Thomas Malthus quotes

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

    #Thinking #Foundation #Found

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

    #Littles #Attention #Opponents

  • The superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Vices #Population #Misery

  • The main peculiarity which distinguishes man from other animals is the means of his support-the power which he possesses of very greatly increasing these means.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Mean #Men #Animal

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

    #Men #Thinking #Ostriches

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

    #Country #Emigration #Kind

  • It has appeared that from the inevitable laws of our nature, some human beings must suffer from want. These are the unhappy persons who, in the great lottery of life, have drawn a blank.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Law #Suffering #Unhappy

  • The ordeal of virtue is to resist all temptation to evil.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Evil #Temptation #Virtue

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Successful #Government #Evil

  • If I saw a glass of wine repeatedly presented to a man, and he took no notice of it, I should be apt to think that he was blind or uncivil. A juster philosophy might teach me rather to think that my eyes deceived me, and that the offer was not really what I conceived it to be.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Philosophy #Wine #Eye

  • No limits whatever are placed to the productions of the earth; they may increase forever.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Forever #May #Limits

  • The germs of existence contained in this spot of earth, with ample food, and ample room to expand in, would fill millions of worlds in the course of a few thousand years.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Years #World #Earth

  • Population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every 25 years or increases in a geometrical ratio.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Years #Environmental #Goes On

  • Hard as it may appear in individual cases, dependent poverty ought to be held disgraceful.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Poverty #May #Individual

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

    #Rich #Unfair #Poor

  • The constant effort towards population, which is found even in the most vicious societies, increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Mean #Numbers #People

  • The great and unlooked for discoveries that have taken place of late years have all concurred to lead many men into the opinion that we were touching on a period big with the most important changes.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Taken #Men #Discovery

  • Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climatic conditions, as well as poor harvest, intervenes to restrict the increase of population of certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise as it is ruthless.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Wise #Country #Race

  • To remedy the frequent distresses of the common people, the poor laws of England have been instituted; but it is to be feared that though they may have alleviated a little the intensity of individual misfortune, they have spread the general evil over a much larger surface.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Law #Evil #People

  • 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?
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Country #Three #Meat

  • The love of independence is a sentiment that surely none would wish to see erased from the breast of man, though the parish law of England, it must be confessed, is a system of all others the most calculated gradually to weaken this sentiment, and in the end may eradicate it completely.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Law #Independence

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Expectations #Trends #Population

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Adversity #Class #Realizing

  • It is also very important to observe, that menial servants are absolutely necessary to make the resources of the higher and middle classes of society efficient in the demand for material products.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Class #Important #Demand

  • where are we to look for the consumption required but among the unproductive labourers of Adam Smith?...
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Looks #Adam #Consumption

  • It is not the most pleasant employment to spend eight hours a day in a counting house.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Eight #House #Employment

  • It is a mere futile process to exchange one set of commodities for another, if the parties; after this new distribution of goods has taken place, are not better off than they were before.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Taken #Party #Commodity

  • Thirty or forty proprietors, with incomes answering to between one thousand and five thousand a year, would create a much more effectual demand for the necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries of life, than a single proprietor possessing a hundred thousand a year.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Years #Luxury #Income

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Age #World #Duration

  • Man cannot live in the midst of plenty.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Midst #Plenty

  • Evil exists in the world not to create despair but activity.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Evil #Despair #World

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Excess #Causes #Bears

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #People #House #Crowds

  • A feather will weigh down a scale when there is nothing in the opposite one.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Opposites #Scales #Feathers

  • I feel no doubt whatever that the parish laws of England have contributed to raise the price of provisions and to lower the real price of labour.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Real #Law #Doubt

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Fall #Demand #Corn

  • Capitals accumulate faster than population
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Population #Faster

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Doubt #Doctrine #Population

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Couple #Children #Three

  • The employment of the poor in roads and public works, and a tendency among landlords and persons of property to build, to improve and beautify their grounds, and to employ workmen and menial servants, are the means most within our power and most directly calculated to remedy the evils arising from that disturbance in the balance of produce and consumption.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Mean #Evil #Balance

  • Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Ratios #Increase

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Mean #Men #Race

  • The proposition of Mr. Ricardo, which states that a rise in the price of labour lowers the price of a large class of commodities, has undoubtedly a very paradoxical air; but it is, nevertheless, true, and the appearance of paradox would vanish, if it were stated more naturally and correctly.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Class #Air #Appearance

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

    #Encouragement #Population #Multiplication

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

    #Men #Earth #Able

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Science #Numbers #Ratios

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

    #Men #Population #Earth

  • The perpetual struggle for room and food.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Struggle #Cooking #Rooms

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Sex #Passion #Age

  • No state has hitherto existed (at least that we have any account of) ... that no check whatever has existed to early marriages, among the lower classes, from a fear of not providing well for their families, or among the higher classes, from a fear of lowering their condition in life.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Class #Eugenics #Euthanasia

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Race #Earth

  • The exertions that men find it necessary to make, in order to support themselves or families, frequently awaken faculties that might otherwise have lain for ever dormant, and it has been commonly remarked that new and extraordinary situations generally create minds adequate to grapple with the difficulties in which they are involved.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Order #Support

  • The friend of the present order of things condemns all political speculations in the gross.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Order #Political #Gross

  • It does not, however, seem impossible that by an attention to breed, a certain degree of improvement, similar to that among animals, might take place among men. Whether intellect could be communicated may be a matter of doubt: but size, strength, beauty, complexion, and perhaps even longevity are in a degree transmissible... As the human race could not be improved in this way, without condemning all the bad specimens to celibacy, it is not probable, that an attention to breed should ever become general.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Animal #Men #Race

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

    #Philosophy #Theory #Experiments

  • The histories of mankind are histories only of the higher classes.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Class #Mankind #Higher

  • [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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Food #Mean #Science

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Struggle #Acting #Emigration

  • The most baleful mischiefs may be expected from the unmanly conduct of not daring to face truth because it is unpleasing.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Integrity #May #Faces

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Taken #Years #Land

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Sex #Moving #Taken

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Philosophy #Fall #Agency

  • To prevent the recurrence of misery is, alas! beyond the power of man.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Misery #Recurrence

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Children #Eugenics #Population

  • Every endeavor should be used to weaken and destroy all those institutions relating to corporations, apprenticeships, &c, which cause the labours of agriculture to be worse paid than the labours of trade and manufactures.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Agriculture #Corporations #Causes

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Exercise #Opportunity #Thinking

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Equality #Simple #Virtue

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Thinking #Ideas

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Errors #Debt #Littles

  • The science of political economy is essentially practical, and applicable to the common business of human life. There are few branches of human knowledge where false views may do more harm, or just views more good.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Views #Political #Branches

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Evil #Mind #Earth

  • Had population and food increased in the same ratio, it is probable that man might never have emerged from the savage state.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Men #Might #Ratios

  • The moon is not kept in her orbit round the earth, nor the earth in her orbit round the sun, by a force that varies merely in the inverse ratio of the squares of the distances.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Distance #Moon #Squares

  • To estimate the value of Newton's discoveries, or the delight communicated by Shakespeare and Milton, by the price at which their works have sold, would be but a poor measure of the degree in which they have elevated and enchanted their country; nor would it be less grovelling and incongruous to estimate the benefit which the country has derived from the Revolution of 1688, by the pay of the soldiers, and all other payments concerned in effecting it.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Country #Discovery #Soldier

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Political #Branches #Economy

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

    #Mind #Captivating #Certain

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Philosophy #Firsts #Theory

  • THERE is scarcely any inquiry more curious, or, from its importance, more worthy of attention, than that which traces the causes which practically check the progress of wealth in different countries, and stop it, or make it proceed very slowly, while the power of production remains comparatively undiminished, or at least would furnish the means of a great and abundant increase of produce and population.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Country #Mean #Progress

  • In general it may be said that demand is quite as necessary to the increase of capital as the increase of capital is to demand.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #May #Demand #Said

  • 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.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Encouragement #Giving #Balance

  • If one fourth of the capital of a country were suddenly destroyed, or entirely transferred to a different part of the world, without any other cause occurring of a diminished demand for commodities, this scantiness of capital would certainly occasion great inconvenience to consumers, and great distress among the working classes; but it would be attended with great advantages to the remaining capitalists.
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Country #Class #Different

  • If a country can only be rich by running a successful race for low wages, I should be disposed to say at once, perish such riches!
    -- Thomas Malthus

    #Running #Country #Successful