Malthus : A very short introductionMaterial type: TextLanguage: English Series: A very short introductionPublication details: 2013 Oxford University Press Oxford, United KingdomDescription: 122 pages : illustrations ; 17 cmISBN:
- 028.7 WIN
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<p>Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-118) and index..<br /><br />Malthus' most well known work 'An Essay on the Principle of Population' was published in 1798, although he was the author of many pamphlets and other longer tracts including 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Progress of Rent' (1815) and 'Principles of Political Economy' (1820). The main tenets of his argument were radically opposed to current thinking at the time. He argued that increases in population would eventually diminish the ability of the world to feed itself and based this conclusion on the thesis that populations expand in such a way as to overtake the development of sufficient land for crops. Associated with Darwin, whose theory of natural selection was influenced by Malthus' analysis of population growth, Malthus was often misinterpreted, but his views became popular again in the 20th century with the advent of Keynesian economics.</p>
With world population today edging over seven billion, and with projections for it to reach nine billion by mid-century, the ideas of eighteenth-century English cleric Thomas Malthus-and his grim prediction that war, plague, and famine are the inevitable response to overpopulation--loom ever larger on the horizon. But if Malthus is a familiar name to most educated people, few of us have read his famous and controversial work, Essay on the Principle of Population, and indeed few have but a sketchy notion of his ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Donald Winch explains and clarifies Malthus's thought, assessing the profound influence he has had on modern economics. Concentrating on his writings, Winch sheds light on the context in which he wrote and why his work has remained controversial. Looking at Malthus's early life as well as the evolution of his theories from population to political economy, Winch considers why and how Malthus's writings have been so influential in the thought of later figures such as Charles Darwin and John Maynard Keynes.
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