Malthus has become widely known for his theories concerning population, and its increase or decrease in response to various factors. The six editions of his An Essay on the Principle of Population, published from 1798 to 1826, observed that sooner or later population gets checked by famine, disease, and widespread mortality. He wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving, and in principle as perfectible

Malthus thought that the dangers of population growth would preclude endless progress towards a utopian society: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man"


According to Malthus,
-population tended to increase at a geometric rate (1,2,4,8,16...) while food supply would only increase at a arithmetic rate (1,2,3,4,5...).
-Checks would keep the population down. Positive checks like war, disease, poverty and lack of food would keep population down.
-Malthus saw the tension between population and resources as a major source of misery in humanity
-He also believed in preventative checks like educating the lower classes, higher pay for the lower classes and the postponement of marriage. He believed all people wanted to have many children but that these measures would delay the number of children.
-He believed hunger and sex were major desires for people.
-His views hold better with stage 2 countries.

Critics of Malthus
-Environmental possibilism teaches us that though our environment may limit our abilities it does not determine them.
-Larger populations could stimulate economic growth
More people are consumers and more people are around to be innovators
-Critics state that the world would be worse off if the population was only a billion because too few people can slow or reverse economic growth
-Some countries, and this is a little nutty, see population growth as power

Malthus and Reality
-In reality food production has kept up with population growth. Since 1950, food production rates have been higher than the NIR of the world. (so far that is)
-Malthus may have been too pessimistic about population growth. He thought we would have 10 billion people right now.
The world's NIR slowed from 1990 to 2000 (fom 1.8 to 1.3% per year)
-LDCs went from 2.1 to 1.6 and MDCs from .5 to .1
In many ways development has helped to slow the NIR (we will talk about microloans in Bangladesh as an example later)

Neo_Malthusians
Used as a label for those who are concerned that overpopulation may increase resource depletion or environmental degradation to a degree that is not sustainable with the potential of ecological collapse or other hazards.

It originates from the ideas of Thomas Robert Malthus. The Malthusian theory suggests a relationship between the growth of population and food. Thomas Malthus argued that population growth is geometric (1→2→4→8), and agricultural growth is arithmetic (1→2→3→4); therefore, population growth will increase at such a rate that eventually there will not be enough food for the population.

They argue that 2 factors make things more frightening today.
-One, medical technology and advancements have made population growth possible all over the world but not necessarily the development that lowers population (that has not gone everywhere). In parts of Africa, stage 2 countries have higher population growth than economic growth ensuring they stay stage 2 countries.
-Two, population growth can outstrip resources in general (like oil) not just food supply. Energy and water may be future issues.
Resources, such as sources of energy for food, and energy consumption for population. Since energy consumption is increasing much faster than population, and most energy comes from non-renewable sources, the catastrophe appears more imminent, though perhaps not as certain, than when considering food and population continue to behave in a manner contradicting Malthus's assumptions.