Commentary on Malthus’ 1798 Essay on Population as Social Theory

Author: Elwell, Frank
This commentary attempts to tie the interpretation closely to the original Essay rather than to the political charged reactions to that essay. Rather than a simplistic projection of future population growth and inevitable collapse, the Essay is a far subtler social theory of the relationships between sociocultural systems and their environments. The work includes commentary and criticism of Malthus’ methodology, the materialist, evolutionary, and functional elements of his theory, as well as the application of his theory to understanding the nature of welfare programs and possibilities for social progress. Includes a reprint of the original essay by Malthus.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Introduction
Part 1: Malthusian Theory
Methods; Theory, Materialism; Checks; Evolution; Functionalism; Inequality; Theoretical Summary
Part 2: Applying the Theory
Poor Laws; Progress; Neo-Malthusianism
Part 3: An Essay on the Principle of Population: As it affects the future improvement of society with remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin and M. Condorcet, and other writers by T. Robert Malthus
Bibliography; Index