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Book Title: An Essay on the Principle of Population|
ISBN 13: 9781453793312
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.58 MB
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The author of the book: Thomas Robert Malthus
Edition: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of issue: August 29th 2010
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As the world's population continues to grow at a frighteningly rapid rate, Malthus's classic warning against overpopulation gains increasing importance. An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) examines the tendency of human numbers to outstrip their resources, and argues that checks in the form of poverty, disease, and starvation are necessary to keep societies from moving beyond their means of subsistence. Malthus's simple but powerful argument was controversial in his time; today his name has become a byword for active concern about humankind's demographic and ecological prospects.
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Read information about the authorThe Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus FRS was an English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography. Malthus himself used only his middle name Robert.
His An Essay on the Principle of Population observed that sooner or later population will be checked by famine and disease, leading to what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. He wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving and in principle as perfectible. He thought that the dangers of population growth precluded progress towards a utopian society: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". As an Anglican cleric, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour. Malthus wrote:
That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence,
That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and,
That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.
Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. He criticized the Poor Laws, and (alone among important contemporary economists) supported the Corn Laws, which introduced a system of taxes on British imports of wheat. His views became influential, and controversial, across economic, political, social and scientific thought. Pioneers of evolutionary biology read him, notably Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. He remains a much-debated writer.
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