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An Essay on the Principle of Population

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Overview

This set provides a definitive scholarly variorum edition of Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population. The edition is based on the second edition of 1803, the work upon which Malthus' repuation as a population theorist and political economist was first built. It shows those parts of the work that incorporated the first edition of 1798, and gives all the variations introduced by Malthus in each of the subsequent editions (1806, 1807, 1817 and 1826). In addition to revealing the nature and extent of Malthus' changes, whether by expansion or excision, the edition reprints the important Appendices added in 1806 and 1817, giving answers to his critics. The work is introduced by the editor and contains a complete bibliography of all the authorities quoted by Malthus, together with extensive explanatory notes. Paricia James has previously edited Robert Malthus' travel diaries (1966) and written an authoritative biography of Malthus, Population Malthus: His Life and Times (1979).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199540457
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 390,887
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was a British scholar, influential in political economy and demography. Malthus popularized the economic theory of rent. 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 and disease. He wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving and in principle as perfectible. William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet, for example, believed in the possibility of almost limitless improvement of society. So, in a more complex way, did Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose notions centered on the goodness of man and the liberty of citizens bound only by the socia1 contract - a form of popular sovereignty. 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".] As an Anglican clergyman, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behavior. Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. He criticized the Poor Laws and (alone among important contemporary economists) supported the Corn Laws, which introduced a system of taxes on British imports of wheat. He thought these measures would encourage domestic production, and so promote long-term benefits. Malthus became hugely influential, and controversial, in economic, political, social and scientific thought. Many of those whom subsequent centuries term evolutionary biologists read him, notably Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, for each of whom Malthusianism became an intellectual stepping-stone to the idea of natural selection. Malthus remains a writer of great significance and controversy.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Acknowledgements and notes on the text
Principle events in the life of Robert Malthus
Biographical notes
Guide to further reading
Essay on the Principle of Population
Index.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    A theory to be considered.

    Thomas Malthus may be pesemistic in some peoples eyes. However, his theory should be considered especialy for the U.S.A. Speaking as an American, I think our government is starting to lead us down the unlikely path of world peace. While I have thought this a worthy goal in the past, this theory brings about ideas never heard of in todays society. Malthus makes you consider the posible results of this path before stumbling into it head first. I think this book has a well deserved place in the present society's library.

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