Malthus First Essay On Population
That general idea is so obvious that it seems hard to believe someone would have to come up with it, and Malthus is just the guy who laid it out most clearly. But he's also been consistently misinterpreted and vilified since day one by people who, for example, think he's advocating policies to kill off poor people.
That's sortof the same as using Darwin to justify eugenics; there's a logical leap in the middle that makes no sense.
Moreover, the writing is excellent; who expects Malthus to have a sense of humor?
I also didn’t expect the feminism, and the extension of the analysis from the Well, this was not quite what I expected.
Unfortunately, we now suspect that rather than preventing a calamitous collapse, the Green Revolution may just have forestalled a catastrophic one; the new farming techniques are destroying our soil. (See Charles Mann's cover story in National Geographic, September 2008 for more.) We need a new silver bullet. You might explain that it'll only result in decreased sensitivity and a shortage of socks, but he is going to keep at it with endless industry and innovation. We'll either be able to innovate fast enough to barely stay ahead of our own unforeseen consequences, or something else will happen. ETA: Cecily directs me to a couple of poems that say pretty much what I've said but much better and they rhyme. I’m not sure what exactly I expected from this little book.
True, for reasons he lays forth, Malthus is not very optimistic about this prospect.
The tension he identifies between food supplies and population increase lead him to conclude that some poverty and suffering is inevitable, and that a perfect utopia is an idle dream.
I have heard it said that Malthus was an enemy of the poor—a lassez-faire capitalist that didn’t want welfare states to impinge on the free market.
Yes, he was opposed to the Poor Laws in England; but not because he cared little for the well-being of the poor.