Essay on the Contribution of Malthus

Malthus’ main contribution was to enunciate a homeostatic, cyclical view of population movement.

The high level of human fecundity made it possible for fertility to outstrip food production bringing about starvation and enhanced mortality in its wake.

This crisis ensured the return of equilibrium and the beginning of a new cycle. This vicious cycle was usually prevented by the postponed or averted marriages in the “civilized” European part of the world usually allowed these regions to escape crises.

The other route to equilibrium, usually found outside Christian Europe was the so-called “positive” check that took the form of war, disease, sterility from sexually transmitted diseases, polygamy and vices including infanticide, abortion and contraception.


Though this was the main demographic content of the original Malthusian model, it also contained a very significant element of ruling class anxiety about the debilitating influence that the rapidly proliferation pool would have on society.

The general Malthusian model of homeostatic population-economy equilibrium through the operation to preventive and positive was to have universal applicability. But it was the class component of the model that made that made it politically significant. Malthus believed that mortality was the first casualty of a subsistence crisis.

Pen Portraits-Thomas R. Malthus | Bennythomas's Weblog

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This ignorance led children to the denied minimal subsistence. Within the logic of this model the Elizabethan poor Laws then by transferring part of the social surplus to this improvident class encouraged their reckless multiplication. This, in turn, increased the demand for food and raised the price food for the middle class, thereby raising their mortality.


Thus, the poor Laws instead of bettering the condition of the wretched merely increased their population and spread death to the more industrious and worthier sections of society. One direct policy outcome of this line of reasoning was the poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 where outdoor relief was substituted by urban workhouses.

Full one major reason is that Malthus was the first to clearly and comprehensively enunciate the fears and anxieties of English

intelligentsia of social revolution and assert a civilization gap between the peoples of .the metropolis and the colonies in the most general terms, Malthusian concepts could be used to understand demographic phenomena in widely different contexts-from poor Laws in England, to population growth in the New Would and to famines in India.

Malthus progressively became more concerned with the absence on the preventive check in the uncivilized world. However, anticipating latter day infusionists he did hope that the “diffusion of education and knowledge” in the future would bring these people to delay marriage.

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