The Population Controversy and Beyond
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The two intellectual figures who dominated the whole of the nineteenth century, Malthus and Marx, were and still are systematically opposed. A “clash of prophets” claimed in 1970 the title of an American textbook, which usefully provided large excerpts of what Marx and Engels wrote against Malthus. According to current understanding, Malthus is hostile to an excess of population because it causes social sufferings, while Marx is favourable to demographic growth in so far as a large proletariat is a factor aggravating the contradictions of capitalism. This is unfortunately an oversimplification and a few scholars have long established that in his later works Malthus seriously retrenched from his earlier opinion: population, far from being redundant, might well be insufficient to ensure sustained economic growth.
KeywordsNineteenth Century Demographic Transition Sustained Economic Growth Demographic Growth Demographic Behaviour
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