we might probably every one of us marry at the age of puberty and yet few be absolutely starved. ] In Malthus' opinion, the masses were incapable of exercising moral restraint, which was the only real remedy for the population problem.
One hundred and fifty years later the advanced nations of Western Europe were to face a problem of declining numbers.
One hundred and fifty years before, Europe had a static population of approximately 100,000,000.
If all income and wealth were distributed among them, it would be totally wasted within one generation because of profligate behaviour and population growth, and they would be as poor and destitute as ever.
Paternalistic attempts to help the poor were therefore highly likely to fail.
Before starvation set in, Malthus advised that steps be taken to help the positive checks to do their work.
He wrote: It is an evident truth that, whatever may be the rate of increase in the means of subsistence, the increase in population must be limited by it, at least after the food has been divided into the smallest shares that will support life.The positive checks were famine, misery, plague and war; because preventative checks had not limited the numbers of the poor, Malthus thought that positive checks were essential to do that job.If positive checks were unsuccessful, then inevitably (he said), famine would be the resulting way of keeping the population down.There are two versions of Thomas Robert Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population.The first, published anonymously in 1798, was so successful that Malthus soon elaborated on it under his real name.Also, they were a positive evil because they drained wealth and income from the higher (and therefore more moral) ranks of society.These people were responsible - either in person or through patronage - for all the great achievements of society: art, music, philosophy, literature and so on owed their existence to the good taste and generosity of these people.All the children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to this level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons. To act consistently, therefore, we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavouring to impede, the operation of nature in producing this mortality, and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use.Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits.An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) examines the tendency of human numbers to outstrip their resources, and argues that checks in the form of poverty, disease, and starvation are necessary to keep societies from moving beyond their means of subsistence.Malthus's simple but powerful argument was controversial in his time; today his name has become a byword for active concern about humankind's demographic and ecological prospects.