Thirdly, and most famously, Malthus denied the validity of Say's Law and argued that there could be a "general glut" of goods. Malthus believed that economic crises were characterized by a general excess supply caused by insufficient consumption. His defense of the Corn Laws rested partly on the need for landlord consumption to "make up" for shortfalls in demand and thus avert crisis. See our more extensive discussion of the .
Malthus was an economic pessimist, viewing poverty as man'sinescapable lot. The argument in this first edition is essentiallyabstract and analytical. After further reading and travels in Europe,Malthus produced a subsequent edition (1803), expanding the longpamphlet of 1798 into a longer book, and adding much factual materialand illustration to his thesis. At no point, even up to the final andmassive sixth edition of 1826, did he ever adequately set out hispremises or examine their logical status. Nor did he handle hisfactual and statistical materials with much critical or statisticalrigour, even though during his lifetime the sophistication ofstatisticians was developing remarkably in both continental Europeand Great Britain. A remark by Kingsley Davis, a United Statesstudent of population, that Malthus' theories, apparently founded onso extensive an empirical base, are yet at their weakest with respectto empiricism and at their strongest as a tight and eleganttheoretical formulation, has much truth in it as both praise andblame. For better or worse, the Malthusian theory of population was,nevertheless, incorporated into current theoretical systems ofeconomics. It acted as a brake on economic optimism, helped tojustify a theory of wages that made the minimum cost of subsistenceof the wage earner a standard of judgment, and discouragedtraditional forms of charity.
Robert Malthus Population Theory Essay ~ ECONOMIC THEORIES
More than 200 years after its first publication, the Malthusian thesis is still much debated, albeit in a modified form. Rather than predicting a global catastrophe, most neo-Malthusians stress the local character of the relationship between population pressure, natural resource scarcity, and conflict as well as its dependency on the socio-political and economic context. This softened version of Malthus’s thesis has received little empirical support in cross-country studies. In contrast, a number of subnational analyses have provided some evidence for local conditional Malthusian catastrophes, although ‘catastrophe’ is a big word since these studies have largely focused on low-intensity violence. This article adds to the small body of subnational studies, but focuses on a high-intensity conflict – the Rwandan genocide. In particular, it provides a meso-level analysis of the relation between population pressure and the intensity of violence measured by the death toll among the Tutsi across 1,294 small administrative units. The results indicate that the death toll was significantly higher in localities with both high population density and little opportunity for young men to acquire land. This finding can be interpreted as support for the neo-Malthusian thesis. On the other hand, it is possible that another mechanism operated – in densely populated areas, it may have been relatively easy for the elite to mobilize the population, because of dependency relations through the land and labor market. Alternatively, in densely populated areas, there may have been more lootable assets, and the violence may have been opportunistic rather than driven by need or by fear.