Thomas Malthus An Essay On The Principle Of Population

In 300 years the number of Europeans -- counting those of unmixed descent living abroad -- increased more than sevenfold."Viewed in long-run perspective," writes Kingsley Davis, "the growth of the earth's population has been like a long, thin powder fuse that burns slowly and haltingly until it finally reaches the charge and then explodes." The most remarkable aspect of the increase in the population of the west which is called the Demographic Revolution is the growth of the English-speaking peoples; they multiplied from an estimated 5,500,000 in 1600 to 200,000,000 in 1940.

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It seemed obvious to him that something had to keep the population in check to prevent wholesale starvation.

He said that there were two general kinds of checks that limited population growth: preventative checks and positive checks.

All the children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to this level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons. To act consistently, therefore, we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavouring to impede, the operation of nature in producing this mortality, and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use.

Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits.

NEVER was a book more perfectly timed than Thomas Robert Malthus' "Essay on the Principle of Population." It appeared in 1798, in the midst of the Demographic Revolution, and in the land whose population was to increase at a faster pace in the coming "British century" than that of any country on the Continent.

In 1650 the population of the world had been approximately 500,000,000; in 1940 it was to be two billion.

Before starvation set in, Malthus advised that steps be taken to help the positive checks to do their work.

He wrote: It is an evident truth that, whatever may be the rate of increase in the means of subsistence, the increase in population must be limited by it, at least after the food has been divided into the smallest shares that will support life.

In the last 150 years of statistical history the British Isles increased their population more than fourfold, while at the same time they contributed more than 17,500,000 people to the settlement of North America and the overseas Dominions.

The Malthusian Theory of Population is a theory of exponential population growth and arithmetic food supply growth.


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