Thomas Malthus on Population 1798

Thomas Malthus was an economist and demographer, who, amongst many other things considered all possible effects on the growth of population. He wrote an essay in 1798 on ‘The Principle of Population as it affects the Future Improvement on Society’, in which he called into doubt the idea that we were all marching towards a utopian future. He looked at population growth and the checks on that growth. He argued that population rises exponentially but food production rises arithmetically.
He reasoned therefore, that the food supply would run out as population grew and that if left unchecked, famine would prevail.
In light of this, he considered the options available to check population growth, preventative controls, contraception, homosexuality and abstinence and positive controls, war, disease, disaster and famine.
He considered the fear of famine to have the greatest effect and his essay certainly struck fear into the Government, who, in the light of his essay, ordered the first national census in 1801 to measure the population of England and Wales.

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