Malthus, Thomas

Malthus, Thomas

(1766–1834) an English clergyman whose pessimistic ideas on POPULATION growth were published in his Essay on the Principle of Population as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society (1798). Malthus argued that land is finite and that its productivity can, at best, increase only arithmetically (1,2,3,4, etc.), while population increases geometrically (1,2,4,8, etc.), so that the increase in population tends to outrun the increase in food supply. Consequently, most people would be condemned to live in misery and poverty with wars, epidemics and famines serving to slow the growth of population.

Malthus‘s gloomy view of population growth contrasted sharply with the optimistic views about long-term economic development held by his contemporaries and contributed to the belief that economics was the ‘dismal science’. Although Malthus did not foresee the dramatic improvements in agricultural techniques that have occurred nor the tendency for population growth to slow in industrialized countries, his ideas still cause concern, especially in

DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. See DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION. managed exchange rate see FLOATING EXCHANGE-RATE SYSTEM, FIXED EXCHANGE-RATE SYSTEM.

References in periodicals archive ?
lv MALTHUS, Thomas Robert, Observations on the effects of the Corn Laws, and of a rise or fall in the price of corn on the agriculture and general wealth of the country, London 1814, 44p.
lviii MALTHUS, Thomas Robert, An inquiry into the nature and progress of rent, and the principles by which it is regulated, London 1815, [i]+61p.
Malthus, Thomas Robert, (1998) [1798]: Ensayo sobre el principio de la poblacion, Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Economica.
Economists Most Often Cited in Principles of Economics Texts Rank Individual Citations 1 Keynes, John Maynard 78 2 Smith, Adam 76 3 Friedman, Milton 45 4 Ricardo, David 37 5 Marx, Karl 34 6 Malthus, Thomas 30 7 Marshall, Alfred 20 7 Schumpeter, Joseph 20 9 Okun, Arthur 19 10 Stigler, George J.