An Essay on the Principle of Population

The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798 by Joseph Johnson.[1] The author was soon identified as The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. While it was not the first book on population, it has been acknowledged as the most influential work of its era. Its 6th Edition was independently cited as a key influence by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of natural selection. A key portion of the book was dedicated to what is now known as Malthus' Iron Law of Population – this name itself is retrospective, based on the iron law of wages, which is the reformulation of Malthus' position by Ferdinand Lassalle, who in turn derived the name from Goethe's "great, eternal iron laws" in Das Göttliche.[2] This theory suggested that growing population rates would contribute to a rising supply of labour that would inevitably lower wages. In essence, Malthus feared that continued population growth would lend itself to poverty. One immediate impact of Malthus's book was that it fueled the debate about the size of the population in Britain and led to (or at least greatly accelerated) the passing of the Census Act 1800. This Act enabled the holding of a national census in England, Wales and Scotland, starting in 1801 and continuing every ten years to the present.

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Malthus under his father's guidance and wish published An Essay on the principle of Population in 1798; he revised and expanded his work four times during 1803 to 1826. This Essay was written in a response to William's Godwin work known as "The Enquirer", because Godwin highlighted that population growth has a positive impact on greater wealth and improvement for all, but Malthus in his work discussed some other aspects of population growth. With rise in population he proposed an idea of ultimate demographic choice which was starvation or restrain.


An Essay on the Principle of Population

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In this report we have critically analyzed and assessed the paper written by famous English economist Thomas Robert Malthus called Essay on the Principle of Population. Researching Malthuss theory was not an easy task to do as it was highly controversial in his time and lots of debate and criticism were made to it. To carefully and correctly examine his work was the biggest challenge us for.