Malthus: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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With world population today edging over seven billion, and with projections for it to reach nine billion by mid-century, the ideas of eighteenth-century English cleric Thomas Malthus-and his grim prediction that war, plague, and famine are the inevitable response to overpopulation--loom ever larger on the horizon. But if Malthus is a familiar name to most educated people, few of us have read his famous and controversial work, Essay on the Principle of Population, and indeed few have but a sketchy notion of his ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Donald Winch explains and clarifies Malthus's thought, assessing the profound influence he has had on modern economics. Concentrating on his writings, Winch sheds light on the context in which he wrote and why his work has remained controversial. Looking at Malthus's early life as well as the evolution of his theories from population to political economy, Winch considers why and how Malthus's writings have been so influential in the thought of later figures such as Charles Darwin and John Maynard Keynes.
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IRELAND • Senia Paseta MODERN JAPAN • Christopher Goto-Jones MODERNISM • Christopher Butler MOLECULES • Philip Ball MORMONISM • Richard Lyman Bushman MUSIC • Nicholas Cook MYTH • Robert A. Segal NATIONALISM • Steven Grosby NELSON MANDELA • Elleke Boehmer NEOLIBERALISM • Manfred Steger and Ravi Roy THE NEW TESTAMENT • Luke Timothy Johnson THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE • Kyle Keefer NEWTON • Robert Iliffe NIETZSCHE • Michael Tanner NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN • Christopher Harvie and
risen higher than they might otherwise have done on grounds of scarcity alone. The granting of assistance according to the gap between money wages and the cost of supporting a family at existing food prices merely placed extra purchasing power in the hands of poor families and enabled them to bid up the price of a fixed stock of food to both themselves and others not in receipt of assistance. Nevertheless, while reiterating his opposition to the Poor Laws in general, Malthus believed that in the
the additions made to the Essay in 1817 and after, Malthus increasingly called upon an economic diagnosis based on cyclical deficiencies in ‘effective demand’ to explain recurrent bouts of distress—a diagnosis which will be considered more fully in a later chapter. The years following the peace settlement were certainly marked by severe unemployment and trade depression, which in turn were accompanied by violence and agitation for parliamentary reform. In the aftermath of the ‘Peterloo massacre’
left unfulfilled in ways that imperilled the continuity of economic life. Cycles The earliest signs of this interest are to be found in the treatment given to ‘perpetual oscillation’ in the first Essay—to the cycles, perhaps of some sixteen to eighteen years’ duration, which arose from the delayed response of population to the rise or fall in real wages. This helped to explain periodic oversupply, unemployment, and general distress. Ricardo put his finger on a major difference between
example, Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin (London: Michael Joseph, 1991). Index A Africa 91 America, Latin 87, 91 America, United States of 21, 25, 66, 98 Arkwright, Robert 74 Asia 91 Australasia 98 B Bagehot, Walter 108 benevolence, role of 4, 29 Bentham, Jeremy 109 British Association for the Advancement of Science 99 Buchanan, David 70, 72 Burke, Edmund 17–18, 26–7 C Catholic emancipation 50 capital accumulation 58, 66, 85, 88 Carlyle, Thomas 6 census, evidence