Thomas Malthus—Section Summary

Topics: An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Robert Malthus, Population Pages: 4 (1474 words) Published: May 17, 2008
Thomas Malthus—Section Summary
Malthus’ work, Essay on the Principle of Population, is often cited, first by Darwin himself, to have influenced Darwin’s conception of the theory of natural selection. His work, though unpopular, and often proven to be off the mark, did in fact bring to the forefront many socio-economic issues that are still being debated today: population control, food production and concerns over uncontrollable diseases arising from the effects of over-population. In this passage it is stated that Malthus was proven wrong: “...Malthus’ dire predictions have proven to be wrong...” (Efficiency and Equity 211). However, though his calculations have proven to be wrong because he could not accurately account for the technological advances that would make food production keep apace of population growth, in many respects, in under-developed or undeveloped countries, the substance of his predictions, if not his calculations, have proven to be accurate. Though Malthus’ message caused the field of economics to be coined, “the dismal science” (Efficiency and Equity 211), he contributed much to the field of socio-economics and established that economic theory is a valid approach to the study of some of the greatest concerns mankind has regarding environmental allocation of resources, population control and governmental policies regulating issues relevant to these areas. Section Questions

Question One
One of Malthus’ basic premises was that food production levels and population levels expand at different rates. His basic premise was that Britain’s population would continue to expand while its food production capacity would stagnate, or at best, lag far behind. This would result in less supply for more demand and the result would be stagnant or deteriorating standards of living in Britain. Malthus’ predictions proved wrong or inaccurate at the time because: 1) he did not account for technology’s ability to keep food production apace with population...

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Kates, Robert W. "Population, Technology, and the Human Environment: A Thread through Time." Daedalus 125.3 (1996): 43+. Questia. 5 June 2005 .
Wrigley, E.A. "Corn and Crisis: Malthus on the High Price of Provisions." Population and Development Review 25.1 (1999): 121+. Questia. 5 June 2005 .
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