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Preventative checks reduced the birth rate; positive checks increased the death rate.
In 1650 the population of the world had been approximately 500,000,000; in 1940 it was to be two billion.
Half a billion of this growth came in the 150 years from 1650 to 1800, and more than a billion has come since then.
Taking money from them to help the poor would deprive the world of culture.
Mayhew draws our attention to the actual writings of this pioneer of demography and political economy, and to his historical context.
AN ESSAY ON THE PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION AS IT AFFECTS THE FUTURE IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIETY, WITH REMARKS ON THE SPECULATIONS OF MR. But in 1798, when Europe's population of about 187,-000,000 was beginning to multiply -- and, despite vast migrations, was to reach a total of 550,000,000 -- the principles of population increase propounded in the "Essay" had a terrifying importance.
One hundred and fifty years later the advanced nations of Western Europe were to face a problem of declining numbers.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. Moral restraint was the means by which the higher ranks of humans limited their family size in order not to dissipate their wealth among larger numbers of heirs.For the lower ranks of humans, vice and birth control were the means by which their numbers could be limited - but Malthus believed that these were insufficient to limit the vast numbers of the poor.In the late nineteenth century it took on new life as a result of the Darwinian revolution and the rise of social Darwinism.And in the late twentieth century Malthusianism reemerged once again in the form of neo-Malthusian ecology.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.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.