itions on which the general argument of the Essay depends--The different states in which mankind have been known to exist proposed to be examined with reference to these three propositions.
I said that population, when unchecked, increased in a geometrical ratio, and subsistence for man in an arithmetical ratio.
Let us examine whether this position be just. I think it will be allowed, that no state has hitherto existed (at least that we have any account of) where the manners were so pure and simple, and the means of subsistence so abundant, that no check whatever has existed to early marriages, among the lower classes, from a fear of not providing well for their families, or among the higher classes, from a fear of lowering their condition in life. Consequently in no state that we have yet known has the power of population been left to exert itself with perfect freedom.
Whether the law of marriage be instituted or not, the dictate of nature and virtue seems to be an early attachment to on
The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison with the second (Malthus).
First Page:An Essay on the Principle of Population
AN ESSAY ON THE PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION, AS IT AFFECTS THE FUTURE IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIETY WITH REMARKS ON THE SPECULATIONS OF MR. GODWIN, M. CONDORCET, AND OTHER WRITERS.
LONDON, PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, IN ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, 1798.
The following Essay owes its origin to a conversation with a friend, on the subject of Mr Godwin's essay on avarice and profusion, in his Enquirer. The discussion started the general question of the future improvement of society, and the Author at first sat down with an intention of merely stating his thoughts to his friend, upon paper, in a clearer manner than he thought he could do in conversation. But as the subject opened upon him, some ideas occurred, which he did not recollect to have met with before; and as he conceived that every least light, on a topic so generally interesting, might be received with candour, he determined to put his thoughts in a form for publication.
The Essay might, undoubtedly, have been rendered much more complete by a collection of a greater number of facts in elucidation of the general argument... Continue reading book >>