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He wrote the original text in reaction to the optimism of his father and his father's associates (notably Rousseau) regarding the future improvement of society.Malthus also constructed his case as a specific response to writings of William Godwin (1756–1836) and of the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794).
In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land, to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage, till ultimately the means of subsistence become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out.
The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened, and the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness are repeated.
To date, world population has remained below his predicted line.
However, the current rate of increase since 1955 is over two billion per 25 years, more than twice the Malthus predicted maximum rate.
At the same time, world hunger has been in decline.
The highest UN projection has population continuing at this rate and surpassing the Malthus predicted line.Malthus also saw that societies through history had experienced at one time or another epidemics, famines, or wars: events that masked the fundamental problem of populations overstretching their resource limitations: 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.The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation.While it was not the first book on population, it was revised for over 28 years and has been acknowledged as the most influential work of its era.Malthus's book fuelled debate about the size of the population in the Kingdom of Great Britain and contributed to the passing of the Census Act 1800.In 1803, Malthus published, under the same title, a heavily revised second edition of his work.His final version, the 6th edition, was published in 1826.We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased.The food therefore which before supported seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions.The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress.The number of labourers also being above the proportion of the work in the market, the price of labour must tend toward a decrease, while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise.