Thomas Robert Malthus

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Thomas Robert Malthus
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{{short description|British political economist}}{{Redirect|Malthus|the demon|Malthus (demon)}}{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2012}}{{Use British English|date=August 2012}}

|birth_date = 13/14 February 1766|birth_place = Westcott, Surrey, England1834232df=y}}|death_place = Bath, Somerset, England|nationality = British|alma_mater = Jesus College, Cambridge|field = Demography, macroeconomics|influences = David Ricardo, Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi|influenced = Charles Darwin, John Maynard Keynes, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thanos|contributions = Malthusian growth model}}Thomas Robert Malthus {{postnominals|country=GBR|FRS}} ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|m|æ|l|θ|É™|s}}; 13 February 1766 â€“ 23 December 1834)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 EB1911, Malthus, Thomas Robert, 17, 515, x, gives 23 December 1834. was an English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography.BOOK, William, Petersen, Malthus: Founder of Modern Demography, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1979, 9780674544253, 19, 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, humans 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.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. 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".BOOK, Thomas Robert, Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Oxford World's Classics, Oxfordshire, England, 978-1450535540, 13, As an Anglican cleric, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour.BOOK, Peter J., Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2003, 978-0-520-23693-6, 104-05, Malthus wrote:Malthus criticized the Poor Laws for leading to inflation rather than improving the well-being of the poor.Malthus, pp. 39–45 He supported taxes on grain imports (the Corn Laws), because food security was more important than maximizing wealth.Malthus, pp. xx 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.BOOK, Janet, Browne, Charles Darwin: Voyaging, Random House, New York City, 1995, 978-1407053202, 385–90, BOOK, Peter, Raby, Alfred Russel Wallace: a Life, ]Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2001, 0-691-00695-4, 21, 131, He remains a much-debated writer.Malthus himself used only his middle name, Robert.{{acad|id=MLTS784TR|name=Malthus, Thomas Robert}}

Early life and education

The sixthWEB,weblink Malthus, Thomas Robert, 2019-01-04, child of Henrietta Catherine (Graham) and Daniel Malthus,WEB,weblink Malthus TRM Biography, 2010-02-13, WEB,weblink Thomas Robert Malthus -,, 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".Petersen, William. 1979. Malthus. Heinemann, London. 2nd ed 1999. p. 21 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.BOOK, John, Avery, Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-Reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus,weblink 14 June 2013, 1997, Psychology Press, London, England, 978-0-7146-4750-0, 56–57, 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.Petersen, William. 1979. Malthus. Heinemann, London. 2nd ed 1999. p. 28 He took the MA degree in 1791, and was elected a Fellow of Jesus College two years later. 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.BOOK, Thomas Robert, Malthus, T.R. Malthus: The Unpublished Papers in the Collection of Kanto Gakuen University,weblink 14 June 2013, 1997, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 978-0-521-58138-7, 54 note 196,

Population growth

{{details|Malthusian catastrophe}}(File:Malthus - Essay on the principle of population, 1826 - 5884843.tif|thumb|Essay on the principle of population, 1826)Malthus was a demographer before he was ever considered an economist. He first came to prominence for his 1798 publication, An Essay on the Principle of Population. In it, he raised the question of how population growth related to the economy. He affirmed that there were many events, good and bad, that affected the economy in ways no one had ever deliberated upon before. The main point of his essay was that population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically; therefore, whenever the food supply increases, population will rapidly grow to eliminate the abundance. Thus eventually, in the future, there wouldn’t be enough food for the whole of humanity to consume and people would starve. Until that point, however, the more food made available, the more the population would increase. He also stated that there was a fight for survival amongst humans, and that only the strong who could attain food and other needs would survive, unlike the impoverished population he saw during his time period.Malthus 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. He also constructed his case as a specific response to writings of William Godwin (1756–1836) and of the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794). His assertions evoked questions and criticism, and between 1798 and 1826 he published six more versions 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. Even so, the propositions made in An Essay were shocking to the public and largely disregarded during the 19th century. The negativity surrounding his essay created a space filled with opinions on population growth, connected with either praise or criticism of ideas about contraception and the future of agriculture.The Malthusian controversy to which the Essay gave rise in the decades following its publication tended to focus attention on the birth rate and marriage rates. The neo-Malthusian controversy, comprising related debates of many years later, has seen a similar central role assigned to the numbers of children born.BOOK, G. Talbot, Griffith, Population Problems of the Age of Malthus,weblink 14 June 2013, 9 December 2010, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 0-691-10240-6, 97, On the whole it may be said that Malthus's revolutionary ideas in the sphere of population growth remain relevant to economic thought even today and continue to make economists ponder about the future.

Travel and further career

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.DNB, Otter, William, 42, ODNB, 20935, Otter, William, Arthur, Burns, During the Peace of Amiens of 1802 he travelled to France and Switzerland, in a party that included his relation and future wife Harriet.BOOK, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas, de Caritat Condorcet (marquès de), Marquis de Condorcet, William, Godwin, William Godwin, Thomas Robert, Malthus, John, Avery, Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-Reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus,weblink 14 June 2013, 1997, Routledge, Abingdon, England, 978-0-7146-4750-0, 64, In 1803 he became rector of Walesby, Lincolnshire.In 1805 Malthus became Professor of History and Political Economy at the East India Company College in Hertfordshire.Malthus T. R. 1798. The Essay of the Population Principle. Oxford World's Classics reprint: xxix, Chronology. His students affectionately referred to him as "Pop", "Population", or "web-toe" Malthus.Near 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 within the same year, 1817.BOOK, Thomas Robert Malthus, T.R. Malthus: The Unpublished Papers in the Collection of Kanto Gakuen University,weblink 14 June 2013, 1997, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-58138-7, 120 notes, 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 among the exponents of political economy, often called the "Malthus–Ricardo debate" after its leading figures, Malthus and theorist of free trade David Ricardo, 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.BOOK, Mary, Poovey, Mary Poovey, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society,weblink 14 June 2013, 1 December 1998, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 978-0-226-67525-1, 295, 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.On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street, by David Ricardo, 1817 (third edition 1821) â€“ Chapter 6, On Profits: paragraph 28, "Thus, taking the former ..." and paragraph 33, "There can, however ..." Contrary to this concept, Malthus proposed rent to be a kind of economic surplus.{{citation needed|date=June 2015}}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.Sowell, pp. 193–4. 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.BOOK, Donald, Winch, Donald Winch, Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834,weblink 14 June 2013, 26 January 1996, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 978-0-521-55920-1, 365, Ricardo corresponded with Malthus from 1817 about 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 in his own work Principles of Political Economy (1820) and elsewhere, addressed the tension, amounting to conflict, he saw between a narrow view of political economy, and the broader moral and political plane.BOOK, Stefan Collini, Donald Winch, John Wyon Burrow, That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in Nineteenth Century Intellectual History,weblink 14 June 2013, 1983, CUP Archive, 978-0-521-27770-9, 65, 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.BOOK, Leslie Stephen, The English Utilitarians,weblink 14 June 2013, 1 March 2006, Continuum International Publishing Group, 978-0-8264-8816-9, 238, 1, After Ricardo's death in 1823, Malthus became isolated among the younger British political economists, who tended to think he had lost the debate.{{Citation needed|date=May 2017}}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. 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.BOOK, Samuel Hollander, Jean-Baptiste Say and the Classical Canon in Economics: The British Connection in French Classicism,weblink 14 June 2013, 14 January 2005, Taylor & Francis, 978-0-203-02228-3, 170, 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.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 series. xx He changed his mind after 1814. By encouraging domestic production, Malthus argued, the Corn Laws would guarantee British self-sufficiency in food.Cannan E. 1893. A History of the Theories of Production and Distribution in English Political Economy from 1776 to 1848. Kelly, New York.

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.BOOK, Thomas Robert Malthus, Principles of Political Economy,weblink 14 June 2013, 1989, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-24775-7, lxviii, 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.DNB, Malthus, Thomas Robert, 36, 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.BOOK, Malthus, Thomas Robert, Definitions in Political Economy, 1827, John Murray, London, 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.BOOK, Malthus, Thomas Robert, Definitions in Political Economy, 2016, Berkeley Bridge Press, McLean, 978-1-945208-01-0,weblink 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.JOURNAL, McCulloch, John Ramsay, A Review of Definitions in Political Economy by the Rev. T. R. Malthus, The Scotsman, 1827-03-10, 1, 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,BOOK, McCulloch, John Ramsay, The Principles of Political Economy, 1825, William & Charles Tait, Edinburgh, and his counter-attack "does little credit to his reputation", being largely "personal derogation" of Malthus.Morton Paglin's "Introduction" to: BOOK, Malthus, Thomas Robert, Definitions in Political Economy, 1986, Augustus M. Kelley, Fairfield, New Jersey, xiii, 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.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.BOOK, James P. Huzel, The Popularization of Malthus in Early Nineteenth-Century England: Martineau, Cobbett And the Pauper Press,weblink 14 June 2013, 1 January 2006, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 978-0-7546-5427-8, 38, On the other hand, Malthus did have supporters: Thomas Chalmers, some of the Oriel Noetics, Richard Jones and William Whewell from Cambridge.BOOK, Donald Winch, Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834, 26 January 1996, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-55920-1, 371–72, Malthus died suddenly of heart disease on 23 December 1834, at his father-in-law's house. He was buried in Bath Abbey. His portrait,Painted by Linnell, and seen here in a cropped and scanned monochrome version. and descriptions by contemporaries, present him as tall and good-looking, but with a cleft lip and palate.BOOK, M.H, Hodgson, Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834), Donald, Rutherford, Biographical Dictionary of British Economists, Bloomsbury Academic, London, England, 2007, 9781843711513, The cleft palate affected his speech: such birth defects had occurred before amongst his relatives.Martineau, Harriet 1877. Autobiography. 3 vols, Smith, Elder, London. vol 1, p. 327.


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.

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: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.Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint. viiiThe 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.See, e.g., Peter Turchin 2003; Turchin and Korotayev 2006 {{webarchive|url= |date=29 February 2012 }}; Peter Turchin et al. 2007; Korotayev et al. 2006.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: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.Essay (1826), I:2. See also A:1:17 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.BOOK,weblink An Essay on the Principle of Population (Two Volumes in One), Malthus, Thomas Robert, 2011-12-01, Cosimo, Inc., 9781616405700, 5–11, en, 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."Geoffrey Gilbert, introduction to Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint, p. xviii

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.dates from Malthus T.R. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Oxford World's Classics reprint: xxix Chronology.

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.1800: The present high price of provisions, paragraph 26

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.{{clarify|date=April 2018}} 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.BOOK, Francis Wrigley, Hirst, From Adam Smith to Philip Snowden: a History of Free Trade in Great Britain, T. Fisher Unwin, London, England, 1925, B007T0ONNO, 88, BOOK, Eric, Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: The Birth of the Industrial Revolution, The New Press, New York City, 1999, 978-1565845619, 175, 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, 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).See JOURNAL, Malthus, Thomas Robert, 1820, Principles of Political Economy Considered with a View of their Practical Application, 1, John Murray, 1820, London,weblink 7 December 2012, 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".{{citation needed|date=June 2015}}

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 â€“ 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

{{details|An Essay on the Principle of Population#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.BOOK, Steven G. Medema, Warren J. Samuels, The History of Economic Thought: A Reader,weblink 14 June 2013, 2003, Routledge, 978-0-415-20550-4, 291, The vast bulk of continuing commentary on Malthus, however, extends and expands on the "Malthusian controversy" of the early 19th century.

In popular culture

{{In popular culture|date=January 2018}}
  • Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, represents the perceived ideas of Malthus,BOOK, Dickens, Charles, A Christmas carol in prose, 14, Bradword, Evans, 1845,weblink 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.BOOK, Paroissien, David, A companion to Charles Dickens,weblink 2008, John Wiley and Sons, 978-1-4051-3097-4,
  • 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.
  • The video game Hydrophobia tells about some eco-terrorists who name themselves "Malthusians" because their ideology is based on Malthus' theories.
  • The musical 'Urinetown' ends with the surviving characters saying 'Hail Malthus'.
  • In Marvel's film (Avengers: Infinity War), the main villain called Thanos appears to be motivated by Malthusian views about population growth.NEWS,weblink Avengers: Infinity War-Thanos, the Malthusian Purple Dude is the Best Villain of MCU, News18, 2018-04-27, NEWS,weblink 'Avengers: Infinity War' Is an Extraordinary Juggling Act, Orr, Christopher, The Atlantic, 2018-04-27, en-US,
  • Malthus is referenced in the Ramshackle Glory song "From Here to Utopia"


File:Epitaph of Thomas Malthus.jpg|thumb|right|The epitaph of Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus, just inside the entrance to Bath AbbeyBath AbbeyThe 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

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  • {{DNB|wstitle=Malthus, Thomas Robert|volume=36}}
  • Dupâquier, J. 2001. Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834). International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 9151–56. weblink" title="">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 â€“ 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:weblink
  • BOOK, Spiegel, Henry William, Henry William Spiegel, The growth of economic thought, 3, 1971, 1991, Duke University Press, Durham, 978-0-8223-0965-9, 868,

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 â€“ the lives, times, and ideas of the great economic thinkers. (1953) commentary
  • BOOK, Mayhew, Robert J., 2014, Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet, Cambridge, MA, Belknap Press, 978-0-674-72871-4,
  • weblink" title="">Negative Population Growth organization: a collection of essays for the Malthus Bicentenary
  • weblink" title="">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}})
  • National Geographic Magazine, June 2009 article, "The Global Food Crisis,"weblink

External links

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