Thomas Malthus has a hallowed place in the history of biology, despite the fact that he and his contemporaries thought of him not as a biologist but as a political economist. Malthus grew up during a time of revolutions and new philosophies about human nature. He chose a conservative path, taking holy orders in , and began to write essays attacking the notion that humans and society could be improved without limits. Population growth vs. In it, Malthus raised doubts about whether a nation could ever reach a point where laws would no longer be required, and in which everyone lived prosperously and harmoniously. There was, he argued, a built-in agony to human existence, in that the growth of a population will always outrun its ability to feed itself.
THOMAS MALTHUS ESSAY ON POPULATION
Internet History Sourcebooks
In a new book, historians at Cambridge and Harvard set the life and work of this contentious thinker within a wider context — and look in particular at his engagement with the world beyond Europe. As early as , Malthus anticipated and deplored the fate he foresaw awaiting the inhabitants of the new world as settler populations increasingly claimed lands that seemed to offer almost limitless resources. The controversial theorist Thomas Robert Malthus did not much enjoy travelling. Now new research confirms that Malthus travelled vicariously all over the world, immersed in the accounts of voyages to the new lands being explored and colonised by Europeans. The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus reveals that the contentious theorist raised profound and prescient questions about the nature of people worldwide — and, in particular, about the collision of interests that resulted when white settlers claimed territories inhabited by indigenous communities. The book is already hailed, by scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, as a stunningly distinctive contribution to interpretations of Malthus.
Thomas Mathus Principles of Population
If by fiat I had to identify the most consequential ideas in the history of science, good and bad, in the top 10 would be the treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population , by English political economist Thomas Robert Malthus. On the positive side of the ledger, it inspired Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to work out the mechanics of natural selection based on Malthus's observation that populations tend to increase geometrically 2, 4, 8, 16 … , whereas food reserves grow arithmetically 2, 3, 4, 5 … , leading to competition for scarce resources and differential reproductive success, the driver of evolution. On the negative side of the ledger are the policies derived from the belief in the inevitability of a Malthusian collapse.
Cancel anytime. One of the most influential books on economics ever written, Thomas Robert Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population remains one of the most controversial too. This work inspired naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace to develop the theory of natural selection. But it has also sparked criticism - Karl Marx famously called Malthus a "lackey of the bourgeoisie. Malthus foresees a time when available resources will not sustain the growing population.