Malthus, Thomas


Read here pertinent facts about someone whose work is critical to a proper comprehension of scale.

Ideas


When English clergyman Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) wrote "An Essay On The Principle Of Population" in 1798, he was the first to recognise that populations increase exponentially, and the first to attempt to popularise this view.
In England in 1798, as the world population approached 1 billion, Malthus wrote "An Essay On The Principle Of Population". The principle was mathematical in nature, and stated that populations always tend towards exponential growth (and outstrip the available food supply). He used the sound concept of population doubling to demonstrate what he meant.
Must it not then be acknowledged by an attentive examiner of the histories of mankind, that in every age and in every State in which man has existed, or does now exist, That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence, That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and, That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice. (^ Malthus T.R. 1798. An essay on the principle of population, in Oxford World's Classics reprint. p61, end of Chapter VII)
The fact is, Malthus made his case plain enough for variable rates back in 1830 (A Summary View):
It may be safely asserted, therefore, that population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical progression of such nature as to double itself every twenty-five years. This statement, of course, refers to the general result, and not to each intermediate step of the progress. Practically, it would sometimes be slower, and sometimes faster.
Malthus typically wrote of human population doubling times averaging 25 years. Although a widely quoted figure (Darwin himself used it), this was misleading. In fact, later editions of his essay show that Malthus was definitely aware of the variability of population doubling times

Quotes


"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." Malthus (1830) - A Summary View on The Principle Of Population

Malthus Units


David Coutts proposed calling units of exponential growth, Malthus units.
He posted a Malthusian glossary at http://members.optusnet.com.au/exponentialist/Glossary.htm:

  • Malthusian - pertaining to Malthus and his "Essay on the Principle Of Population" (1798 - 1826, editions one to six), plus "A Summary View" (1830). Any other use of the term Malthusian is outside the exponentialist meaning.
  • Malthusian Blues - term used by Aldous Huxley in "Brave New World" (1932) for slow soothing music produced by Synthetic Music apparatus (LONDON'S FINEST SCENT & COLOUR ORGAN) played just after a lively performance by CALVIN STOPES AND HIS SIXTEEN SEXOPHONISTS to an audience high on Soma...."Everybody's happy now". Also used by Marshall T. Savage in his pro-space book "The Millennial Project: Colonizing The Galaxy In Eight Easy Steps." - refer Marshall T. Savage - An Exponentialist View
  • Malthusian Catastrophe - Population crash and subsequent return to subsistence standards of living. Read more here at Wikipedia, though be warned that this Wikipedia article makes the usual naive assertions regarding (simple) exponential growth and instead favours logistic growth (which is just as bad a growth model the simple exponential, or Malthusian Growth Model). Refer Logistic Vs Exponential Growth for the Exponentialist view.
  • Malthusian Drill - term used by Aldous Huxley in "Brave New World" (1932) to describe contraceptive precautions. This view is based on Neo-Malthusianism.
  • Malthusian Growth Model - a mathematical model which I believe describes a scientific law of population growth (and shrinkage) which applies universally to all replicator populations. Named after Malthus who first introduced the model. In essence, there are only 3 states that a population can be in for any given time period, based on its Malthusian Parameter:
  • (replication rate + immigration rate) greater than (death rate plus emigration rate) : results in positive population growth
  • (replication rate + immigration rate) less than (death rate plus emigration rate) : results in negative population growth
  • (replication rate + immigration rate) equals (death rate plus emigration rate) : results in zero population growth
The main criticisms of the Malthusian Growth Model are the almost universal assumption of a constant rate of growth and the lack of a limit to growth. In recognition of the fact that everyone else thinks of the Malthusian Growth Model in terms of a constant rate of growth, I have opted to put my own name to a population growth model which permits compound growth at a constant rate, or at variable rates. Malthus was also famous as an economist, and it is no surprise that the Malthusian Growth Model applies equally well to the world of finance and business.
  • Malthusian Increase - alternative name to an approximate law of nature known as the Exponential Law. However, see also Malthusian Increase section of Lars Witting - An Exponentialist View.
  • Malthusian Law - alternative name to an approximate law of nature known as the Exponential Law.
  • Malthusian Parameter - The population growth rate - usually r - for a population is sometimes referred to in the scientific literature as the Malthusian Parameter of the equation under discussion. This term originates with R. A. Fisher in his "The Genetical Theory Of Natural Selection" (p.25) originally published in 1930. Refer Malthusian Parameter of population increase for more.
  • Malthusian Principle - the principle that there is an unassailable limit to growth for any population that sustains positive population growth. For most populations of replicators on Earth, the Earth itself represents the ultimate limit to growth. Once a population hits the limit then it must either stop growing or enter a period of negative population growth. Refer Lars Witting - An Exponentialist View for more. Also Malthusian Wall.
  • Malthusian Relativity - the theory that evolution is directional, and that complex organisms automatically evolve once basic replicators arise. The term refers to the relative values of the Malthusian Parameter of different populations. The term originates with Lars Witting in his "A General Theory of Evolution" (p.9). Refer Lars Witting - An Exponentialist View for more.
  • Malthusian Selection - exponentialist hypothesis which explains how environment and non-instinctive behaviour affect the rate of growth for a population and thus influences differential replication. Named after Malthus, who first introduced the concepts in his essay on human populations. See also Natural Selection, and Stochastic.
  • Malthusian Wall - an unassailable limit to growth for any population that sustains positive population growth. Also Malthusian Principle. See Marshall T. Savage - An Exponentialist View for an example of usage.
  • Malthusian Wheel - a simple alternative to the New Malthusian Scale. The two basic approaches to using the Malthusian Wheel are explained on both the Exponentialist page and New Malthusian Scale page.