We are currently undergoing maintainence, please come back soon. Jump to navigation Jump to essays on overpopulation “Malthus” redirects here. Thomas Robert Malthus Wellcome L0069037 -crop.
English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography. Malthus himself used only his middle name, Robert. 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. That the superior power of population is repressed by moral restraint, vice and misery. Malthus criticized the Poor Laws for leading to inflation rather than improving the well-being of the poor. Daniel Malthus, Robert Malthus grew up in The Rookery, a country house in Westcott, near Dorking in Surrey.
Malthus entered Jesus College, Cambridge in 1784. There he took prizes in English declamation, Latin and Greek, and graduated with honours, Ninth Wrangler in mathematics. Malthus came to prominence for his 1798 essay on population growth. 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. 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. In 1805 Malthus became Professor of History and Political Economy at the East India Company College in Hertfordshire. His students affectionately referred to him as “Pop” or “Population” Malthus. At the end of 1816 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. 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. 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. Malthus addressed the tension, amounting to conflict, he saw between a narrow view of political economy, and the broader moral and political plane. 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. After Ricardo’s death in 1823, Malthus became isolated among the younger British political economists, who tended to think he had lost the debate.