A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.
Resulting from discussions with his father on the works of Condorcet and William Godwin, Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) published anonymously in 1798 his first and most famous work. Written as a polite attack on French post-revolutionary speculations on social and human perfectibility, this remains one of the most powerful statements of the limits to human hopes set by the tension between population growth and natural resources. Central to his philosophy was the belief that 'The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man'. An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society was extremely controversial, not only because of the discussions of prostitution, contraception and sex, but also because Malthus denied the right of the poor to be supported in the face of famine, poverty and disease. This 1798 first edition led to a riposte from Godwin, Of Population (1820), which is also reissued in this series.
1. Question stated
2. The different rations in which population and food increase
3. The savage or hunter state shortly reviewed
4. State of civilized nations
5. The second, or positive check to population examined, in England
6. New colonies
7. A probable cause of epidemics
8. Mr Wallace
9. M. Condorcet's conjecture concerning the organic perfectibility of man
10. Mr Godwin's system of equality
11. Mr Godwin's conjecture concerning the future extinction of the passion between the sexes
12. Mr Godwin's conjecture concerning the indefinite prolongation of human life
13. Error of Mr Godwin in considering man too much in the light of a being merely rational
14. Mr Godwin's five propositions respecting political truth
15. Models too perfect, may sometimes rather impede than promote improvement
16. Probable error of Dr Adam Smith
17. Question of the proper definition of the wealth of a state
18. The constant pressure of distress on man
19. The sorrows of life necessary to soften and humanize the heart
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