Thomas Malthus

(2224 words)
  • Catherine Packham (University of Sussex)

Malthus is primarily remembered today for his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), a forceful statement of the inequality between population growth and growth in the means of subsistence. Put starkly, his argument was that the human population increases more quickly than its ability to provide food for itself, and, further, checks on population growth often involved “vice” or “misery”. Presented in such terms, it is not surprising that Malthusianism came to be regarded in the early nineteenth century as a determined and miserable pessimism: Coleridge denounced his “abominable tenet” and Hazlitt asserted that “unless Mr. Malthus can contrive to starve someone he thinks he does nothing…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Packham, Catherine. "Thomas Malthus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 January 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2902, accessed 30 August 2015.]