Talk:An Essay on the Principle of Population

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Thesis?[edit]

Can't help noticing that after about 150 revisions, this article still doesn't concisely summarize what Malthus' thesis actually was. I will try to correct this. ElectricRay 22:46, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Going to try to insert a simplified summary of Malthus' point regarding the Iron Law of Population to precede the more detailed breakdown. Econ183RT 7:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Where does this commonly encountered online quote come from?[edit]

Online I often see the following claimed as a quote from the Essay:

“All children who are born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the death of grown persons…. Therefore … we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlement in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and restrain those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they are doing a service to mankind by protecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders.”

However, I am not able to locate this quote in the actual text of the first edition of the essay, here http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext03/prppl10.txt . Moreoever, these ideas seem to me profoundly out of character with Malthus who seems to have been Christian and notably advocated late marriages as opposed to contraception (!!). Quite unlike today's "population controllers" who not only push abortions but also seem willing to even refuse curing African malaria as long as it keeps the numbers down. Well, can somebody figure out where these wonderful words are coming from? 76.24.104.52 (talk) 04:55, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

6th edition. Don't forget that as a Christian his theodicy answered the problem of evil by asserting that such problems were designed for our own good, to encourage hard work and thrift: that was apparently most strongly stated in the first edition. It also looks rather like a "what if" statement, to be read in context. Skimming the end, he's evidently arguing for "prudential habits with respect to marriage among the poor" to be attained by rethinking poor relief.[1] . .. dave souza, talk 07:14, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
got it, thanks. It seems that he is being overly wordy at constructing an "antiutopia" situation of "how to preserve early marriage in conditions of advanced society" from which he will eventually conclude that forget early marriage, let's marry older. So you are right, the man apparently didn't stop to think about ways his writings can be taken out of context to pervert his message :) 76.24.104.52 (talk) 07:16, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Malthus and the Census[edit]

I just saw a BBC TV programme in which it was claimed that Malthus's 'Essay' was one of the factors behind the first British Census in 1801, because Malthus had predicted impending starvation. As of course Malthus said nothing of the kind, I came to Wiki to find out the basis for the claim. This article (and the linked article on the Census) makes a similar claim but gives no source or authority for it. I am suspicious, as John Rickman, who was one of the driving forces behind the 1801 Census, wrote advocating it in 1796, two years *before* the first edn of the Essay. Is there any documentary basis for the claim, or is it just an urban myth arising from the date of the Essay shortly before 1801 and the usual misconceptions about what Malthus actually said?86.183.224.161 (talk) 22:24, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

The wiki article on the Census cites the BBC article by Geoff Timmins which makes that explicit claim. In Wikipedia terms that's a reliable source, but if you can find other better sources on this aspect that will be very welcome and enable us to make verifiable improvements, avoiding original research. Interesting point, . dave souza, talk 23:39, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I found this page at the Office for National Statistics

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/cb_8.asp which makes the same claim and would be a better source than a BBC popular article. 86.185.12.174 (talk) 11:26, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Longer article in Malthus[edit]

I find it peculiar that the Thomas Robert Malthus article has a longer discussion of An Essay on the Principle of Population than this article specifically on the essay. Wouldn't it make more sense to move that material here, and put a link? Geoffrey.landis (talk) 16:16, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Did this ever happen? Seems like a good idea to me. I think if I was going to do this, I would plan to:
Hope this helps! -- RobLa (talk) 03:45, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Idea's source?[edit]

I am of the belief that the basics of the notion that we have cone to accept as Malthusian Doctrine was in fact, first articulated by Benjamin Franklin,and that Franklin was credited by Malthus in the preface to the first couple editions of his seminal work. I see nothing to that effect in this entry.

Owen Aldridge, Alfred (1949). "Franklin as Demographer". Journal of Economic History 9 (1): 25–44. JSTOR 2113719.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin#Population_studies (36)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observations_Concerning_the_Increase_of_Mankind,_Peopling_of_Countries,_etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.249.146.8 (talk) 22:53, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Inaccurate chart[edit]

I've removed a chart that wrongly represented Malthus. I contacted the creator of the chart but have not heard back, so I've "been bold" and taken it out. - Metalello talk 20:47, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

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Overreliance on "Constitutional Rights Foundation," confusion of neo-Malthusian debates with Malthus' essay[edit]

This poor-quality source is used for the entire first paragraph. It is barely even about Malthus at all but about modern "overpopulation" debates a la Ehrlich. Malthusian considerations are absolutely key to understanding world history prior to just about the time Malthus was writing and Malthus' Essay was a profound advance by any reasonable standard, even though it inappropriately extrapolated past trends in trying to predict the future. Even when it moves on from the CRF source, the article still barely touches on the importance of Malthus' insight for virtually all of human history while overemphasizing on neo-Malthusian "overpopulation" debates. 76.66.126.186 (talk) 19:58, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

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