By Yves Charbit
According to present figuring out, Malthus used to be adversarial to an way over inhabitants since it brought on social sufferings, whereas Marx used to be beneficial to demographic development in as far as a wide proletariat was once an element disturbing the contradictions of capitalism. this can be regrettably an oversimplification. either raised a similar the most important query: while regarded as an financial variable, how does inhabitants healthy into the research of financial progress? even supposing they began from an analogous analytical viewpoint, Marx verified a really assorted prognosis from that of Malthus and equipped a social doctrine no much less divergent. The publication additionally discusses the theoretical and doctrinal contribution of the liberal economists, writing on the onset of the economic revolution in France (1840-1870), and people in their modern, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who shared with Marx the denunciation of the capitalist procedure. by way of paying cautious cognizance to the social, financial, and political context, this publication is going past the shortcomings of the class among professional- and anti-populationism. It sheds new gentle over 19th century controversies over inhabitants in France, a case learn for Europe.
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Extra info for Economic, Social and Demographic Thought in the XIXth Century: The Population Debate from Malthus to Marx
Principles: 494. Also see Essay, 7th edition, II, 62–63. 68 Given the rigidity of wages, a good harvest in 1815 led to a crash in the price of wheat which in its turn brought about a decrease in the availability of work and the purchasing power in the agricultural sector leading to a fall in the demand for industrial products. At the same time, the European markets, ravaged by years of war, proved to be incapable of absorbing the agricultural surplus, while two million soldiers were demobilised.
79 An objection that immediately strikes the reader is that all this assumes that landowners would automatically increase the wages of their labourers following a rise in their own income. Evidently, this happened only when agricultural labourers received a minimum living wage, because when the price of the means of subsistence went up, the simple need to reproduce their labour force made it necessary to raise their wages proportionately. But that was not the case, because only 40% of the wages were actually spent on the purchase of wheat.
It is easy to solve it as Malthus himself provided the answer: he was convinced that technical progress constantly slowed down agricultural production and kept it from reaching its upper limit thus delaying the inevitable rise in income from agriculture. This is the meaning of the above quotation regarding England. Although long-term growth is possible thanks to the proposed strategy, nothing can be deduced about its effectiveness. For example, what will be the pace of the demographic growth brought about by industrialisation?