Thomas Malthus and his influence on the World

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

An English Thinker, who had a profound influence on Thinkers like Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, David Ricardo, Francis place. Malthusian argued predominantly that overpopulation would leave the world in poverty because the population growth is indefinite and food supply is limited. He wrote an essay named “Principle of the population as it effects on Future improvement of the society” in which he theorized that the population grows in an exponential manner such as 1, 2, 4, 8,16 .... meanwhile the food supply grows in arithmetically 1,2,3,4,5. In this way, the population, at one time, would surpass the limit, and dive into poverty. The only way to protect people from calamity is to control population growth. Young people have to refrain from premarital gratification and early marriages by moral restraints.

Use of Contraceptive Devices:

Malthusian didn’t originate the idea of using contraceptive devices for birth control, but Francis Place (1771-1854), who gave the idea of contraception, was influenced by the Malthusian. The way of using contraceptive devices to limit population growth is known as neo-Malthusian.

Were Marx and Engels inspired by the Malthus?

Thomas Malthus, who viewed the world's constitutes with limited resources and massive population as an issue, had the same logic as conflict theorists in sociology. Although the Malthus era was way before back then, even sociology wasn't a formal discipline, the ideas of Malthus may have an impact on later theorists such as Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. For instance, conflict theorists look at society as a class struggle over limited resources. Likewise, Malthus also looked at society in a somewhat similar way. However, there is no clear evidence of whether the Malthus writings inspired Marx and Engels, but owing to he influenced many researchers in Europe, the hypothetical linkage can be made.

Economic impacts of Malthusian:

The essay of Malthusian influenced many thinkers in a different domain, but the philosophy of him impacted economist to think critically. For example, David Ricardo, who was a close friend of Malthusian, argued that the Natural wage of labor is only what enables them. The more labor will be the supply side would be, and the wage would automatically steep down. Ricardo's theory of labor wage is still discussed which is named as “Iron Law of Wages”. His thought was more studied and evaluated by Karl Marx, the author of the communist manifesto, but the pioneer of these ideas is considered Malthusian.

According to some, Charles Darwin also studied the Malthusian essay and had influenced by him. The theory of Natural Selection, which Darwin gave, relates to the idea that Malthusian gave.

To conclude, Malthus has a great impact on the contemporary world as in history. Malthus conceived the idea of birth controlling and stopping overpopulation growth which was followed by other thinkers. Moreover, Malthus influenced the economists forced them to analyze the dynamics of labor and market.