Criticism of the Malthusian Theory of Population Essay

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Criticism of the Malthusian Theory of Population

Thomas robert malthus was a son of Daniel and Henrieta Malthus. He was born in 1766 in England. He studied philosophy, mathematics and theology at Jesus college, Cambridge in 1784. His students afectonatelly referred to him as “pop” or population and he entered the church in 1791. He later became a professor of history and political economy in the colledge which East India company maintained at Haileybury near London. He was in this position untill 1834 when he died.

Fundamentally malthus did not agree with Adam smith optimism. He was pessimist unlike Adam Smith and other economist, he observed economic realities with greater concern. Especially when it comes to the power people. For instance while Adam Smith was ignoring the severe impact of rising food prices. Malthus did not. Malthus agued that the economic system, as it was working, needed some remedial action. Malthus major contribution where his “ theory of population” and “ the theory of economy crisis” it was his theory of population that dominated his writings. He made many other contributions to the study of economics.

He anticipated a member of theoretical contributions of later times. His thesis of deficiency of effective demand was picked up and elaborated systematically by Keynes. Malthus philosopy was a mixture of his religious moralty and cold blooded reality of the world. His reasoning despit the fact that he was a revrend and a gentleman was properly connected in sientific reasoning and language. His approach to the population problem and all the problems in economics and social science which he studied was strictly scientific in the modern perspective.


Malthus extensive writings on the theory of population was a response to others before him. Some argued that a densly population country was good for production so a very definite and scientific relationship was not developed between population and the means of subsistence. Some argued that the only way to contrrol population is to give workers subsistence wage, some also believe that increase in population is needed to have good, large and powerful millitary. Out of all these economist the one that extrated a response from Malthus was William Godwin whose book “ An inquiry concerning political justice, and its influence on moral and happiness” (1796) argued that human being could reach perfection immoralty and that there will never be over population because as at that time only one-quarter of the earth’s is being cultivated.

Malthus response to this was “ An essay on the principle of population “ (1803) which is published in his Sixth edition. In his book Malthus did not agree with the views expressed by Godwin that either the population growth would be counter balanced by a coresponding increase in means of subsistence or reason would prevail leading to check of growth population.

Malthus stated that, the populations of the world would increase in geometrin proportion while the proportion of food will increase in an arithmetic progression

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