An Essay on the Principle of Population (Kobo eBook)
One of the most influential works of its era on the subject of population growth Thomas Malthus's "An Essay on the Principle of Population" was first published anonymously in 1798. In it Malthus describes his "Iron Law of Population" which asserts that growing populations ultimately lead to a rising supply of labor that would inevitably lower wages and create an increasing rate of poverty. More specifically Malthus argues "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." In other words while population has the capacity to grow at an exponential rate the resources that support mans existence, i.e. food and shelter, can only grow at an algebraic rate. While ultimately time would prove Malthus's predictions to be wrong, for they did not foresee the impact of technology on productivity, the work was nonetheless highly influential to both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of natural selection. The work would also stir the debate around the impact of population growth and lead to the first national census laws in Britain.