With world population today edging over seven billion, and with projections for it to reach nine billion by mid-century, the ideas of eighteenth-century English cleric Thomas Malthus-and his grim prediction that war, plague, and famine are the inevitable response to overpopulationloom ever larger on the horizon. But if Malthus is a familiar name to most educated people, few of us have read his famous and controversial work, Essay on the Principle of Population, and indeed few have but a sketchy notion of his ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Donald Winch explains and clarifies Malthus's thought, assessing the profound influence he has had on modern economics. Concentrating on his writings, Winch sheds light on the context in which he wrote and why his work has remained controversial. Looking at Malthus's early life as well as the evolution of his theories from population to political economy, Winch considers why and how Malthus's writings have been so influential in the thought of later figures such as Charles Darwin and John Maynard Keynes.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjectsfrom Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocativeyet always balanced and completediscussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
About the Author
Donald Winch is Emeritus Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex. His publications include Adam Smith's Politics, That Noble Science of Politics (with Stefan Collini and John Burrow), and Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750-1834.
Table of Contents
3. Population: the first Essay
4. Population: the second Essay
5. From population to political economy
6. The political economy of stable growth