number of individual s increases so as the demand. The increase in demand is the stimulus for the economy to produce more.
2.) The labor force, as demand rises the producers will need to produce more and their need can be answered by the increase in the labor force

Theoretically this should be the case but in the Philippine setting it deviates from its theoretical counter part. Even though we have the population to generate demand and the labor force our economy is under performing (relative to our Asian counter parts and the natural endowments available). Our domestic industry cannot absorb the yearly increase in labor force as evident in the increasing trend of OFW workers. To add to that the increasing population is taking its toll in production as we are currently experiencing shortage in rice.

So what is missing? For me it will be the links that will integrate the growing population to the economy. These links can be in the form of education, and state policies that can increase the value of human capital.

Demand vs Effective Demand

A large population can generate demand but in actual terms what is important is the effective demand. Effective demand is an economic principle that suggests consumer needs and desires must be accompanied by purchasing power. With demand alone the producers will produce but the consumers are most likely to consume less producing surplus. This surplus can be seen as a loss to the producers since it will drive market prices down. We should remember “What is bad for the producers is also bad for the consumers” as exemplified by the circular flow diagram. .

Do the majority of the 88.57 million Filipinos able to generate effective demand?

How can the population exert effective demand in the economy? By increasing human capital through education. And through state policies that will make opportunities to employ that human capital.

The next situation to consider is that when the growth in population is fast enough to offset the state policies and the capacity of the economy.
For me this is the time to manage population, according to Robert Malthus if population is not manage it increases at a geometric rate while the food supply grows at an arithmetic rate. If we continue this trend of unmanaged population the economy may reach a point where it can no longer take in the pressure from increasing population.

farrah said...

The rapid population growth in the Philippines increased the need for socioeconomic development. Population growth has been accompanied by a consistent decline in national income growth and an increase in the national debt because the government is trying to provide the basis needs of the people, especially the poor ones. In addition to the problem of increasing total population growth is the even greater growth rate in the cities. Massive growth of the cities means increased demand for socioeconomic development -- education, housing, health care. The economy of the Philippines cannot support them. Increase in human capital is a positive thing as long as the economy and the government can provide jobs. Consequently, the government and the economy cannot possibly provide jobs for the million young people who will be entering the job market every year, especially in cities like Manila, where unemployment is already massive and the lack of housing and social services is described as terrible. This is evident with the number of squatters, homeless and jobless in the city. As a result, most of educated, professional and skilled Filipinos seek employment abroad. At the same time, people at the rural areas also suffer, not only from low incomes, but from the fact that such health and educational facilities are concentrated in the cities. From the point of view of policy-making, family planning is essential, but it will not be enough to solve the problem; the millions people who will enter the labor force this year and year 2009 are already born. Population policies must be integrated with urban and rural development plans and programs.

tahra tillah said...

In my opinion, the effect of the Philippine’s demographic growth to our country’s development would strongly depend on how our government may view and value the worth and contributions of its citizens. If citizens are seen as ‘human capitals’ essential for the growth of a country, increase in population rate would be taken as a ‘blessing’ and not a ‘hindrance.’ But if it is taken the opposite and in a more pessimistic way, perceiving its citizens as ‘numbers’ alone, then it would just become another ‘unresolved’ issue and an excuse for a country’s ‘stagnant state.’

I believe for any country’s economic growth to materialize and become sustainable, the focus should not solely be on its economic development alone, but should consider its human development as an integral part of its over-all development and growth. According to Jacobs and Asokan, “development is a human process in the sense that is human beings and not material factors that are the driving force for development. The energy and aspiration of people who seek development forms the motive force that drives the development process. People’s awareness may decide the direction in which development will take place. Their efficiency, productivity, creativity and organizational capacities determine the level of people’s accomplishment and enjoyment. What we call development is only the outer realization of latent inner potentials.”

Therefore, to be able to achieve an ‘authentic’ and sustainable development, our country should realize that economic development goes hand in hand with human development. So, programs and initiatives for economic progress should take into consideration the welfare of its citizenry. Our government has no doubt initiated and created good policies and programs for economic growth, but it is just a matter of consolidating and in effect strengthening the bond of economics with humanity which hopefully would make these programs work effectively.

People are ‘assets’ not ‘numbers’ and economic growth involves both numbers and its perceived assets projected towards the attainment of a worthwhile and sustainable development.

remyrvm said...

remy said,

The "Science" of ecological limits is often used to conclude that population growth and numbers are the major cause of environmental degradation and we have above underlined that at least in part - this is true: excess of demographic growth can enlarge problems related to sustainable development. However, while the study of ecological capacities and limits is important, they are a major source of contention.

Economic life is not about numbers, but about the triumph of the human mind when given the freedom to innovate and respond. It is the market economist who argues for hope, who points to creativity when others push for control, who recognizes that people are good, in a fundamental, real sense: assets, not liabilities.

It was this human capital that took a desperate refugee population in Hong Kong and turned it into a world-class financial center, this human capital saw Japan and South Korea arise from the ashes of war, this human capital whose success in turning around centuries of poverty has led to what the World Bank calls "The East Asean Miracle."

In a world where many still go hungry there is much to be done. But instead of looking for ways to reduce the number of those taking to take their place at the table, we should look for ways to eliminate the perverse policies that prevents a bigger banquet. And here Adam Smith will prove a more gracious host than Thomas Malthus.

E. De Guzman said...

What we have here is a Labor mismatch rather than population growth that hinders Phillipine economic growth and development.Schools in the Philippines are producing the wrong kind of skills for its labor market needs, which is hurting economic growth, according to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study, it said there were now too many highly educated people chasing too few jobs the manila based lender's report said. The study, written by ADB economist Hyun H. Son, found per capita labor productivity plummeted between 1997 and 2003 as "those with higher education have crowded out the less educated in terms of job opportunities." Filipino labor productivity increased by less than seven percent between 1988 and 2000, compared with 30 to 50 percent in neighboring asian countries like Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. Foreighn remittances from Filipinos working abroad have become an important source of household income representing 10 percent as of 2003, while the share of agricultural wage income, non-agricultural wage income, and terprise income all declined slightly compare with 1997. The report said that with higher education being an "important determinant of employment" in the Philippine market, "low productivity jobs are taken over by the more educated labor force," which in turn has "lowered the price for skilled labor over the period." Son said the findings show " that the current education sector does not supply the right kind of skills that are demanded by the labor market." Accelerating economic growth would require government action in addressing the labor mismatch. "From a policy perspective going beyond universal coverage in education is imperative because what is required is an expansion of the supply of the right kind of skills. Ruel John Kabigting, officer in charge of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Business and Investment Group, said poor English proficiency is one factor for the growing unemployment in the region. "Two call centers were supposed to open in Subic recently, but the companies have withdrawn their proposals because we lack English-proficient applicants in the area. A steady supply of competent and efficient workers is one of the major considerations of potential investors before deciding to bring their business in a particular area. The report said; not all companies are looking for college graduates becuse most of them prefer skilled workers. Based on a survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), while there are so many job opportunities that come up, "the skills that applicants obtained in college did not match the jobs offered in the area.

melgar said...

Philippine population reflected a 2.36% average annual growth rate in 1995-2000 (fig. available via NSO website) and the dependency ratio was 69.04. It is apparent in its population pyramid (2000)that half of the population were below 21 years old. The ratio of youth to economically active adults is high, which implies that in the Philippines the more rapid the population growth rate is the greater the proportion of dependents are, the more difficult it is for the people who are working to support those who are not.

Base on the aforementioned statistics the Philippines is in a deep demographic problem, which consequently affects its development--in fact, our economic capacity can not absorb the labor force(as manifested by growing numbers of OFWs). Remittances contribute a lot to our economic pie, but apparently based on soaring poverty rate, the share of everyone in the pie is still getting smaller as depicted in our per capita income and other development indices.

Population growth per se is not a problem, in fact it is a desirable phenomenon, as our economic theorists asserted-it is a primary factor that fuels the economy. The problem is indeed not in the numbers but quality of life. However, in the Philippines there are other causes sorrounding economic problems such as low productivity, poor education, corruption and in broader terms problems in values and institutions- which hinders more our development. Population is another issue and we can not afford not to restrain its growth, otherwise we will be trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, because our economic capacity can not permeat the supply of majority unproductive population. There really has to be an agressive family planning program, such as the "reproductive health bill" to address at least one of the obstacles to our sustainable economic development.

angeline said...

The population issue has been dynamic as well as contentious, especially in the Philippines, where it borders on being hostile. There are strands of evidence suggesting a negative impact of population growth on economic growth. Most probably, the first economist to hypothesize this is the Reverend Thomas Malthus who, more than 200 years ago, argued that high population growth would strain food supply and limit the standard of living of the masses. This notion on the negative effect of population growth on the economic well-being is often referred to as the "Mathusian population trap."
Bloom et al. (2001) describes demographic transition as "a change from a situation of high fertility and high mortality to one of low fertility and low mortality." Demographic transition results in sizable changes in the age distribution of the population. The changes in the age structure are because of two reasons: (1) initial decline in mortality, due to better health practices, that is concentrated among young individuals, notably infants, or those at the lower end of the age pyramid; and (2) decline in fertility, with impact entirely at age zero. The low mortality and low fertility create a bulge in the age pyramid that will move over time from young people (infants and children) to prime age (workers) for productive work, saving and reproduction, and eventually to old age (elderly). Depending on the position of this bulge on the age pyramid, the value of output per capita, the most widely used measure of economic performance, will change correspondingly. The change from high to low mortality and fertility rates can create the so-called "demographic dividend."
Bloom et al. (2003) points out those countries entering demographic transition face significant challenges. However, these countries could take advantage of the appealing opportunities for economic growth. It should be pointed out that the "demographic dividend," while essential to economic growth, is not automatic. It should be given the right kind of policy environment to produce a sustained period of economic growth. The critical policy areas are public health, family planning, education, and ecopolicies promoting labor-market flexibility, openness to trade, and saving. The growing number of adults will be productive only when there is flexibility in the labor market to allow expansion. Therefore, governments play a vital role to guarantee the creation of this "demographic dividend." '

Santiago M. Calderon said...

Population growth rate is like a two-edge sword. Consider the Philippines, a poor, underdeveloped country of high population growth rate which exponentially outpaces the growth rate of the economic pie-too much consumption with almost insignificant portion of the economic pie saved for reinvestment. Consider, on the hand, there are rich, industrialized countries of almost zero population growth rate-of aging population-which would probably have to source foreign hands to man their businesses, industries and defenses. There is a need, therefore, for a given country to find the balance population growth rate for itself. Look at India and China. Perhaps these countries have found the balance population growth rate commensurate to their countries’ size and resources in as much as these countries are now reaping the competitive advantage offered by a plentiful, young, cheap and talented workers in their businesses and industries.
Given a country’s culture and resources, a key to its techno-sociocultural economic development is adherence to the so-called Total Quality Management principle-a continuous improvement principle subscribed to by all concerned spearheaded by the top leaders themselves, by the state itself. I personally believe that the latecomers, the newly developed Asian countries applied this principle in their quest for development, in their search for quality system education, especially in the area of research and development. They could not have been so successful had they not properly managed their population growth rate in the same manner.

vcrtrinidad said...

Demographic Growth, is it more of a blessing than a curse?...

I believe that it can be a blessing, or it can also be a curse with regards to the economic prospects of the Philippines. It will depends (largely) on the economic managers of the country and to each individual Filipinos like us on how we react and turn this imminent "curse" into a potent tool for economic miracle and be able to cherish its blessings.

"In urban labor markets, very rapid labour force growth will continue to outpace formal sector employment generation placing increasing stress on informal sectors of these (Malaysia, The Philippines and specially the countries of South Asia) economies (Demographic Change and Asian Labor Markets in the 1990s John Bauer, 1990)

Since our country does not poses an industrial economy, agricultural labor absorption capacities should be increased. Increased government spending for the agricultural sector not only increase labor absorption capacities but also address the prevailing problems brought by migration to urban centers which in turn creates an overload to social service sector in the urban areas. This should be done while we're also working towards industrialization which is hoped to promote labor intensive technologies, thus creating additional need for labor.

"The tendency of the population to grow faster in relation to its means of subsistence has led to human misery and placed several obstacles in the path of human progress". (Malthus, 1803).

Malthusian followers may see that "that demographic growth will serve as stumbling block to Philippine development." but I beg to disagree. It is not solely dependent on the size on the labor demography; it is also based on the quality of the labor sector. But sadly, the current trends in the size and quality of human capital express otherwise.

I am leaning more on Development Economics point of view. This is not merely focused on macro economic growth (increased GDP, etc.) but also on improving the potential work force. "Its (Development Economics) focus is not only on methods of promoting economic growth and structural change but also on improving the potential for the mass of the population, for example, through health and education and workplace conditions, whether through public or private channels". (Bell, Clive 1987. "Development Economics," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 1, pp. 818, 825. Investments on the continuous strengthening of our human capital should also be intensified by creating programs and policies that are designed to address Needs vs. Education/Training Missmatch* shall boost the quality of the human capital and reduce under employment.

* A situation where the educational system is not able to quickly relate the change in industry and there is a mismatch (needs vis-a-vis trained work force) resulting in a huge skill shortage in the country

According to Canan, the propounder of Optimum Population Theory "Population must grow up to certain desired level after which further growth is harmful. When at a point of time the population of a country increases the natural resources capital and technical know how do not change with the result that after sometime the law of diminishing returns begins to operate". With this in mind, our government economic managers should concentrate on increasing the technical know-how of the labor force to compensate for the demographic growth of the labor force. Improve and systemic export of labor surplus can also be a key factor in resolving negative effects of demographic growth. My personal expertise of working overseas for almost eight years taught me that Filipinos can excel in sharing our skills outside the country while learning new skills that could be brought back to the country and used to further support the country's socio-economic growth at par with demographic growth. Another worthwhile option is to improve socio-economic condition designed to lure back Filipinos residing in other countries and encouraging them to invest in the Philippines. This will also help nurture the entrepreneurial spirit among Filipinos. This can result to Filipinos who goes to business and create additional employment opportunities for others instead of competing with others for limmited employment opportunities.

Plato stated that "Poverty is not a due to the absence of wealth but due to the unequal distribution of wealth." So I say that the problems are not in the demographic growth but in the equity of the distribution of the fruits of economic growth. The answer lies in our actions, we should collectively embark on a journey to address the negative effects of demographic growth and prove these social scientists (who said that that demographic growth will serve as stumbling block to Philippine development) wrong.

SaMi3L said...

The population of a given nation is both the producer and recepient of the fruits of economic development. Whatever the product a country produce it will yield its own labor. Economic development is therefore a function of the behavior of the population for a given nation. Its human capital will eventually determine its growth and development.As Alfred Bonne (1979) puts it, "Economic development starts with a appraisal of the number of people involved". Goverment must focus on the competency and direction of its educational system in order to compete and to offset rising demographic population growth.

Last, population variable of economic development needs to be nurtured and managed in order fot it to obtain the level of growth and development necessary to influence a degree of economic growth that is sufficient to raise the standard of living conditions.

ian said...

Population growth in the country is one of the major issues nowadays. There should be a balance between the number or proper ratio between the production and consumption. Otherwise, what we’ll be having is the vicious cycle of poverty.
In economics, some problems arise from socio-political relationship. Indeed, poverty is deeply rooted from socio-political background of the country. The root of poverty is the unfair distribution of power, wealth and income, these belong to only very few, and so many are poor. Such law of distribution has been made my individuals who hunger for power and wealth. The pains and indignities of poverty have increased because man has not stopped exploiting his fellowman. The capitalists cheat their workers. The landlords exploit their tenants. The rich countries deceive the poor countries.
“You do not help the people if you do the things which they themselves can do” – Abraham Lincoln. The program for the poor has not been properly implemented and managed. Milton Friedman, noted monetary economist, said that much money spent on various programs for the poor never tickles down to the poor. It is diverted on its way into the pockets of the well-paid consultants who study the programs.
The best way to help the poor is to help themselves. This does not only apply to individuals but also to countries. Actually, this is not a new approach in helping the poor. It came from a Chinese wise man many years ago. He related a story about a rich man with a very poor neighbor. Every time the poor man was hungry, he begged food from the rich neighbor. The rich man did not give him food but fishing net and taught him to fish. This ended the beggar-life of the poor man who became self-reliant. However, what is most important is that the poor man was able to regain his lost dignity. And the rich man has done his social responsibility very well.
According to Professor Feliciano Fajardo, less developed countries have very little or no chance at all to win their fight against absolute poverty, disease and squalor. Their economic future does not only depend on themselves but also on the economic policies of the rich countries towards the poor countries. Their many years of exploitations by the rich countries in the form of economic imperialism, loans, wrong technologies and miseducation have made them even poorer. Furthermore, he classified the main sources of the rich countries, namely: unfair tariffs for the poor countries; exorbitant interest on capital and excessive profit on investment; low prices of raw materials manipulated by cartels, monopolies and unfair trade practices; virtual monopoly on ocean and air transport; control international monetary system; supply most of the investment capital and use their political and military power to maintain the status quo.
A classic case of man’s exploitations is the apartheid (racial segregation) of South Africa. This is the land of the Africans, and yet the rulers and the exploiters are the minority Whites. They own the farms, factories and mines while the Blacks own 90 percent of labor. The Blacks are virtual slaves. They constitute the great majority but they could not vote. Their wages are very low and yet they do all the dirty and risky jobs which the Whites do not like to take. Punishments are often harsh on slight violations by the Blacks. They cannot live in the cities where the Whites reside. There are separate schools, churches, movies, restaurants and other colored races in South Africa. Obviously, the Blacks are poor because the Whites made them so.

jillian t. decilos

joseph sydney valdez said...

Yes, I agree that the demographic growth will serve as a stumbling bloc to Philippine development because if the population grows faster than job generation and wealth distribution, economic policies would not even make a dent.

It has always been the issue in Philippine economic programs that one factor why the Philippines cannot achieve optimum development is because of its population growing at an alarming and uncontrollable rate. What may have become worse is that instead of producing quality Filipinos who can efficiently contribute to the improvement of this country, the ones multiplying are those who can be branded as baby factories and do not pay taxes at all, and excess kids who might eventually become criminals, and plunder the resources of the working.

As of August 2007, based on National Statistics Office, the population of the Philippines has already reached 88.57 million. About 80% of which belong to the poor, the D E socio economic class. Only 8% - 12% belong to the middle class or C socio-economic class. In my opinion, the government really needs good economic policies, effective poverty alleviation programs, aggressive population control, and eventually everything will fall into place. Less children attending to school equals a better quality of education.

It is also not a question of not implementing policies properly; it’s also implementing the worse policies. This government has both good policies but not being implemented, and those which are being implemented are not the good ones.

An example of which is Arroyo’s imposition of her religious beliefs on population management where she forced the populace to adopt the Catholic Church teachings – promote only natural methods which has a very high 60%-80% failure or pregnancy rate. This population policy is not helping the poor at all and even making poverty worse than before. President Arroyo stopped the distribution of free condoms, pills, injectables that the poor used to get from public health centers for free! These items were being given to the Philippine government, at no cost, by USAID.

And lastly, things like corruption, among many others, need to be solved. My point is that the government needs to make fixing poverty as its central theme and core objective. Studies have shown that corruption has contributed to increasing poverty because it robs the poor from getting the most of what they should or has been planned for. Still, the ideal is higher economic growth and slow the population growth.

sonny balao said...

Population growth may not necessarily amount to the stagnation of the national economy, the assertion that labor is the primary factor of production (as supplied by the population) may be factual , however , extreme demographic growth or population explosion becomes a hindrance or a stumbling block to national economic development when the following factors are to be considered:
1. Food Security: Shortage of available food resources (basic resources such as food and water.) vis a vis the growing population. The availability and supply of these life nourishing resources is fundamental and vital for a population to survive. Since labor comes from the demographic stock, which is the population, these necessities must be addressed first more than anything else. How can production grow (or even move) without the labor force? And in turn how can the labor force survive without these basic needs? Basically this is why the polar and the desert regions of the earth remain ‘largely’ uninhabited due to the absence of these basic resources.
However, the availability of these resources is not enough; the supply must be sustained to be able to continuously feed the general population. The problem on food security on a global scale is being addressed in the strategic framework of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nation (for 2000 to 2015). It indicated the links between population, economic growth, poverty and hunger. FAO’s current demographic and economic trends and projections until 2015 indicated the following context.
‘From the present figure of 6 billion, the world's population is likely to reach 7.2 billion in 2015, having grown by 75 million people annually. Ninety percent of the increase will occur in today's developing countries. Changes in the global balance of wealth among nations are likely to be slow. The risk of economic recessions - with adverse effects on employment, agriculture and food security - will continue. Hunger and undernourishment are expected to persist, although at slightly reduced levels. Without major efforts to improve food supply and achieve a more equitable distribution, in 2015 undernourishment may still affect 30 percent of some countries' populations. The urban poor are likely to constitute a greater proportion of the world's undernourished, as urban populations are increasing by 60 million per year. 26 cities in today's developing countries will have populations of 10 million or more.National and international action must avert or mitigate some of these trends, particularly with regard to their impact on food security. Political, economic and social systems will be expected to ensure equitable access to food’.
If this analysis of the FAO may be considered accurate, then it could be estimated that the implication of rapid population growth in the Philippines with the ‘absence or shortage of food resources’, could pose obstacles on the economic development of the Philippines.

2. Wide spread poverty: Due to a pronounced imbalance of distribution of wealth and income within the population. When majority of the population linger below poverty line, then it is safe to assume that most of these poor people have limited (if there is any) opportunity to find ‘quality’ jobs that pay decently. Such scenario as in the Philippines, where the base population is poor and there is not enough work for everybody, population explosion can only worsen the already destitute condition of the general population.

3. Limited access to education: It is already a given fact that there are not enough industries in the Philippines to absorb the skilled professionals that Philippine Universities produced (annually), it is a more saddening fact that most of Filipinos are denied of quality education. Education provides the training needed for the skilled workers of the labor force (be it a regular four year college degree, graduate-post graduate degrees or a 6 months vocational course). The necessary skills needed for the different fields of job expertise are fundamentally taught thru training in education. While it is true that human labor is currently our national product in the global market (that sends billions of revenues to our national budget) the larger part of the Philippine population have no permanent jobs (precisely the reason why OFW’s send remittances to support their families back home) so to speak because they lack the necessary skills to be recruited as skilled laborers abroad or even to be recruited in available jobs domestically (as in the case of those Filipinos that apply for ‘call center jobs’ that are rejected or if accepted, later on forced to resign because of poor English communication skills, which might explain the ‘revolving door’ phenomenon in the call center industries in the Philippines, so even with an available industry to hire Filipino workers, lack of skill or poor quality of work still results to unemplymennt ). Philippine public educational system is already seen as dysfunctional with the lack of quality human (teachers, administrators etc.), educational (books, computers etc) and physical resources (classroom, chairs, blackboards, yes even chalk) to respond to the growing needs of growing students in the primary and secondary levels. Rapid population growth would only mean an influx of more of these unfortunate kids to the already barely surviving and functioning Philippine public educational system.

4. Inefficient (to almost nonexistent) population control program by the government:
The government’s primary flaw is that it lacked a comprehensive population management plan, wherein it could have estimated the projected growth of the general population vis a vis the availability and sustainability of the needed resources to sustain its growing population. Now it is catching up to educate the public with regards to reproductive health that is aimed to reduce the population into an economically manageable size. Considering the other 3 factors mentioned above, unchecked population growth without the availability of the needed resources can indeed pose problems to the economic growth of the country.

To summarize, population expansion may not necessarily hamper economic growth only if the demands of a growing population are met, but again, as in the Philippine scenario, where the population continues to rapidly grow with the lack of badly needed economic opportunities, inefficient population policies, limited resources and poor public educational system, population growth cannot be translated into labor production wherein basic necessities hampers the competitiveness of the Filipino labor force.

farrah said...

The rapid population growth in the Philippines increased the need for socioeconomic development. Population growth has been accompanied by a consistent decline in national income growth and an increase in the national debt because the government is trying to provide the basis needs of the people, especially the poor ones. In addition to the problem of increasing total population growth is the even greater growth rate in the cities. Massive growth of the cities means increased demand for socioeconomic development -- education, housing, health care. The economy of the Philippines cannot support them. Increase in human capital is a positive thing as long as the economy and the government can provide jobs. Consequently, the government and the economy cannot possibly provide jobs for the million young people who will be entering the job market every year, especially in cities like Manila, where unemployment is already massive and the lack of housing and social services is described as terrible. This is evident with the number of squatters, homeless and jobless in the city. As a result, most of educated, professional and skilled Filipinos seek employment abroad. At the same time, people at the rural areas also suffer, not only from low incomes, but from the fact that such health and educational facilities are concentrated in the cities. From the point of view of policy-making, family planning is essential, but it will not be enough to solve the problem; the millions people who will enter the labor force this year and year 2009 are already born. Population policies must be integrated with urban and rural development plans and programs.

bryan joseph said...

True, the size of the population is one of the factors in determining the survival of a state. China’s pioneer of the Revolution, Dr. Sun Yat-sen even stated in his Three Principles (no date, p 49) that the absence of population growth is a third disaster that threatens China (the other two are political and economic disaster) and urge ways to stimulate population growth. This fear stems from the feeling from the Chinese themselves of being dominated by the Europeans not only in terms of political, military and economic power but also in demography. It must be remembered that during his time, large territories of China especially along the coastal areas such as Shanghai are in foreign hands. The Europeans’ presence threatens the existence of the Chinese race itself as the population growths of European countries at that time were higher. Thus, the fear of the extinction of the Chinese race or relegating the status of the Chinese as slaves. After Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s death, the two Chinas, under the regime of Mao and Chiang kai-shek still shared this view of modern China’s founder. Mao and Chiang encouraged the Chinese to produce more babies…But then both the Nationalist and Communist regimes realized the futility of this ambition and the consequences of ignoring the problem of uncontrolled population growth. (Kuomintang Party elders were against family planning because it will reduce the number of soldiers for retaking Mainland! (Amsden 1985, p. 100). Despite the Chinese numerical superiority, China lagged behind (back then). China and India despite their numerical superiority against the West did not become successful in warding off foreign intrusions and even relegated to semi-colonial/colonial status due to her unequal treaties with the Great powers and endured other humiliations. Therefore, a large population does not necessarily mean a stronger state or a higher standing among nations. Our country is the 12th largest in the world in terms of population as pointed out by fellow bloggers but why it seems that we rarely get the attention or enhance our standing in the eyes of the international community? (The Philippines, under the regimes of past 5 presidents have no consistent population policy. Cory and Gloria both have no inclination to pursue artificial family planning method. The strong influence of the Catholic Church is clearly seen.) The fears that our country will liken to the situation of developed countries were there are more elderly people to be taken care off while birth rates are declining are unfounded as :

population will not immediately decrease owing to population momentum. Even if fertility dropped today to below replacement level for ALL (my emphasis) countries of the world, it would take at least 50 years for population reductions to set in (Concepcion 2003, pp. 22-23).

Yes, a country with a large population could mean a large market and a large source of labor like in China and India, but do they factor in purchasing power, quality and productivity? Fellow bloggers already pointed out the problem of provision of education. Of course, the quality of education is greatly affected by the ratio or the number of students per classroom and we do not have unlimited resources to meet the demand of growing number of children for schooling and poor quality of education translates to poor quality of labor force. The private sector here in the Philippines has already taken this initiative of curbing population growth for it is in the self-interest of private corporations to help their employees in family planning because this affects the employees’ productivity as evidenced by savings generated from less maternity/paternity pay, production loss and replacement cost. An employee with less stressful family life is a more productive employee (Bagayaua 2003, pp. 20-21). However, this might give the signal that the state is abdicating from its responsibility.

Amsden, Alice. (1985). The State and Taiwan’s Economic Development. Bringing the State Back In. Eds. P. Evans, D. Rueschemeyer & T. Skocpol. UK: Cambridge University Press, pp.78-101.

Bagayaua. Gemma. (2003, July 21). Good for Business. Newsbreak, pp. 20-21

Concepcion, Mercedes. (2003, July 21). A Long Way to Go. Newsbreak, pp.22-23

Llaguno, Frankie. (2003, July 21). A Conservative Turn. Newsbreak, pp. 24-25

Pernia, Ernesto. (2003, July 21). Population: Does It Matter? Newsbreak, p. 19

Smith, Stephen & M. Todaro. (2006). Economic Development. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited, pp. 302-304.

Sun Yat-sen (--). San Min Chu I. The Three Principles of the People. Taiwan: China Cultural Service, p. 49

Niu Jinfang said...

Talking about population growth and socio-economic development, basically there will be two impacts of population control for socio-economic development. Probably I need to review my thesis written last year and redefine their relation.
First, to refer to theory of Malthus, demographic growth is always, while natural resource are the same, so that there will be deficit if we do not control population; but Julian Simon says human being are the most important resource for economic growth because larger populations generate more new ideas and greater dement for goods and services; while, Gary Becker says in agricultural counties, Malthus theory is right, in industrial countries, population is positively correlated with economic development.
Second, Let me share my finding in my thesis, there is two aspects of population control.
Positive aspects:
1. Personal development: improved living standard, empowered women, gender equality almost attained without discrimination, alleviating the burden of support for large family expenditures, more leisure time to rear the children and enjoy life.
2. Family development: enrichment of maintenance, increased human investment.
3. Social development: population development, promoting the social productive forces, enhance overall national strength.

Negative aspects:
1. Personal crisis: loneliness, human rights violation, high rate of divorce, inner-insecurity, Moral defects of the child, incompetence of children.
2. Family crisis: family structure transition decreased reproductive function, limited interpersonal relationship within the family, weakened filial function, heaviest burden of one child in the future.
3. Social crisis: vanishing youth, gender imbalance, aging.

Based on my studies, I cannot absolutely say family planning either right or wrong in any state, but in my view, population growth is real roadblock for economic development in underdeveloped country and developing country, so my suggestion is how we properly solve the problem of population is to formulate rational family planning policy according to the situation of different nation.