An Essay On The Principle Of Population 1798 Summary

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proposed one of the most important economic core beliefs that we hold true even today: the Iron Law of Wages, which states that when population rises and subsequently so does workforce, wages decrease.

Likewise, the opposite holds true: when population decreases, wages will increase for the remaining workers.

Populations in general have the capacity to increase geometrically, but this capacity is almost never fully exploited.

While this distinction was fully understood by Malthus, it was often misrepresented by his critics, who chose to interpret his Essay as claiming that population did, in actuality, increase in a geometric ratio (Introduction, p. Malthus used as a hypothetical example of geometric growth a certain strain of wheat, which, under normal circumstances, produced six grains for every one planted.

Therefore, this wheat had the capacity to sextuple in population every year - at which rate, a single acre would have expanded to cover the earth's surface in fourteen years (A Summary View, p. Obviously, wheat did not reproduce at its full capacity. This idea that a human can look ahead to the possibility of future difficulties, perhaps choosing not to have children rather than simply reproducing blindly, is the basic form of the preventative check.

were dramatic and easy to see, but no less significant were what Malthus termed the preventative checks: "The labourer who earns eighteen pence a day and lives with some degree of comfort as a single man, will hesitate a little before he divides that pittance among four or five, which seems to be just sufficient for one," stated Malthus (Essay.. According to Malthus, similar restraints, primarily economic in nature, exist at all levels of society, though they increase in strength as one goes down the societal ladder.

At the lower ranks of society are the preventative checks strongest, as only the common man must face the real possibility of being unable to feed his children (Essay... Malthus was not content with one classification system for his checks - or, perhaps, in the overwhelming disorganization of the first Essay, dashed off at the spur of the moment as it were, he simply lost track of the fact that he had, in fact, developed two parallel systems.

The second, which took a more moralistic view, divided checks into misery and vice.

No one would go hungry, as resources would be allocated according to need, not according to wealth.

This course of reason would lead to the abolition of government, law, and private property (Lecture, 22 Jan 96), and a true democratic society would prevail.

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