SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Feeding the World: Why Malthus is Still Wrong

Dr Elaine Graham-Leigh

Date: 13 October 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 13 October 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Suggestions that we may be nearing ‘the widely-feared fundamental limit to global food production’ can be taken as confirmation of Malthus’ view that people would eventually outbreed the carrying capacity of the planet. Traditional anti-Malthusian arguments that human technological ingenuity would always keep world populations one step ahead of starvation are rendered unconvincing by our understanding of environmental harm, but this does not mean that Malthus was right all along. An analysis of how past famines and societal collapses were socially constructed indicates that it is to the workings of capitalism, rather than the number of people on the planet, to which we should look for the causes of world hunger.

Dr Elaine Graham-Leigh is an environmental campaigner focusing on climate change and social justice, and author of the book A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food, and Climate Change. She has written and spoken widely on climate change and other political issues, and has articles published by The New Internationalist and The Handbook of the Climate Movement. She is a former steering committee member for the Campaign Against Climate Change and a member of Counterfire. She lives in London, and divides her time between writing and activism.

This seminar is part of the SOAS Department of Development Studies & Bloomsbury DTC for the Social Sciences seminar series for 2015/2016. To see the full event listing click here.


Organiser: Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho & Dr Feyzi Ismail

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Contact Tel: 020 7898 4504 or 020 7898 4723