Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population was an influential essay that proposed a systematic theoretical approach to population. Malthus had collected empirical data and proposed that human population growth increases at an exponential rate. Whereas, the production of food increases at an arithmetic rate. This means that in the long run arithmetic food growth coupled with an exponential growth of human population would lead to a future where humans have little to no resources to survive on. To avoid this Malthusian catastrophe, Malthus argued for controls on population through preventative and positive checks.
His work shows the harmful effects of the ever growing population and suggests measures to keep the population in check. Malthus was against the Poor Laws in England (developed for the welfare of the poor in the 18th century) and was in the support of Corn Laws that imposed a stiff tariff on the import of wheat in England, thus protecting domestic producers in the country but, simultaneously driving up the prices of wheat in England, making it unaffordable to the masses. The main idea propounded by Malthus in his theory of population was that the population was multiplying in a geometric progression (such as 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and so on) whereas the food production increases in an arithmetic progression (such as 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and so on). Given that human beings need food to sustain themselves, and as the growth rate of human population was going to far outstrip the rate of growth in agricultural production, this trend would surely spell doom for the human
He believed that the Capitalist system was the culprit and the consequences were overpopulation and poverty whereas for socialism, population growth would be readily absorbed by the economy with no repercussions(Weeks,2008).Marx and his academic partner Engels argued with Malthus’ idea that resources could not grow as rapidly as population since they saw no reason to suspect that science and technology could not increase the availability of food and other goods as least as quickly as the population grew(Weeks,2008:84). Marx and Engels argument that science and technology could solve the food shortage problem was a Northern approach to the problem because it assumed that certain conditions such as economic prosperity, efficient market, technological advancement, enabling state and inclusive informed society are in place (Oelofse C, 2006).This puts in question the applicability and validity of this view as most developing countries do not have access technological advances thus food may not be so easily available to them should the population growth rate exceed the food supply as Malthus strongly
“Population, Sustainability, and Malthus: Crash Course World History”, John Green examines one of the theories about the downfall of humanity, proposed by Thomas Malthus. Malthus wrote an essay on the Principles of Population to explain why at the time, population growth was steadily slow. John Green goes ahead to talk about how Malthus compared the poor to rabbits. Expressing that the same powers that constrained the population of rabbits would do likewise to poor people. Forces such as: predators, weather, epidemics and starvation.
DeCorse, 2008, pp. 56-59). The theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace was accepted as the English parson Thomas Malthus published a book in 1797 called Essay on the principle of population. In the book published, Thomas Malthus was warning his fellow Englishmen about most of the strategies designed to help the poor were doomed because of the unceasingly intense pressure of the population growth. It was said that a nation would quickly double its population in the few years to come leading to extreme scarcity of food and a state of great physical and mental distress and discomfort (Berkeley, 2008).
Others critique that Malthus was wrong since he didn’t foresee the dramatic increase in production of food, but it is clear in his writings that he anticipated this well in advance, ‘No limits whatever are placed to the productions of the earth; they may increase for ever and be greater than any assignable quantity, yet still the power of population being a power of a superior order, the increase of the human species can only be kept commensurate to the increase of the means of subsistence by the constant operation of the strong law of necessity acting as a check upon the greater power. It makes no difference how much productivity increases, Malthus writes, it could not long keep up with unrestrained reproduction. Population must be constantly checked to keep it in line with what the earth can
Thomas Robert Malthus, the founder of modern demography is recognized in many global spheres. He studied demographic trends and limitations from the middle of the 18th to the 19th century where the population rose to 1 billion people in 1804 (“PopulationMatters.org”). However, according to the World Population Clock, the current number is over 7.6 billion people. With increasing population, Malthus’s theory stating that “the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man” (Malthus, 1798,p.4) becomes vital in today’s context too. While Malthus suggests certain preventative and positive checks assuring the efficient management of our food sources, in today’s context, other forms of checks and balances are still discussed.
Malthus, however, argue that supply does not always create its own demand on the contrary there will be abundance of goods because lack of demand. Based on his theory of gluts, Malthus underlined the importance of creating demand for this excess supply. He argues that bourgeoisie have a tendency to accumulate and they save and invest all profits while workers and landowners spend almost all of their income on buying consumer goods (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005: 96). If share of profits increases in relation to wage share, bourgeoisie will accumulate and accumulation will not assure aggregate demand (Malthus 2003: 297). Therefore, there will be a lack of aggregate demand.
And in the present days, social behaviour become more rational because awareness in societies increased, and according to Bahatta (2010:18), urbanization also rose because of the openness of cultures to each other and the movement of people from the rural area to the cities after the industrial revolution. Furthermore, Weber believed that one of the aspects of rationalization is predictability and dehumanization, and it was explained in previous paragraphs, these two concepts have a direct relationship with
The world population growing exponentially and to some, it may be a concern but looking from an optimistic view than the Cornucopian point of view makes sense because people believe that the technology and capitalism will continue to make new ideas to help us in the future (Hughes). The Malthusian theory proposes an opposite opinion about the world population. It suggests that the world population is growing geometrically while the resources line is growing arithmetically. Soon the world population will reach the point of crisis and then the population is going to collapse (Hughes). Cornucopians have been right if looking at the current situation of the world.