Thomas Malthus

’ Theory On Population Essay, Research Paper

Thomas Malthus?s studies on the growth of

population led to the development of the field of demography. According to

Malthus, population tends to increase faster than the supply of food available

for its needs. Whenever a relative gain occurs in food production over

population growth, a higher rate of population increase is stimulated; on the

other hand if population grows too much relative to food production, the growth

is checked by famine, disease, and war. Malthus?s theory contradicted the optimistic

belief prevailing in the early 19th century, that a society?s

fertility would lead to economic progress. He advocated sexual abstinence or

restraint to control population increases and acknowledged the role of the

plagues, wars, and epidemics in containing overpopulation. Malthus specifically

suggested that people marry later and have smaller families. Due to these

ideas, economics earned its name as ?The Dismal Science?. But it won

considerable support and was often used as an argument against efforts to

better the condition of the poor. KEY POINTS TO


Population :There is too great a population to support with the actual or potential

resources available. Under

Population:There is too small a population to support

with the actual or potential resources available. Optimum

Population :The population is the right size to efficiently exploit all of the

available resources. Preventative

Checks :This is what Malthus believed to be the move towards later marriages,

which in turn would lead to fewer children and therefore lower the birth rate. Positive

Checks :Things which would have an effect of increasing the death rate i.e.

famine, war, disease, infanticide. Carrying

capacity :This is the largest population that the environment of a particular

area can carry or support. ???????????????????????????????????????????? ???? ?????????????????????????????????????

? ??????????????????????????????? Was Malthus relevant in

Britain?In the Nineteenth century Britain had a very high population growth

rate. This was mainly due to a high birth rate and a decreasing death rate, (Demographic Transition Model stage 2).But

Britain did not reach its carrying capacity because of the industrial

revolution, increased agricultural output, better transport = more trade, and

better storage and refrigeration meant that food could be kept for longer.Is Malthus relevant today? Malthus?s theory is being taken more seriously because he has described

the situation that has been and is occurring in many of the poorer countries. n

example is Bangladesh, it has had many natural disasters including floods and

hurricanes? and is having trouble

feeding it?s population. Other countries seen to be experiencing positive

checks are Ethiopia, Somalia, Mali, etc. These countries all have high birth

rates and low food production.??????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????


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