Thomas Malthus

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Thomas Malthus

In 1798, Thomas Malthus published a book called “An Essay on the Principle of Population. This whole book is on the science of predicting populations and finding what factors, and in what ways, affect the population. There are some topics of population factors that are discussed in greater detail in his book. A great portion of the book is exploring his theory of the Iron Law of Proportion. This is basically the idea that a growing population would cause a rising supply of labour, which would lower wages, causing poverty. The other aspects of his book include how epidemics, famines, and wars affect population and population growth.

There are many opinions on whether or not his theory can be used to predict future population issues. One reason that it is said his theory cannot be used to predict future population issues is because of his idea of how fast and to what limits resources can grow. He said that by today the world would not have enough resources to support the amount of people here. The factors of science in industry and the use of fossil fuels and fertilizers has altered what his predictions were. Because of the use of fertilizers, crops are healthier and easier to produce in larger quantities. The application of science in industry has caused also the world to be much more efficient in production of resources. Currently there are enough resources to support the world’s population, contrary to Malthus’ theory. Another reason is that his theory was written more than 200 years ago. A lot has changed since then. There have been enormous advances in science and medicine. There are no longer plagues or epidemics that kill hundreds of thousands of people. Wars are no longer huge population destroyers as they once were. The world is much more under control then he anticipated, so some of his theories could be thought of as outdated.

There are those, however, who believe that Malthus’ theory can be used to predict future population...
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