Argument/counter argument essay/reseach paper on Population

Using your skills of summarizing and/or paraphrasing, find a topic you are interested in from the many choices offered and select two editorials/articles on opposing perspectives of your selected issue.

Information for the site we had to pick our topic from:
Topic: Population
-Should the United States curtail immigration?

If I were to be asked by a foreigner what strikes me most about my own people, two points, I think, would come most readily to mind: first, that we are a nation of bad social habits and, second, that there are far too many of us.

Let me stick, at this point, to the second of those assertions. If as my first ambassadorial chief, Bill Bullitt… once said, mankind is a?a skin disease of the Earth,a? then there is an optimal balance, depending on the manner of mans life, between the density of human population and the tolerances of nature. This balance, in the case of the United States, would seem to me to have been surpassed when the American population reached, at a very maximum, two hundred million people, and perhaps a good deal less.

There is, of course, no way of measuring exactly the burden that man imposes upon nature. It depends in part on the way man lives. But if one looks only at the rate of depletion of vitally important and nonrenewable natural resources -for example, soil and water -it is evident that American society is rapidly consuming its own natural capital. It is exhausting and depleting the very sources of its own abundance. Much of this could be alleviated by changes in the habits of American society, as it exists today. But surely, the present environmental crisis is essentially the reflection of a disbalance between human population -its sheer numbers as well as its way of life -and the resources of the territory on which it resides. The American Indian, as he existed before the white man came, was no doubt sometimes environmentally destructive, too. Even more so, I suspect, were the first white frontiersmen. But there were so few of them that nature could tolerate their destruction. It is this relationship that has changed in the United States, as it has changed in the dreadfully overpopulated countries of Western Europe. And it is this that I have in mind when I say that there are too many of us….

However one cuts it, the question is not whether there are limits to this countrys ability to absorb immigration; the question is only where those limits lie, and how they should be determined and enforced -whether by rational decision at this end or by the ultimate achievement of some sort of a balance of misery between this country and the vast pool of poverty elsewhere that now confronts it.

Copyright. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Julian L. Simon Economist, University of Maryland From The Economic Consequences of Immigration, 1989

It is true that if all immigration were to stop tomorrow, any one of us would have somewhat greater opportunities than otherwise: a larger part of a national park to oneself, greater ability to draw from the waters of a river to the extent one chooses. This effect could be achieved even more completely if all the immigrants who had ever come to the US, or the descendants of immigrants who came in the last 300 years, were shipped out of the country immediately -all but the one person who would enjoy the solitude, of course. But this line of thinking does not take notice of several important facts: (1) If other persons -immigrants and descendants of immigrants -had not constructed such infrastructure as roads to the national parks, only a Daniel Boone or a Native American could have enjoyed it. (2) As John Locke taught us, merely being born into a place does not necessarily or obviously confer a moral right to ownership of the asset that is primarily found rather than created by human efforts. (3) Without additional immigrants, there will be less future creation of new materials and less access to wilderness -without even mentioning resources created entirely by humankind such as art and music and the facilities to enjoy them, to which immigrants to the U.S. have contributed so handsomely.

The anti-immigrationists message boils down to this: They would like to draw to the full upon the resources made available by nature and developed by others who came before them, without any obligation to develop new resources to share with others who may come in the future. There is nothing logically incorrect with this viewpoint, but it may run counter to ones ethical sense.

In sum, for those who worry about increasing scarcity of raw materials, and about greater a?pressurea? upon the environment, immigrants represent additional persons in the society who use up more resources. But these apparently self-evident propositions about the relationship of population size and growth to natural resource availability, and to the quality of the environment, are not supported by the facts. In the very short run, additional people do push up prices, and cause crowding. But in the longer run, there occurs a process whereby the actual or impending shortage leads to the search for new resources, and after those new resources are discovered we are left better off than if the original scarcity problem had never arisen.

For citing this the web site is:
Title: Population Growth
Date added to site: July 16, 1993
Copyright info: A© 2012, CQ Press, A Division of SAGE Publications. All Rights Reserved. CQ Press is a registered trademark of Congressional Quarterly Inc.