Critical Examination of Malthusian Theory of Population Essay

Critical Examination of Malthusian Theory of Population Essay

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Thomas Robert Malthus, very popularly known as Malthus, was a professor of History and Political Economy at Haileybury College of the East Indian Company. He was a philosopher of 19th century. He lived his life from 1766 to 1834 AD. After writing an essay on the Principle of Population in 1805 AD, he became popular in the history of population studies. In his essay which later on became a very famous theory by the name "Malthusian Theory." In the theory, he has drawn some assumptions such as:

  1. Human beings have great potentialities to produce children
  2. In agriculture Law of Diminishing Returns operates
  3. Human beings will need food to eat
  4. Passion between sexes is necessary and unavoidable

This theory became very famous and controversial as well at that period too. On the one hand, there are some thinkers, known as Neo-Malthusians, supporting him but on the other hand there are numerous thinkers criticizing his theory on various accounts.

In his theory, it is found that human beings have great potentialities to produce children; food is necessary for the existence of human being but the land is limited; and the passion between the sexes is necessary and unavoidable which will increase the population in geometrical progression (like 1,2,4,8,16,32,64, and so on) but the food in arithmetic progression (like 1,2,3,4,5,6, and so on). At the end this will force an imbalance in population and means of subsistence. He further says that to control the population, people need to control birth as a preventive check on population growth. He talks about delayed marriage and even permanent self-denial from sex. And if birth is not controlled properly in time, this...

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He has also said that in agriculture the Law of Diminishing Return operates. This seems true in the present. Of course the modern science has developed several techniques or methods, and medicines, vitamins and fertilizers. But it is only on the one hand because on the other hand it's also been found that the medicines, vitamins and fertilizers are declining the quality of the land. It is universal truth that agriculture needs land and it is limited too. It can not be widened at all. So more or less he is right to make such a prediction in his theory 200 years ago because ultimately the return in the agriculture is influenced.

Hence, now we can conclude that if we critically examine the Malthusian theory, we find some weakness and some strengths. Weakness and Strengths may differ person to person because it depends upon how we perceive the theory.

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