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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Critically examine the Malthus Theory of Population


Malthus offered his theory in following words : " By nature human food increases a slow arithmetical ratio, man himself increases in a quick geometrical ratio unless wants and vice stop him. "

Further he says that then the population increases then the means of subsistence it is checked by the nature.


1. RATE OF POPULATION GROWTH :- According to this theory of population increases according the geometrical ratio.1,2,4,8,16,32.

2. INCREASES IN FOOD SUPPLY :- Due to the application of the law of diminishing return, supply can not increase according the rate of population growth. It increasing according the arithmetical progression i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.

3. THE RATE OF POPULATIONS GROWTH IS FASTER THAN A FOOD SUPPLY :- Population increases according to geometrical progression i.e 1,2,4,8,16 and 32.

4. SUBSISTENCE LEVEL :- Malthus conclude that real wages can not rise much above the subsistence level because increase in the wages will lead to an increase in the supply of workers due to rise in population. If wages fall below this level , the surplus labour supply will die due to starvation.


Malthus also suggests measure in this regard. These are two types :

1. PREVENTIVE CHECKS : - These are applied by man.

i) Late Marriages :- He says that late marriages are good for human health and character. Every man should have only as many children as he can easily support.
ii) Family Planning Programmed.
iii) Opening Health Clinics.
iv) Use of Contraceptive Medicines.

2. POSITIVE CHECKS OF NATURE :- To keep balance between food supply and population nature reduces the population according the food supply. So Malthus appeals to the people to keep population equal to the means of subsistence.


This theory has been criticized on the following grounds :

1. NO HISTORICAL WITNESS :- According the Marshall in the past population has not increased in geometrical progression.

2. IMPROVEMENT IN TECHNOLOGY : An improvement in technology has improved the standard of living of the people, in spite of a rise in population.

3. INCREASE IN FOOD PRODUCTION :- Due to industrial revolution, food production rate is higher than rate of population growth in some countries.

4. INCREASE IN LABOUR :- An increase in population increases in supply of labour which is an important factor for the utilization of resources.

5. TOTAL RESOURCES IGNORED :- Malthus only compares the population only with food supply and ignores the other resources, like minerals and technology.

6. RAPID FALL IN BIRTH RATE :- In the advanced countries, birth rate is falling than the rate of production.

7. IMPORT OF FOOD :- Today food shortage problem can be solved by importing the food from other countries.

8. PESSIMISTIC APPROACH :- Malthus is hopeless about the future of human beings and it is not favorable for economic development.

9. LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURN :- The law of diminishing return can be prevented which Malthus ignores.

10. WRONG ASSUMPTION :- Malthus says that increase in the means of subsistence will increase the population, which is not true.


Unknown 22 May 2015 at 05:45  

It was very helpful topic about the Malthusian theory on population . I am thankful to the writer of this blog.
Thanks and regards
Sajjad Ahmad Shah

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