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15 Publication of the second edition of Malthus’ great work coincides with the rise of

MALTHUS, Thomas Robert

An essay on the principle of population

2nd ed. London, 1803.

マルサス『人口論』 第2版

 The English classical economist Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, at a time when the industrial revolution was underway and British productivity was outstripping that of France. Socially, it was a time when the radical ideas of scholars such as Godwin and Condorcet were growing in popularity. Arguing against proponents of these ideas, who included his own father, Malthus wrote An essay on the principle of population, which was first published in 1798 just as Napoleon launched his expedition to Egypt.
 In it, Malthus argues that while population increases geometrically due to human nature, food production increases only arithmetically. Food shortages will thus inevitably arise due to overpopulation, which will be held in check by two factors: misery, which acts as a positive check that increases mortality, and vice, which acts as a preventive check that lowers the birthrate.
 He concluded from this that measures to tackle poverty and provide poor relief were pointless, and that the formation of the ideal society founded on reason proposed by Godwin and others would be impossible.
 The copy in this collection is a second edition. Malthus produced a further five editions that differed markedly from the first in recognizing the existence of moral restraint as well as vice and misery as factors that restrained population growth. Malthus essay was the first independent work in this field and initiated a host of modern studies on population problems.
                              (28×23cm )

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