An Essay on the Principle of Population
The first major study of population size and its tremendous importance to the character and quality of society, this polemic examines the tendency of human numbers to outstrip their resources. Pivotal in establishing the field of demography, it remains crucial to understanding modern problems with food production and distribution.
Anglican parson Thomas Robert Malthus wrote his famous essay in 1798 in response to speculations on social perfectibility aroused by the French Revolution. Because human powers of procreation so greatly exceed the production of food, Malthus explained, population will always exceed available resources, and many will inevitably live at the ragged edge of subsistence. His simple yet powerful argument — demonstrating that scarcity and inequality arise even in a society purged of all unjust laws and institutions — was highly controversial in its day. Many of Malthus' contemporaries despised him for dashing their hopes of social progress, and the grim logic of his "population principle" led Thomas Carlyle to dub economics "the dismal science."
Today, Malthus' name is practically synonymous with active concern about demographic and ecological prospects, and his classic remains ever relevant to issues of social policy, theology, evolution, and the environment.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
absolutely Adam Smith agriculture appear argument beautiful benevolence burials causes certainly ceteris paribus check to population China conceive Condorcet conjecture consequently considered cultivation degree difficulty distress doubt earth effect employed England equal evident evil exchangeable value excitements exertion existence expected frequently funds give Godwin greater number happiness human mind immortality improvement increase of population infer inhabitants instances intellectual land laws of nature live lower classes maintenance of labour man’s mankind manufactures marriages means of subsistence millions misery moral nations necessarily necessary necessity observed operation passion perfectibility perhaps period plenty poor laws possess power of population powerful instinct present price of labour price of provisions probably produce progress proportion of births propositions quantity of food reason repressed rich savage savage nation seems society species subsis sufficient suppose tence tend tillage tion tivated truth ulation undoubtedly vice virtuous wealth whole