Malthus An Essay On The Principle Of Population Quotes English Identity Essay

However, Bentham’s poor plan was itself premised, in the absence of perceived population pressure, on deliberate expansion of both population and of subsistence, while Mill had absorbed Malthus’s lesson that restriction on growth of population was the pre-requisite for improvement in the material condition of the labouring poor.For Mill, the legislative imposition in 1834 of the conditions of relief envisaged by Bentham as deterrents to unjust claims, served to rescue the poor laws from Malthus’s fears of their effect in encouraging irresponsible procreation.It is impossible effectually to teach an indigent population”, while the poor were disqualified from “any but a low grade of intelligent labour.”38 Typically, Mill’s insistence was that what the poor required was honest, unpatronizing information, which facilitated their independence: “Whatever advice, exhortation, or guidance is held out to the labouring classes, must henceforth be tendered to them as equals, and accepted by them with their eyes open.”39 For Bentham, lack of education amongst the poor issued in ignorance and irrationality: “The comparative weakness of their faculties, moral as well as intellectual, the result of the want of education, assimilates their condition in this particular, to that of .”40 In contrast, Bentham’s industry house apprentices would be taught literacy and numeracy, while Bentham intended to make their education available also to children and adults among the independent poor.41 Of course, the Bentham of the poor law writings, with his exaltation of the use of education as a tool of ensuring political quietude,42 makes Malthus look positively liberal, yet even Bahmueller, hardly an uncritical commentator, allows that, “At long last pauper children would receive at least a modicum of systematic education”.43 The shared assumptions outlined above led all three thinkers to frame the problem posed by the potential starvation of some people, assuming the absence of publicly funded poor relief, in very similar ways.For Malthus, the question was: “How to provide for those who are in want in such a manner as to prevent a continual accumulation of their numbers?

Certainly, he believed that up to half the expenditure on relief was wasted on those with no proper entitlement to it, while no system which remained beset by so many local variations in administrative practice could be of any value.25 For Malthus and for Mill, the real danger in non-deterrent relief lay in its encouragement of the production of children.Bentham laments the existence of places where the condition of the dependent poor is “more eligible” than that of the independent, and warns that “the destruction of society” would “be the inevitable consequence” of the generalization of this situation.16 Malthus points out that in the scarcity of 1800 the real sufferers were those independent poor whose purchasing power was eroded by the rising price of corn combined with the rate in aid of wages,17 while the quantity of provisions consumed in workhouses “diminishes the shares that would otherwise belong to more industrious and more worthy members, and thus […] forces more to become dependent.”18 Writing in 1833, Mill also regretted the demoralization of agricultural labour: the agricultural population of the greater part of England has been pauperized: sunk from the condition and feelings of independent labourers subsisting upon the earnings of their own labour, to the state of mind of reckless sinecurists, whose grand object is to be supported in comfort for doing nothing19 The poor laws’ second failure arose from the first, in that the status of dependent poverty provided no deterrent, which is to say that the conditions of relief were too lax.Insistence on the imposition of more exacting conditions was a recurrent theme in Bentham’s poor law writings.20 Interestingly, it is not Bentham but Malthus who first formulated the principle of less-eligibility which played such a central role in the 1834 Poor Law Amendment act, although the formulation occurs in discussion of private charity: “They should on no account be enabled to command so much of the necessaries of life as can be obtained by the worst paid common labour.”21 Malthus also insisted that: “Hard as it may appear in individual instances, dependent poverty ought to be held disgraceful.”22 Mill too connected lack of deterrence with pauperization, and expressed his fears are most clearly in discussion of proposals to extend outdoor relief to the able-bodied in Ireland, in response to the potato famine.23 One conclusion which Malthus drew, and with which Mill concurred, was that the problems created by the poor laws could have been much worse but for the manner of their implementation.Mill was usually generous in crediting the influences which had shaped his thought, and his acknowledgement of the influences of Bentham and Malthus demonstrates his generosity.1His introduction to Bentham’s published thoughts came via study of Dumont’s recension, The “principle of utility” understood as Bentham understood it, and applied in the manner in which he applied it through these three volumes, fell exactly into place as the keystone which held together the detached and fragmentary component parts of my knowledge and beliefs.It gave unity to my conception of things.3 Malthus’s population principle was quite as much a banner, and point of union among us, as any opinion specially belonging to Bentham. We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your visiting.This paper analyses the views of Bentham, Malthus, and Mill, on poverty, population, and poor relief, in order to investigate the influence of the two former on the latter.This is to say that Bentham, Malthus, and Mill all subscribed, with varying degrees of subtlety and differences in emphasis, for instance on the importance of agriculture versus manufacture in increasing national wealth, to the notion of the wages fund.With Bentham first: “The population is not limited by the desire of sexual intercourse, it is limited by the means of subsistence”.5 For Malthus, the happiness of countries depended “on the proportion which the population and the food bear to each other”.6Where agricultural labour provided the means of subsistence, the “wages fund” consisted of the agricultural surplus not directly consumed by the owners of land, while: On the state of this fund, the happiness, or the degree of misery, prevailing among the lower classes of people, in every known state, at present chiefly depends; and on this happiness, or degree of misery, depends principally the increase, stationariness, or decrease, of population.7 The entire point of Malthus’s attack on Godwinian communism concerned the manner in which it would give a stimulus to population growth which would inevitably outstrip, in fairly short order, any possible increase in food production, and thus present the community with the options of reintroducing property in land, limiting procreation by coercive means, or suffering the positive check to population provided by famine, or at least the threat of it.Such dissemination would not only enhance the possibility that moral restraint would be adopted, but would also make political reform less alarming, and thus “promote the cause of rational freedom”.32 Mill echoed these sentiments repeatedly,33 and hoped that the spread of prudential reasoning would open the way for gains in comfort to be retained over generations.34 The benefits derived from education are among those which may be enjoyed without restriction of numbers; and as it is in the power of governments to confer these benefits it is undoubtedly their duty to do it.35 , with direct reference to the “children of the labouring class”.36Of course, the differing attitudes of Mill and Malthus towards hierarchy versus distributional equality meant that they envisaged the results of such education differently.37 For Mill, ignorance of the principle of population among the poor served the interests of the ruling class by provoking cut-throat competition among labourers, bidding down wages and extending working hours.Consequently, the poor were too exhausted to learn, and so trapped in a cycle of ignorance and exhaustion: “Education is not compatible with extreme poverty.

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