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Thomas Malthus
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Thomas Malthus
Thomas Robert Malthus

Born: February 2, 1766 in Dorking, Surrey (south of London)
Died: December 23, 1834 in Haileybury, Hertfordshire
Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society: 1819

Political Science

Major Works:
An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)
An Investigation of the Cause of the Present High Price of Provisions (1800)
The Measure of Value Stated and Illustrated (1823)
A Summary View of the Principle of Population (1830)
The Principles of Political Economy (1836)

Thomas Malthus became most famous for his early work "An Essay on the Principle of Population," published anonymously in 1798. In it. Malthus presented a new and controversial view on population, namely that it naturally tends to increase more and more - but always faster than the natural resources required to sustain that population. Whereas population will increase geometrically, natural resources can only increase arithmetically.

The ultimate result of this, if unchecked, would be overpopulation, starvation, disease, war, etc. - nothing that anyone really wants. Thus, it is incumbant upon governments to work to reduce population increases in order to preserve the future stability of society. The consequences of an unchecked population has become known as a Malthusians catastrophe. Malthus' idea that a population is necessarily limited in its development by the nature of its resources had an important influence on the ideas of Charles Darwin.

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