"The power of population is infinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population increases in a geometric ratio, while the means of subsistence increases in an arithmetic ratio. The number of mouths to be fed will have no limit; but the food that is to supply them cannot keep pace with the demand for it. We must come to a stop somewhere, even though each square yard, by extreme improvements in cultivation, could maintain its man. In this state of things there will be no remedy."
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 - 1834)
This is a surprisingly faithless view put forth by a Reverend! You would think that he, of all kinds of people, would understand that an all-knowing, Grand Designer (I use those words playfully) would have known what future populations held in store and would have provided Creation sufficient to handle it!
His philosophies also surprisingly lack understanding of the power of free-market economics as he thought he was taking "the long view" of economics, and poo-pooed short-term expediencies.
Toward that end he encouraged domestic taxes called the Corn Laws (tariffs) on the importation of wheat, which, he thought, would encourage increased production of grains on his nations' islands! He was amazingly influential in his time.
His name has become intertwined even today with modern population doomsayers and pessimists who similarly lack understanding of free-market economics and its ability to encourage the search for PROFIT in invention and change. Each time we are told that the earth cannot "sustain" this or that population amount, and we will all die because of it, the word "MALTHUSIAN" comes to the fore!
Notice when he died. It was BEFORE the Industrial Revolution, and the discovery and general use of OIL.
In Malthus's day, a farm was necessarily small because it took a farmer and a single-horse or ox plow one day to plow an area about 88 yards x 55 yards. That area is called an ACRE.
In his day corn was a crop requiring more labor than any other. Corn was used for grain (human food) and its stalks and leaves were used for animal food. After the corn harvest, where one man could pick about one acre of corn in a day, the stalks were then gathered by hand, cut down and tied into shocks. Those shocks were peppered around a field, for later retrieval.
Corn had to be stored in silos of some sort. The shocks had to be stored in a dry place, and were very important. Corn farming required a lot of labor and the farms were therefore small.
What teensy thing did the good Reverend Malthus disregard in his thinking? The mind of FREE MEN!
People free to think and invent and innovate and change and improve!
WHEN LEFT UNFETTERED THE CREATIVE MINDS OF PEOPLE FREE TO PURSUE THEIR PASSIONS AND BUSINESSES PRODUCE NEW AND BETTER. THESE MINDS ALWAYS PRODUCE NEW AND BETTER.
Take for instance corn farming. Actually let's consider many types of grain farming. Grains are certainly essential to the survival of mankind.
The Industrial Revolution produced mechanisms, and mechanisms in many markets and industries.
Better plows became mechanical plows. Implements and tools were invented to provide quicker and mechanical picking, then picking and threshing, then picking and threshing and winnowing of many kinds of grains.
The first could do so in one row, then a couple of rows and now A DOZEN ROWS of grains! The latest COMBINE HARVESTERS, so named because they combine picking, threshing, winnowing and collecting for storage, of many rows of a given grain.
Hundreds of acres of farmland can be harvested in one day, by one man!
While we can't be too hard on Thomas Malthus for his myopia in not seeing all this, we should wonder at his lack of depth of understanding and faith in his considered professions - one profession of worship of a providing, and grand designing, Heavenly Father, and the other profession which considered Adam Smith's free markets and the wondrous powers thereof.
And certainly, if economics is allowed to thrive in a free-market fashion, MORE IS YET TO COME. There are many better mouse traps being created all around us today, and more are yet to come.
The gubment CANNOT create jobs. But with policies conducive regulation, and taxation, and domestic laws and unfettered access to markets, gubments can create environments which DO create jobs!
WHEN ECONOMIES SPUTTER AND JOBS ARE LACKING, IT IS ALWAYS DUE TO FREE-MARKET ECONOMICS NOT ALLOWED TO FLOURISH AND DO WHAT FREE-MARKET ECONOMICS, FREE ENTERPRISE, DOES BEST! GUBMENTS NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WAY!
SO, MAY I SAY AGAIN, GET OUT OF THE WAY!