Malthus was Wrong

by Timothy Lutts

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) argued that unchecked population growth brought pain and misery to societies, as demand for food outstripped man’s ability to produce it.Malthus In his Essay on the Principle of Population (written, interestingly, in reaction to the optimism of his father and his father’s associates—it’s not uncommon for young men to reject their fathers’ values ) he wrote that man would never be able to produce enough food to ease the plight of the lower classes. Malthus was wrong.

Yet thanks to advances in technology, we are now capable of producing ample food to feed the world; the problem now is not production but distribution, and that is primarily a political or economic problem.

But progress continues, the proportion of hungry people is smaller than it has even been, and I have little doubt that lack of food will continue to become an increasingly small problem throughout the world.

To argue otherwise is to ignore the lessons of history.

And to argue that the positive trends of recent centuries will end now (at the very moment you are so concerned about the problem), might be a little ego-centric, don’t you think?