A writer may tell me that he thinks man will ultimately become an ostrich. I cannot properly contradict him.

— Thomas Malthus

The most unforgettable Thomas Malthus quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

I think it will be found that experience, the true source and foundation of all knowledge, invariably confirms its truth.

55

The world's population will multiply more rapidly than the available food supply.

51

The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race.

48

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.

Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will shew the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second.

43

Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.

42

The redundant population, necessarily occasioned by the prevalence of early marriages, must be repressed by occasional famines, and by the custom of exposing children, which, in times of distress, is probably more frequent than is ever acknowledged to Europeans.

30

The labouring poor, to use a vulgar expression, seem always to live from hand to mouth. Their present wants employ their whole whole attention, and they seldom think of the future. Even when they have an opportunity of saving they seldom exercise it, but all that is beyond their present neccessities goes, generally speaking, to the ale house.

29

A great emigration necessarily implies unhappiness of some kind or other in the country that is deserted.

27

The perpetual struggle for room and food.

25

The rich, by unfair combinations, contribute frequently to prolong a season of distress among the poor.

18

The perpetual tendency of the race of man to increase beyond the means of subsistence is one of the general laws of animated nature, which we can have no reason to expect to change.

17

The most successful supporters of tyranny are without doubt those general declaimers who attribute the distresses of the poor, and almost all evils to which society is subject, to human institutions and the iniquity of governments.

17

About Thomas Malthus

Quotes 81 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Economist
Birthday October 16

[P]opulation, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty-five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio. ... [T]he means of subsistence, under circumstances the most favorable to human industry, could not possibly be made to increase faster than in an arithmetical ratio.

16

The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.

15

The transfer of three shillings and sixpence a day to every labourer would not increase the quantity of meat in the country. There is not at present enough for all to have a decent share. What would then be the consequence?

12

To prevent the recurrence of misery is, alas! beyond the power of man.

12

The prodigious waste of human life occasioned by this perpetual struggle for room and food, was more than supplied by the mighty power of population, acting, in some degree, unshackled, from the constant habit of emigration.

12

The finest minds seem to be formed rather by efforts at original thinking, by endeavours to form new combinations, and to discover new truths, than by passively receiving the impressions of other men's ideas.

8

To minds of a certain cast there is nothing so captivating as simplification and generalization.

8

The natural inequality of the two powers of population and of production in the earth, and that great law of our nature which must constantly keep their efforts equal, form the great difficulty that to me appears insurmountable in the way to the perfectibility of society.

5

The immediate cause of the increase of population is the excess of the births above deaths; and the rate of increase, or the period of doubling, depends upon the proportion which the excess of the births above the deaths bears to the population.

4

It is an acknowledged truth in philosophy that a just theory will always be confirmed by experiment.

4

On the whole it may be observed, that the specific use of a body of unproductive consumers, is to give encouragement to wealth by maintaining such a balance between produce and consumption as will give the greatest exchangeable value to the results of the national industry.

3

The ordeal of virtue is to resist all temptation to evil.

3

Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.

3

The friend of the present order of things condemns all political speculations in the gross.

3

In 1860, sixty-three per cent of the couples married in Great Britain had families of four or more children; in 1925 only twenty per cent had more than four.

2

Where are we to look for the consumption required but among the unproductive labourers of Adam Smith?.

2

In prosperous times the mercantile classes often realize fortunes, which go far towards securing them against the future; but unfortunately the working classes, though they share in the general prosperity, do not share in it so largely as in the general adversity.

2

Hard as it may appear in individual instances , dependent poverty ought to be held disgraceful.

2

When Hume and Adam Smith prophesied that a little increase of national debt beyond the then amount of it, would probably occasion bankruptcy; the main cause of their error was the natural one, of not being able to see the vast increase of productive power to which the nation would subsequently obtain.

2

It has been said, and perhaps with truth, that the conclusions of Political Economy partake more of the certainty of the stricter sciences than those of most of the other branches of human knowledge.

1

The doctrine of population has been conspicuously absent, not because I doubt in the least its truth and vast importance, but because it forms no part of the direct problem of economics.

0

Each pursues his own theory, little solicitous to correct or improve it by an attention to what is advanced by his opponents.

0

Population regulates itself by the funds which are to employ it, and therefore always increases or diminishes with the increase or the diminution of capital. Every reduction of capital is therefore necessarily followed by a less effective demand for corn, by a fall in price, and by a diminished cultivation.

0

The passion between the sexes has appeared in every age to be so nearly the same, that it may always be considered, in algebraic language as a given quantity.

0

The most effectual encouragement to population is, the activity of industry, and the consequent multiplication of the national products.

0

In a state therefore of great equality and virtue, where pure and simple manners prevailed, the increase of the human species would evidently be much greater than any increase that has been hitherto known.

0

Where there are few people, and a great quantity of fertile land, the power of the earth to afford a yearly increase of food may be compared to a great reservoir of water, supplied by a moderate stream. The faster population increases, the more help will be got to draw off the water, and consequently an increasing quantity will be taken every year. But the sooner, undoubtedly, will the reservoir be exhausted, and the streams only remain.

0

Capitals accumulate faster than population

0

It accords with the most liberal spirit of philosophy to suppose that not a stone can fall, or a plant rise, without the immediate agency of divine power.

0

With regard to the duration of human life, there does not appear to have existed from the earliest ages of the world to the present moment the smallest permanent symptom or indication of increasing prolongation.

0

No move towards the extinction of the passion between the sexes has taken place in the five or six thousand years that the world has existed.

0

Population trends have always provoked doom-fraught oracles, because their popular interpreters suppose that every new series will be infinitely sustained; yet, beyond the short term, expectations based on them are never fulfilled.

0

If it be taught that all who are born have a right to support on the land, whatever be their number, and that there is no occasion to exercise any prudence in the affair of marriage so as to check this number, the temptations, according to all the known principles of human nature, will inevitably be yielded to, and more and more will gradually become dependent on parish assistance.

0

The first business of philosophy is to account for things as they are;

and till our theories will do this, they ought not to be the ground of any practical conclusion.

0

I do not know that any writer has supposed that on this earth man will ultimately be able to live without food.

0

It may at first appear strange, but I believe it is true, that I cannot by means of money raise a poor man and enable him to live much better than he did before, without proportionably depressing others in the same class.

0

The greatest talents have been frequently misapplied and have produced evil proportionate to the extent of their powers. Both reason and revelation seem to assure us that such minds will be condemned to eternal death, but while on earth, these vicious instruments performed their part in the great mass of impressions, by the disgust and abhorrence which they excited.

0
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