Malthusian Thesis

Concept that since food production can increase at only arithmetic rate (see arithmetic progression) whereas populations tend to grow at geometric rate (see geometric progression), the number of people would increase faster than the food supply. It warns that if this growth is not checked, total population would eventually reach a resource limit (see ‘Limits To Growth’ Report) which would result in decimation of sections of the population by famine, disease, or war. Proposed by the UK economist and mathematician Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) in his 1797 work ‘An Essay On The Principle Of Population As It Effects The Future Improvement Of Society.’ It negates the belief that high birth rates add to the natural wealth of a nation, and advocates moral restraint (birth control by abstinence or late marriage) to restrict the size of families.

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