An Essay On The Principle Of Population 1798 Summary

An Essay On The Principle Of Population 1798 Summary-2
A slight acquaintance with numbers will shew the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second.

A slight acquaintance with numbers will shew the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second.

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A nobleman had little to prevent him from having a family; his wealth would more than likely be sufficient to support many offspring, though they would be a slight drain on his finances.

However, in the case of a man well educated but only barely wealthy enough to maintain his upper-class status, the financial burden of children would perhaps be enough to drive him down into the society of common tradespeople, a sacrifice he may be unwilling to make.

Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state" (Essay... Assuming these two conditions, Malthus goes on to state the core of his argument within three short paragraphs: "Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.

Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.

This economic phenomenon Malthus observed in has proven true over hundreds of years both before and after he wrote it.

For example, during the medieval Black Plague, when thousands of peasants died and lords were unable to staff their fields, wages and privileges increased for the serfs who survived.

Britain in the 18th century was a nation in transition.

The feudal system had been dying a slow death over the past several hundred years, and its aftereffects were visible everywhere, as tenant farmers, relics of the feudal era and a large percentage of the British population, were forced to leave their lands. The great landowners, seeing the profits to be made, declared many of the common lands to be private property, evicted the tenants, and began raising sheep.

His two initial postulates, that man must eat and will continue to reproduce, Malthus felt needed little defense.

Obviously, a person must eat in order to survive, and despite some speculation by the Utopian William Godwin that the sexual instinct may eventually diminish, Malthus saw little sign of this occurring at any point in the near future, and dismissed the possibility as mere conjecture.

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