Malthus: Man Or Monster?

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Mass starvation. Hunger. Disease. Death. Misery. These are all outcomes foreseen by T. R. Malthus in his Essay on Population of 1798. The question remains whether these are true foretellings or merely pessimistic predictions. Thomas Robert Malthus was a radical thinker who, with his controversial theory, influenced not only his peers, but generations to come.

Thomas Robert Malthus was born on February 17,1766, in Surrey, England ("Malthus, T. R. SOURCE #3 np). His father was a "well-to-do gentleman ("Malthus, T.R.  Grolier 186),  and his godfather was Jean Jacques Rousseau, the philosopher (Rickard np). Malthus grew up during the Age of Reasoning, a time when many believed that humanity was approaching perfection ("Malthus, T.R.  Science Bios), but because he had been schooled in England after the French Revolution, Malthus became an "ultra-conservative pessimist ("Malthus, T.R.  186).  He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest (Nicholls 321) and began to study population and economy. Malthus attended the University of Cambridge and graduated in 1786. He was made a Fellow of the Jesus College at Cambridge, and became ... Continue Reading