Thomas Robert Malthus

Thomas Robert Malthus FRS (/ˈmælθəs/; 13 February 1766 – 23 December 1834)[1] was an English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography.[2] Malthus himself used only his middle name, Robert.[3]

In his 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus observed that an increase in a nation's food production improved the well-being of the populace, but the improvement was temporary because it led to population growth, which in turn restored the original per capita production level. In other words, mankind had a propensity to utilize abundance for population growth rather than for maintaining a high standard of living, a view that has become known as the "Malthusian trap" or the "Malthusian spectre". Populations had a tendency to grow until the lower class suffered hardship, want and greater susceptibility to famine and disease, a view that is sometimes referred to as a Malthusian catastrophe. Malthus wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving and in principle as perfectible.[4] He saw population growth as being inevitable whenever conditions improved, thereby precluding real progress towards a utopian society: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man".[5] As an Anglican cleric, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour.[6] Malthus wrote:

That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence,
That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and,
That the superior power of population is repressed by moral restraint, vice and misery.[7]

Malthus criticized the Poor Laws for leading to inflation rather than improving the well-being of the poor.[8] He supported taxes on grain imports (the Corn Laws), because food security was more important than maximizing wealth.[9] His views became influential, and controversial, across economic, political, social and scientific thought. Pioneers of evolutionary biology read him, notably Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.[10][11] He remains a much-debated writer.

Thomas Robert Malthus

Thomas Robert Malthus Wellcome L0069037 -crop
Portrait by John Linnell
Born13/14 February 1766
Westcott, Surrey, England
Died23 December 1834 (aged 68)
Bath, Somerset, England
NationalityBritish
FieldDemography, macroeconomics
School or
tradition
Classical economics
Alma materJesus College, Cambridge
InfluencesDavid Ricardo, Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi
ContributionsMalthusian growth model

Early life and education

The sixth [12]child of Henrietta Catherine (Graham) and Daniel Malthus,[13][14] Robert Malthus grew up in The Rookery, a country house in Westcott, near Dorking in Surrey. Thomas was bullied from an early age because of his syndactyly, or webbed feet. This sparked his controversial ideas about eugenics. Petersen describes Daniel Malthus as "a gentleman of good family and independent means... [and] a friend of David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau".[15] The young Malthus received his education at home in Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, and then at the Warrington Academy from 1782. Warrington was a dissenting academy, which closed in 1783; Malthus continued for a period to be tutored by Gilbert Wakefield who had taught him there.[16]

Malthus entered Jesus College, Cambridge in 1784. While there he took prizes in English declamation, Latin and Greek, and graduated with honours, Ninth Wrangler in mathematics. His tutor was William Frend.[16][17] He took the MA degree in 1791, and was elected a Fellow of Jesus College two years later.[3] In 1789, he took orders in the Church of England, and became a curate at Oakwood Chapel (also Okewood) in the parish of Wotton, Surrey.[18]

Population growth

Malthus - Essay on the principle of population, 1826 - 5884843
Essay on the principle of population, 1826

Malthus came to prominence for his 1798 essay on population growth. In it, he argued that population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically; therefore, whenever the food supply increases, population will rapidly grow to eliminate the abundance. Between 1798 and 1826 he published six editions of An Essay on the Principle of Population, updating each edition to incorporate new material, to address criticism, and to convey changes in his own perspectives on the subject. He wrote the original text in reaction to the optimism of his father and his father's associates (notably Rousseau) regarding the future improvement of society. Malthus also constructed his case as a specific response to writings of William Godwin (1756–1836) and of the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794).

The Essay gave rise to the Malthusian controversy during the next decades. The content saw an emphasis on the birth rate and marriage rates. The neo-Malthusian controversy, or related debates of many years later, has seen a similar central role assigned to the numbers of children born.[19]

In 1799 Malthus made a European tour with William Otter, a close college friend, travelling part of the way with Edward Daniel Clarke and John Marten Cripps, visiting Germany, Scandinavia and Russia. Malthus used the trip to gather population data. Otter later wrote a Memoir of Malthus for the second (1836) edition of his Principles of Political Economy.[20][21] During the Peace of Amiens of 1802 he travelled to France and Switzerland, in a party that included his relation and future wife Harriet.[22] In 1803 he became rector of Walesby, Lincolnshire.[3]

Academic

In 1805 Malthus became Professor of History and Political Economy at the East India Company College in Hertfordshire.[23] His students affectionately referred to him as "Pop", "Population", or "web-toe" Malthus.

At the end of 1817 the proposed appointment of Graves Champney Haughton to the College was made a pretext by Randle Jackson and Joseph Hume to launch an attempt to close it down. Malthus wrote a pamphlet defending the College, which was reprieved by the East India Company in 1817.[24] In 1818 Malthus became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Malthus–Ricardo debate on political economy

During the 1820s there took place a setpiece intellectual discussion within the proponents of political economy, often called the "Malthus–Ricardo debate", after the leading figures of Malthus and David Ricardo, a theorist of free trade, both of whom had written books with the title Principles of Political Economy. Under examination were the nature and methods of political economy itself, while it was simultaneously under attack from others.[25] The roots of the debate were in the previous decade. In The Nature of Rent (1815), Malthus had dealt with economic rent, a major concept in classical economics. Ricardo defined a theory of rent in his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817): he regarded rent as value in excess of real production—something caused by ownership rather than by free trade. Rent therefore represented a kind of negative money that landlords could pull out of the production of the land, by means of its scarcity.[26] Contrary to this concept, Malthus proposed rent to be a kind of economic surplus.

The debate developed over the economic concept of a general glut, and the possibility of failure of Say's Law. Malthus laid importance on economic development and the persistence of disequilibrium.[27] The context was the post-war depression; Malthus had a supporter in William Blake, in denying that capital accumulation (saving) was always good in such circumstances, and John Stuart Mill attacked Blake on the fringes of the debate.[28]

Ricardo corresponded with Malthus from 1817 and his Principles. He was drawn into considering political economy in a less restricted sense, which might be adapted to legislation and its multiple objectives, by the thought of Malthus. In his own work Principles of Political Economy (1820), and elsewhere, Malthus addressed the tension, amounting to conflict, he saw between a narrow view of political economy, and the broader moral and political plane.[29] Leslie Stephen wrote:

If Malthus and Ricardo differed, it was a difference of men who accepted the same first principles. They both professed to interpret Adam Smith as the true prophet, and represented different shades of opinion rather than diverging sects.[30]

After Ricardo's death in 1823, Malthus became isolated among the younger British political economists, who tended to think he had lost the debate.It is now considered that the different purposes seen by Malthus and Ricardo for political economy affected their technical discussion, and contributed to the lack of compatible definitions.[27] For example, Jean-Baptiste Say used a definition of production based on goods and services and so queried the restriction of Malthus to "goods" alone.[31]

In terms of public policy, Malthus was a supporter of the protectionist Corn Laws from the end of the Napoleonic Wars. He emerged as the only economist of note to support duties on imported grain.[32] He changed his mind after 1814. By encouraging domestic production, Malthus argued, the Corn Laws would guarantee British self-sufficiency in food.[33]

Later life

Malthus was a founding member of the Political Economy Club in 1821; there John Cazenove tended to be his ally, against Ricardo and Mill.[34] He was elected in the beginning of 1824 as one of the ten royal associates of the Royal Society of Literature. He was also one of the first fellows of the Statistical Society, founded in March 1834. In 1827 he gave evidence to a committee of the House of Commons on emigration.[35]

In 1827, he published Definitions in Political Economy, preceded by an inquiry into the rules which ought to guide political economists in the definition and use of their terms; with remarks on the deviation from these rules in their writings.[36] The first chapter put forth "Rules for the Definition and Application of Terms in Political Economy". In chapter 10, the penultimate chapter, he presented 60 numbered paragraphs putting forth terms and their definitions that he proposed, following those rules, should be used in discussing political economy. This collection of terms and definitions is remarkable for two reasons: first, Malthus was the first economist to explicitly organize, define, and publish his terms as a coherent glossary of defined terms; and second, his definitions were, for the most part, well-formed definitional statements. Between these chapters, he criticized several contemporary economists—Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, James Mill, John Ramsay McCulloch, and Samuel Bailey—for sloppiness in choosing, attaching meaning to, and using their technical terms.[37]

McCulloch was the editor of The Scotsman of Edinburgh; he replied cuttingly in a review printed on the front page of his newspaper in March, 1827.[38] He implied that Malthus wanted to dictate terms and theories to other economists. McCulloch clearly felt his ox gored, and his review of Definitions is largely a bitter defence of his own Principles of Political Economy,[39] and his counter-attack "does little credit to his reputation", being largely "personal derogation" of Malthus.[40] The purpose of Malthus's Definitions was terminological clarity, and Malthus discussed appropriate terms, their definitions, and their use by himself and his contemporaries. This motivation of Malthus's work was disregarded by McCulloch, who responded that there was nothing to be gained "by carping at definitions, and quibbling about the meaning to be attached to" words. Given that statement, it is not surprising that McCulloch's review failed to address the rules of chapter 1 and did not discuss the definitions of chapter 10; he also barely mentioned Malthus's critiques of other writers.[37]

In spite of this, in the wake of McCulloch's scathing review, the reputation of Malthus as economist dropped away, for the rest of his life.[41] On the other hand, Malthus did have supporters: Thomas Chalmers, some of the Oriel Noetics, Richard Jones and William Whewell from Cambridge.[42]

Malthus died suddenly of heart disease on 23 December 1834, at his father-in-law's house. He was buried in Bath Abbey.[35] His portrait,[43] and descriptions by contemporaries, present him as tall and good-looking, but with a cleft lip and palate.[44] The cleft palate affected his speech: such birth defects had occurred before amongst his relatives.[45]

Family

On 13 March 1804, Malthus married Harriet, daughter of John Eckersall of Claverton House, near Bath. They had a son and two daughters. His firstborn, son Henry, became vicar of Effingham, Surrey, in 1835, and of Donnington, Sussex, in 1837; he married Sofia Otter (1807–1889), daughter of Bishop William Otter, and died in August 1882, aged 76. His middle child, Emily, died in 1885, outliving her parents and siblings. The youngest, Lucille, died unmarried and childless in 1825, months before her 18th birthday.[35]

An Essay on the Principle of Population

Malthus argued in his Essay (1798) that population growth generally expanded in times and in regions of plenty until the size of the population relative to the primary resources caused distress:

Yet in all societies, even those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment [i.e., marriage] is so strong that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition.

— Malthus, T. R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter II, p. 18 in Oxford World's Classics reprint.

Malthus argued that two types of checks hold population within resource limits: positive checks, which raise the death rate; and preventive ones, which lower the birth rate. The positive checks include hunger, disease and war; the preventive checks: birth control, postponement of marriage and celibacy.[46]

The rapid increase in the global population of the past century exemplifies Malthus's predicted population patterns; it also appears to describe socio-demographic dynamics of complex pre-industrial societies. These findings are the basis for neo-malthusian modern mathematical models of long-term historical dynamics.[47]

Malthus wrote that in a period of resource abundance, a population could double in 25 years. However, the margin of abundance could not be sustained as population grew, leading to checks on population growth:

If the subsistence for man that the earth affords was to be increased every twenty-five years by a quantity equal to what the whole world at present produces, this would allow the power of production in the earth to be absolutely unlimited, and its ratio of increase much greater than we can conceive that any possible exertions of mankind could make it ... 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.

— Malthus T. R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter 2, p. 8[48]

In later editions of his essay, Malthus clarified his view that if society relied on human misery to limit population growth, then sources of misery (e.g., hunger, disease, and war) would inevitably afflict society, as would volatile economic cycles. On the other hand, "preventive checks" to population that limited birthrates, such as later marriages, could ensure a higher standard of living for all, while also increasing economic stability.[49] Regarding possibilities for freeing man from these limits, Malthus argued against a variety of imaginable solutions, such as the notion that agricultural improvements could expand without limit.[50]

Of the relationship between population and economics, Malthus wrote that when the population of laborers grows faster than the production of food, real wages fall because the growing population causes the cost of living (i.e., the cost of food) to go up. Difficulties of raising a family eventually reduce the rate of population growth, until the falling population again leads to higher real wages.

In the second and subsequent editions Malthus put more emphasis on moral restraint as the best means of easing the poverty of the lower classes."[51]

Editions and versions

  • 1798: An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it affects the future improvement of society with remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other writers.. Anonymously published.
  • 1803: Second and much enlarged edition: An Essay on the Principle of Population; or, a view of its past and present effects on human happiness; with an enquiry into our prospects respecting the future removal or mitigation of the evils which it occasions. Authorship acknowledged.
  • 1806, 1807, 1816 and 1826: editions 3–6, with relatively minor changes from the second edition.
  • 1823: Malthus contributed the article on Population to the supplement of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
  • 1830: Malthus had a long extract from the 1823 article reprinted as A summary view of the Principle of Population.[52]

Other works

1800: The present high price of provisions

In this work, his first published pamphlet, Malthus argues against the notion prevailing in his locale that the greed of intermediaries caused the high price of provisions. Instead, Malthus says that the high price stems from the Poor Laws, which "increase the parish allowances in proportion to the price of corn." Thus, given a limited supply, the Poor Laws force up the price of daily necessities. But he concludes by saying that in time of scarcity such Poor Laws, by raising the price of corn more evenly, actually produce a beneficial effect.[53]

1814: Observations on the effects of the Corn Laws

Although government in Britain had regulated the prices of grain, the Corn Laws originated in 1815. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars that year, Parliament passed legislation banning the importation of foreign corn into Britain until domestic corn cost 80 shillings per quarter. The high price caused the cost of food to increase and caused distress among the working classes in the towns. It led to serious rioting in London and to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819.[54][55]

In this pamphlet, printed during the parliamentary discussion, Malthus tentatively supported the free-traders. He argued that given the increasing cost of growing British corn, advantages accrued from supplementing it from cheaper foreign sources.

1820: Principles of political economy

In 1820 Malthus published Principles of Political Economy. 1836: Second edition, posthumously published. Malthus intended this work to rival Ricardo's Principles (1817).[56] It, and his 1827 Definitions in political economy, defended Sismondi's views on "general glut" rather than Say's Law, which in effect states "there can be no general glut".

Other publications

  • 1807. A letter to Samuel Whitbread, Esq. M.P. on his proposed Bill for the Amendment of the Poor Laws. Johnson and Hatchard, London.
  • 1808. Spence on Commerce. Edinburgh Review 11, January, 429–448.
  • 1808. Newneham and others on the state of Ireland. Edinburgh Review 12, July, 336–355.
  • 1809. Newneham on the state of Ireland, Edinburgh Review 14 April, 151–170.
  • 1811. Depreciation of paper currency. Edinburgh Review 17, February, 340–372.
  • 1812. Pamphlets on the bullion question. Edinburgh Review 18, August, 448–470.
  • 1813. A letter to the Rt. Hon. Lord Grenville. Johnson, London.
  • 1817. Statement respecting the East-India College. Murray, London.
  • 1821. Godwin on Malthus. Edinburgh Review 35, July, 362–377.
  • 1823. The Measure of Value, stated and illustrated
  • 1823. Tooke – On high and low prices. Quarterly Review, 29 (57), April, 214–239.
  • 1824. Political economy. Quarterly Review 30 (60), January, 297–334.
  • 1829. On the measure of the conditions necessary to the supply of commodities. Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom. 1, 171–180. John Murray, London.
  • 1829. On the meaning which is most usually and most correctly attached to the term Value of a Commodity. Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United Kingdom. 2, 74–81. John Murray.

Reception and influence

Malthus developed the theory of demand-supply mismatches that he called gluts. Discounted at the time, this theory foreshadowed later works of an admirer, John Maynard Keynes.[57]

The vast bulk of continuing commentary on Malthus, however, extends and expands on the "Malthusian controversy" of the early 19th century.

In popular culture

  • Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, represents the perceived ideas of Malthus,[58] famously illustrated by his explanation as to why he refuses to donate to the poor and destitute: "If they would rather die they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population". In general, Dickens had some Malthusian concerns (evident in Oliver Twist, Hard Times and other novels), and he concentrated his attacks on Utilitarianism and many of its proponents, like Bentham, whom he thought of, along with Malthus, as unjust and inhumane people.[59]
  • In Aldous Huxley's novel, Brave New World, people generally regard fertility as a nuisance, as in vitro breeding has enabled the society to maintain its population at precisely the level the controllers want. The women, therefore, carry contraceptives with them at all times in a "Malthusian belt".
  • Malthus and his ideas feature prominently in Adolfo Bioy Casares's novel The Invention of Morel
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Professor Bernardo de la Paz asks Manuel "Mannie" Garcia O'Kelly-Davis if he has read Malthus. After Mannie tells him he doesn't think so the Professor tells him to read Malthus but not until after their diplomatic work is over since "too many facts hamper a diplomat, especially an honest one." The Professor calls Malthus "a depressing man" and warns Mannie "it is never safe to laugh at Dr. Malthus; he always has the last laugh."
  • In George R. R. Martin's science fiction fix-up novel Tuf Voyaging, a planet struggling with overpopulation is named "S'uthlam", an anagram for Malthus.
  • In the television show Wiseguy, Kevin Spacey played Mel Proffitt, a self-professed "Malthusian" who quotes Thomas Malthus and keeps a bust of his likeness on display.
  • In the show Sliders, episode "Luck of the Draw", the gang slides to an Earth where Malthus’ theories are taken seriously and population is controlled through a lottery.
  • At the end of Urinetown, a Broadway musical about a dystopia where, in response to a devastating drought, people too poor to pay for restroom usage are killed as a means of population control, Officer Lockstock cries "Hail, Malthus!" and is echoed by the cast before the last chords of the finale play.
  • In the video game Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun the player can research the technology "Malthusian Thought" as a benefit to their country.
  • The video game Hydrophobia tells about some eco-terrorists who name themselves "Malthusians" because their ideology is based on Malthus' theories.
  • In Marvel's film Avengers: Infinity War, the main villain called Thanos appears to be motivated by Malthusian views about population growth.[60][61]

Epitaph

Epitaph of Thomas Malthus
The epitaph of Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus, just inside the entrance to Bath Abbey.

The epitaph of Malthus in Bath Abbey reads [with commas inserted for clarity]:

Sacred to the memory of the Rev THOMAS ROBERT MALTHUS, long known to the lettered world by his admirable writings on the social branches of political economy, particularly by his essay on population.

One of the best men and truest philosophers of any age or country, raised by native dignity of mind above the misrepresentation of the ignorant and the neglect of the great, he lived a serene and happy life devoted to the pursuit and communication of truth, supported by a calm but firm conviction of the usefulness of his labours, content with the approbation of the wise and good.

His writings will be a lasting monument of the extent and correctness of his understanding.

The spotless integrity of his principles, the equity and candour of his nature, his sweetness of temper, urbanity of manners and tenderness of heart, his benevolence and his piety are still dearer recollections of his family and friends.

Born February 14, 1766 - Died 29 December 1834.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Several sources give Malthus's date of death as 15 December 1834. See Meyers Konversationslexikon (Leipzig, 4th edition, 1885–1892), "Biography" by Nigel Malthus (the memorial transcription reproduced in this article). But article in Wikisource "Malthus, Thomas Robert" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 515. gives 23 December 1834.
  2. ^ Petersen, William. 1979. Malthus. Heinemann, London. 2nd ed 1999.
  3. ^ a b c "Malthus, Thomas Robert (MLTS784TR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. viii in Oxford World's Classics reprint.
  5. ^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter 1, p. 13 in Oxford World's Classics reprint.
  6. ^ Bowler, Peter J. (2003). Evolution: the history of an idea. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 104–05. ISBN 978-0-520-23693-6.
  7. ^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population, in Oxford World's Classics reprint. p. 61, end of Chapter VII
  8. ^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter V, pp. 39–45. in Oxford World's Classics reprint.
  9. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. xx.
  10. ^ Browne, Janet 1995. Charles Darwin: Voyaging. Cape, London. pp. 385–90
  11. ^ Raby P. 2001. Alfred Russel Wallace: a life. Princeton. pp. 21, 131
  12. ^ "Malthus, Thomas Robert". Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  13. ^ "Malthus TRM Biography". Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  14. ^ "Thomas Robert Malthus - Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com.
  15. ^ Petersen, William. 1979. Malthus. Heinemann, London. 2nd ed 1999. p. 21
  16. ^ a b John Avery (1997). Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-Reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus. Frank Cass. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-0-7146-4750-0. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  17. ^ Petersen, William. 1979. Malthus. Heinemann, London. 2nd ed 1999. p. 28
  18. ^ Thomas Robert Malthus (1997). T.R. Malthus: The Unpublished Papers in the Collection of Kanto Gakuen University. Cambridge University Press. p. 54 note 196. ISBN 978-0-521-58138-7. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  19. ^ G. Talbot Griffith (9 December 2010). Population Problems of the Age of Malthus. Cambridge University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-521-17863-1. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  20. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Otter, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. 42. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  21. ^ Burns, Arthur. "Otter, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20935. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  22. ^ Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat Condorcet (marquès de); William Godwin; Thomas Robert Malthus (1997). Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-Reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7146-4750-0. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  23. ^ Malthus T. R. 1798. The Essay of the Population Principle. Oxford World's Classics reprint: xxix Chronology.
  24. ^ Thomas Robert Malthus (1997). T.R. Malthus: The Unpublished Papers in the Collection of Kanto Gakuen University. Cambridge University Press. p. 120 notes. ISBN 978-0-521-58138-7. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  25. ^ Mary Poovey (1 December 1998). A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society. University of Chicago Press. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-226-67525-1. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  26. ^ On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street, by David Ricardo, 1817 (third edition 1821) – Chapter 6, On Profits: paragraph 28, "Thus, taking the former ..." and paragraph 33, "There can, however ..."
  27. ^ a b Sowell, pp. 193–4.
  28. ^ Donald Winch (26 January 1996). Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834. Cambridge University Press. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-521-55920-1. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  29. ^ Stefan Collini; Donald Winch; John Wyon Burrow (1983). That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in Nineteenth Century Intellectual History. CUP Archive. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-521-27770-9. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  30. ^ Leslie Stephen (1 March 2006). The English Utilitarians. 1. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-8264-8816-9. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  31. ^ Samuel Hollander (14 January 2005). Jean-Baptiste Say and the Classical Canon in Economics: The British Connection in French Classicism. Taylor & Francis. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-203-02228-3. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  32. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. xx in Oxford World's Classics reprint. xx
  33. ^ Cannan E. 1893. A History of the Theories of Production and Distribution in English Political Economy from 1776 to 1848. Kelly, New York.
  34. ^ Thomas Robert Malthus (1989). Principles of Political Economy. Cambridge University Press. p. lxviii. ISBN 978-0-521-24775-7. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  35. ^ a b c Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Malthus, Thomas Robert" . Dictionary of National Biography. 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  36. ^ Malthus, Thomas Robert (1827). Definitions in Political Economy. London: John Murray.
  37. ^ a b Malthus, Thomas Robert (2016). Definitions in Political Economy. McLean: Berkeley Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1-945208-01-0.
  38. ^ McCulloch, John Ramsay (1827-03-10). "A Review of Definitions in Political Economy by the Rev. T. R. Malthus". The Scotsman: 1.
  39. ^ McCulloch, John Ramsay (1825). The Principles of Political Economy. Edinburgh: William & Charles Tait.
  40. ^ Morton Paglin's "Introduction" to: Malthus, Thomas Robert (1986). Definitions in Political Economy. Fairfield, New Jersey: Augustus M. Kelley. p. xiii.
  41. ^ James P. Huzel (1 January 2006). The Popularization of Malthus in Early Nineteenth-Century England: Martineau, Cobbett And the Pauper Press. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7546-5427-8. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  42. ^ Donald Winch (26 January 1996). Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834. Cambridge University Press. pp. 371–72. ISBN 978-0-521-55920-1.
  43. ^ Painted by Linnell, and seen here in a cropped and scanned monochrome version.
  44. ^ Hodgson, M.H. 2004. Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834). In Rutherford D (ed) Biographical Dictionary of British Economists. Continuum, Bristol.
  45. ^ Martineau, Harriet 1877. Autobiography. 3 vols, Smith, Elder, London. vol 1, p. 327.
  46. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. viii
  47. ^ See, e.g., Peter Turchin 2003; Turchin and Korotayev 2006 Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine; Peter Turchin et al. 2007; Korotayev et al. 2006.
  48. ^ Oxford World's Classics reprint
  49. ^ Essay (1826), I:2. See also A:1:17
  50. ^ Malthus, Thomas Robert (2011-12-01). An Essay on the Principle of Population (Two Volumes in One). Cosimo, Inc. pp. 5–11. ISBN 9781616405700.
  51. ^ Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint, p. xviii
  52. ^ dates from Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint: xxix Chronology.
  53. ^ 1800: The present high price of provisions, paragraph 26
  54. ^ Hirst F. W. 1925. From Adam Smith to Philip Snowden: a history of free trade in Great Britain. Unwin, London. p88
  55. ^ Also: "The Corn Laws... safeguarded farmers from the consequences of their wartime euphoria, when farms had changed hands at the fanciest prices, loans and mortgages had been accepted on impossible terms." Eric Hobsbawm 1999. Industry and Empire: the birth of the Industrial Revolution, p. 175
  56. ^ See Malthus, Thomas Robert (1820). "Principles of Political Economy Considered with a View of their Practical Application" (1 ed.). London: John Murray. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  57. ^ Steven G. Medema; Warren J. Samuels (2003). The History of Economic Thought: A Reader. Routledge. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-415-20550-4. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  58. ^ Dickens, Charles (1845). A Christmas carol in prose. Bradword, Evans. p. 14.
  59. ^ Paroissien, David (2008). A companion to Charles Dickens. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-3097-4.
  60. ^ "Avengers: Infinity War-Thanos, the Malthusian Purple Dude is the Best Villain of MCU". News18. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  61. ^ Orr, Christopher. "'Avengers: Infinity War' Is an Extraordinary Juggling Act". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-04-27.

References

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Malthus, Thomas Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • Dupâquier, J. 2001. Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834). International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 9151–56. Abstract.
  • Elwell, Frank W. 2001. A commentary on Malthus's 1798 Essay on Population as social theory. Mellon Press.
  • Evans, L.T. 1998. Feeding the ten billion – plants and population growth. Cambridge University Press. Paperback, 247 pages.
  • Klaus Hofmann: Beyond the Principle of Population. Malthus’ Essay. In: The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. Bd. 20 (2013), H. 3, S. 399–425, doi:10.1080/09672567.2012.654805.
  • Hollander, Samuel 1997. The Economics of Thomas Robert Malthus. University of Toronto Press. Dedicated to Malthus by the author. ISBN 0-521-64685-5.
  • James, Patricia 1979. Population Malthus: his life and times. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Malthus, Thomas Robert. Definitions in Political Economy. Edited by Alexander K Bocast. Critical edition. McLean: Berkeley Bridge Press, 2016. ISBN 978-1-945208-01-0.
  • Peterson, William 1999. Malthus, founder of modern demography 2nd ed. Transaction. ISBN 0-7658-0481-6.
  • Rohe, John F., A Bicentennial Malthusian Essay: conservation, population and the indifference to limits, Rhodes & Easton, Traverse City, MI. 1997
  • Sowell, Thomas, The General Glut Controversy Reconsidered, Oxford Economic Papers New Series, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Nov., 1963), pp. 193–203. Published by: Oxford University Press. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2661714
  • Spiegel, Henry William (1991) [1971]. The growth of economic thought (3 ed.). Durham: Duke University Press. p. 868. ISBN 978-0-8223-0965-9.

Further reading

  • Bashford, Alison, and Joyce E. Chaplin. The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Rereading the Principle of Population (Princeton University Press, 2016). vii + 353 pp. excerpt; also online review
  • Elwell, Frank W. 2001. A Commentary on Malthus' 1798 Essay on Population as social theory E. Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY. ISBN 0-7734-7669-5.
  • Heilbroner, Robert, The Worldly Philosophers – the lives, times, and ideas of the great economic thinkers. (1953) commentary
  • Mayhew, Robert J. (2014). Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72871-4.
  • Negative Population Growth organization: a collection of essays for the Malthus Bicentenary
  • National Academics Forum, Australia: a collection of essays for the Malthus Bicentenary Conference, 1998
  • Conceptual origins of Malthus's Essay on Population, facsimile reprint of 8 Books in 6 volumes, edited by Yoshinobu Nanagita (ISBN 978-4-902454-14-7) www.aplink.co.jp/ep/4-902454-14-9.htm
  • National Geographic Magazine, June 2009 article, "The Global Food Crisis,"[1]

External links

Absolute advantage

In economics, the principle of absolute advantage refers to the ability of a party (an individual, or firm, or country) to produce a greater quantity of a good, product, or service than competitors, using the same amount of resources. Adam Smith first described the principle of absolute advantage in the context of international trade, using labor as the only input.

Since absolute advantage is determined by a simple comparison of labor productiveness, it is possible for a party to have no absolute advantage in anything.

Classical economics

Classical economics or classical political economy is a school of thought in economics that flourished, primarily in Britain, in the late 18th and early-to-mid 19th century. Its main thinkers are held to be Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, and John Stuart Mill. These economists produced a theory of market economies as largely self-regulating systems, governed by natural laws of production and exchange (famously captured by Adam Smith's metaphor of the invisible hand).

Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776 is usually considered to mark the beginning of classical economics. The fundamental message in Smith's book was that the wealth of any nation was determined not by the gold in the monarch's coffers, but by its national income. This income was in turn based on the labor of its inhabitants, organized efficiently by the division of labour and the use of accumulated capital, which became one of classical economics' central concepts.In terms of economic policy, the classical economists were pragmatic liberals, advocating the freedom of the market, though they saw a role for the state in providing for the common good. Smith acknowledged that there were areas where the market is not the best way to serve the common interest, and he took it as a given that the greater proportion of the costs supporting the common good should be borne by those best able to afford them. He warned repeatedly of the dangers of monopoly, and stressed the importance of competition. In terms of international trade, the classical economists were advocates of free trade, which distinguishes them from their mercantilist predecessors, who advocated protectionism.

The designation of Smith, Ricardo and some earlier economists as 'classical' is due to Karl Marx, to distinguish the 'greats' of economic theory from their 'vulgar' successors. There is some debate about what is covered by the term "classical economics", particularly when dealing with the period from 1830–75, and how classical economics relates to neoclassical economics.

Classical liberalism

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanisation and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress. The term classical liberalism has often been applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.

Demand shock

In economics, a demand shock is a sudden event that increases or decreases demand for goods or services temporarily.

A positive demand shock increases aggregate demand (AD) and a negative demand shock decreases aggregate demand. Prices of goods and services are affected in both cases. When demand for goods or services increases, its price (or price levels) increases because of a shift in the demand curve to the right. When demand decreases, its price decreases because of a shift in the demand curve to the left. Demand shocks can originate from changes in things such as tax rates, money supply, and government spending. For example, taxpayers owe the government less money after a tax cut, thereby freeing up more money available for personal spending. When the taxpayers use the money to purchase goods and services, their prices go up.In the midst of a poor economic situation in the United Kingdom in November 2002, the Bank of England's deputy governor, Mervyn King, warned that the domestic economy was sufficiently imbalanced that it ran the risk of causing a "large negative demand shock" in the near future. At the London School of Economics, he elaborated by saying, "Beneath the surface of overall stability in the UK economy lies a remarkable imbalance between a buoyant consumer and housing sector, on the one hand, and weak external demand on the other."During the global financial crisis of 2008, a negative demand shock in the United States economy was caused by several factors that included falling house prices, the subprime mortgage crisis, and lost household wealth, which led to a drop in consumer spending. To counter this negative demand shock, the Federal Reserve System lowered interest rates. Before the crisis occurred, the world's economy experienced a positive global supply shock. Immediately afterward, however, a positive global demand shock led to global overheating and rising inflationary pressures.

Diminishing returns

In economics, diminishing returns is the decrease in the marginal (incremental) output of a production process as the amount of a single factor of production is incrementally increased, while the amounts of all other factors of production stay constant.

The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant ("ceteris paribus"), will at some point yield lower incremental per-unit returns. The law of diminishing returns does not imply that adding more of a factor will decrease the total production, a condition known as negative returns, though in fact this is common.

A common example is adding more people to a job, such as the assembly of a car on a factory floor. At some point, adding more workers causes problems such as workers getting in each other's way or frequently finding themselves waiting for access to a part. In all of these processes, producing one more unit of output per unit of time will eventually require increasingly more usage of the input, due to the input being used less effectively. Another well-studied example is throwing more headcount at software development, yielding Brooks's law.

The law of diminishing returns is a fundamental principle of economics. It plays a central role in production theory.

Economic impact analysis

An economic impact analysis (EIA) examines the effect of an event on the economy in a specified area, ranging from a single neighborhood to the entire globe. It usually measures changes in business revenue, business profits, personal wages, and/or jobs. The economic event analyzed can include implementation of a new policy or project, or may simply be the presence of a business or organization. An economic impact analysis is commonly conducted when there is public concern about the potential impacts of a proposed project or policy.An economic impact analysis typically measures or estimates the change in economic activity between two scenarios, one assuming the economic event occurs, and one assuming it does not occur (which is referred to as the counterfactual case). This can be accomplished either before or after the event (ex ante or ex post).

Family economics

Family economics applies basic economic concepts such as production, division of labor, distribution, and decision making to the study of the family. Using economic analysis it tries to explain outcomes unique to family—such as marriage, the decision to have children, fertility, polygamy, time devoted to domestic production, and dowry payments.

The family, although recognized as fundamental from Adam Smith onward, received little systematic treatment in economics before the 1960s. Important exceptions are Thomas Robert Malthus' model of population growth and Friedrich Engels' pioneering work on the structure of family, the latter being often mentioned in Marxist and feminist economics. Since the 1960s, family economics has developed within mainstream economics, propelled by the new home economics started by Gary Becker, Jacob Mincer, and their students. Standard themes include:

fertility and the demand for children in developed and developing countries

child health and mortality

interrelation and trade-off of 'quantity' and 'quality' of children through investment of time and other resources of parents

altruism in the family, including the rotten kid theorem

sexual division of labor, intra-household bargaining, and the household production function.

mate selection, search costs, marriage, divorce, and imperfect information

family organization, background, and opportunities for children

intergenerational mobility and inequality, including the bequest motive.

human capital, social security, and the rise and fall of families

macroeconomics of the family.Several surveys, treatises, and handbooks are available on the subject.

Francesco Saverio Nitti

Francesco Saverio Vincenzo de Paolo Nitti (19 July 1868 – 20 February 1953) was an Italian economist and political figure. A Radical, he served as Prime Minister of Italy between 1919 and 1920.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Theories of Overpopulation"), Nitti (Population and the Social System, 1894) was a staunch critic of English economist Thomas Robert Malthus and his Principle of Population. He was an important meridionalist and studied the origins of Southern Italian problems that arose after Italian unification.

Giammaria Ortes

Abbé Giovanni Maria Ortes (March 1713 – 1790) was a Venetian composer, economist, mathematician, Camaldolese monk, and philosopher. He is better known for his population predictions that preceded those of Malthus.

Ortes belonged to the Camaldolese monastic order. He was probably the first person, according to Adam Ferguson, to use the term "economics" for the science in which he exercised a remarkable activity, particularly in his works Economia Nazionale (1774) and Riflessioni sulla popolazione (1790), which along with other of his works were reprinted in Pietro Custodi's anthologies "Scrittori classici italiani di economia politica" (1802–16). He was opposed to mercantilism.

He anticipated certain doctrines of Adam Smith and Thomas Robert Malthus, especially the latter, as he felt that the population propagation, if it were allowed free rein, would take place in a geometric progression with a doubling every 30 years. No one knows exactly how he died.

Goods and services

Goods are items that are tangible, such as pens, salt, apples, and hats. Services are activities provided by other people, who include doctors, lawn care workers, dentists, barbers, waiters, or online servers. Taken together, it is the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services which underpins all economic activity and trade. According to economic theory, consumption of goods and services is assumed to provide utility (satisfaction) to the consumer or end-user, although businesses also consume goods and services in the course of producing other goods and services.

Income and fertility

Income and fertility is the association between monetary gain on one hand, and the tendency to produce offspring on the other. There is generally an inverse correlation between income and the total fertility rate within and between nations. The higher the degree of education and GDP per capita of a human population, subpopulation or social stratum, the fewer children are born in any industrialized country. In a 1974 UN population conference in Bucharest, Karan Singh, a former minister of population in India, illustrated this trend by stating "Development is the best contraceptive."

Malthusian growth model

A Malthusian growth model, sometimes called a simple exponential growth model, is essentially exponential growth based on the idea of the function being proportional to the speed to which the function grows. The model is named after Thomas Robert Malthus, who wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), one of the earliest and most influential books on population.

Malthusian models have the following form:

where

The model can also been written in the form of a differential equation:

dP/dt = rP

with initial condition: P(0)= P0

This model is often referred to as the exponential law. It is widely regarded in the field of population ecology as the first principle of population dynamics, with Malthus as the founder. The exponential law is therefore also sometimes referred to as the Malthusian Law. By now, it is a widely accepted view to analogize Malthusian growth in Ecology to Newton's First Law of uniform motion in physics.

Malthus wrote that all life forms, including humans, have a propensity to exponential population growth when resources are abundant but that actual growth is limited by available resources:

A model of population growth bounded by resource limitations was developed by Pierre Francois Verhulst in 1838, after he had read Malthus' essay. Verhulst named the model a logistic function.

Malthusian trap

The Malthusian trap or population trap is a condition whereby excess population would stop growing due to shortage of food supply leading to starvation. It is named for Thomas Robert Malthus, who suggested that while technological advances could increase a society's supply of resources, such as food, and thereby improve the standard of living, the resource abundance would enable population growth, which would eventually bring the per capita supply of resources back to its original level. Some economists contend that since the industrial revolution, mankind has broken out of the trap. Others argue that the continuation of extreme poverty indicates that the Malthusian trap continues to operate. Others further argue that due to lack of food availability coupled with excessive pollution, developing countries show more evidence of the trap.

Malthusianism

Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply is linear. It derives from the political and economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus believed there were two types of "checks" that in all times and places kept population growth in line with the growth of the food supply: "preventive checks", such as moral restraints (abstinence, delayed marriage until finances become balanced), and restricting marriage against persons suffering poverty or perceived as defective, and "positive checks", which lead to premature death such as disease, starvation and war, resulting in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe. The catastrophe would return population to a lower, more "sustainable", level. Malthusianism has been linked to a variety of political and social movements, but almost always refers to advocates of population control.Neo-Malthusianism is the advocacy of population control programs to ensure resources for current and future populations. In Britain the term 'Malthusian' can also refer more specifically to arguments made in favour of preventive birth control, hence organizations such as the Malthusian League. Neo-Malthusians differ from Malthus's theories mainly in their enthusiasm for contraception. Malthus, a devout Christian, believed that "self-control" (abstinence) was preferable to artificial birth control. In some editions of his essay, Malthus did allow that abstinence was unlikely to be effective on a wide scale, thus advocating the use of artificial means of birth control as a solution to population "pressure". Modern "neo-Malthusians" are generally more concerned than Malthus was with environmental degradation and catastrophic famine than with poverty.

Malthusianism has attracted criticism from a diverse range of differing schools of thought, including Marxists and socialists, libertarians and free market enthusiasts, social conservatives, feminists and human rights advocates, characterising it as excessively pessimistic, misanthropic or inhuman. Many critics believe Malthusianism has been discredited since the publication of Principle of Population, often citing advances in agricultural techniques and modern reductions in human fertility. Many modern proponents believe that the basic concept of population growth eventually outstripping resources is still fundamentally valid, and "positive checks" are still likely in humanity's future if there is no action to curb population growth.

Mjøsa

Mjøsa is Norway's largest lake, as well as one of the deepest lakes in Norway and in Europe. It is the fourth-deepest lake in Norway. It is located in the southern part of Norway, about 100 km north of Oslo. Its main tributary is Gudbrandsdalslågen in the north; the only distributary is Vorma in the south. Inflows would theoretically need 5.6 years to fill the lake. With an average depth of 153 meters most of the lakes volume is under sea level. Average outflow (measured 1931-1982) is 316 m3/s or 9959 million m3.Thomas Robert Malthus travelled through Norway in 1799 and his diaries from the trip includes a description of Mjøsa. Malthus wrote that Mjøsa appears as both lake and river because the shores are defined by mountains and where the valley becomes wider the water fills the space. Below Minde (Minnesund) the lake only appears like a river and is called Vorma on the map, according to Malthus.

Shrinkflation

In economics, shrinkflation is the process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality while their prices remain the same or increase. The word is a portmanteau of the words shrink and inflation. The term's coined has been attributed to both Pippa Malmgren and Brian Domitrovic.

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