UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN THE THEORY OF DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION
Population and Economics 1(1): 3-21, doi: 10.3897/popecon.1.e36030
UNSOLVED PROBLEMS IN THE THEORY OF DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION
expand article infoAnatoly Vishnevsky
‡ National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Open Access
Abstract
The theory of demographic revolution / demographic transition is the main theoretical construction underlying modern concepts of demographic processes and their historical evolution. It enjoys wide and well-deserved recognition. At the same time, this theory can hardly be considered complete, as it is not free of contradictions and unsolved issues.The theory in its present form does not sufficiently recognize the demographic revolution as a unity of three revolutions — in mortality, fertility and migration — and pays them unequal attention.The theory underestimates the relative autonomy and interdependence of demographic processes, which leads to an exaggeration of the role of economic, political or cultural determinants of demographic shifts and to a downplaying of the role of these shifts as causes of economic, political and cultural changes. The theory of demographic revolution did not sufficiently integrate modern concepts of the behaviour of complex systems, their capacity for self-organization and homeostatic self-regulation.Only when this has been done will the theory be able to rid itself of its inherent “pessimistic eschatology”, and its explanatory potential be fully realized.
Keywords
demographic revolution theory; demographic transition theory; demographic balance; demographic eschatology; revolution in fertility; epidemiological revolution; epidemiological transition; migration transition; homeostatic self-regulation