August 5, 2014.

August5, 2014.

‘AnEssay on the Principle of Population’ by ThomasRobert Malthus


Thebook was written in 1798 by Thomas Malthus and has been credited asthe most influential literal piece during that era. The text theme isabout effects of high population and population control. The author’stheory is that continued population increase results in lower wagesand that this rise in population eventually depletes naturalresources. His arguments were that, high population would lead tohigh unemployment, diseases, crime, overcrowding, food shortage andeventual environmental degradation. He therefore, proposed restraintmeasures as a way of keeping the population growth down throughpositive checks (raising death rates) and the preventive measures(controlling birth). Positive restraints to population growth wouldbe through war, diseases and famine, preventive measures would bethrough delaying marriage, abortion, celibacy and using birth controlmethod.

Malthusargued that regardless of how the input in the production of food andother resources that support human life, high population would stillbe an inevitable force that surpasses any effort by mankind. Headvocated for moral control as a means of easing poverty and highpopulation among the poor. The author was opposed to any move or lawguaranteeing relief services to the poor these poor laws wouldmotivate more poverty and high population. Malthus ideologies arereal in the modern life through such practices as preventive birthcontrol methods, one child policy, celibacy, delayed marriages andforced abortions.


Populationcontrol and high population are sensitive topics. My perception isthat the author fails to see the potential in mankind. The authors’text fails to presents a justifiable cause on how population would beput in check in regard to the available resources. I will analyzethis text by applying three perspectives the Marxist theory, thefeminist perspective and the queer theory perspective. I perceivethat, the text has an orientation to Marxism through the argumentspresented by the author on capitalism and labor exploitation. Inaddition, some of the author’s arguments are gender biased andoffensive towards women. Lastly, an analysis of this text gives theimpression of queer arguments that have no empirical evidence basis.

ApplyingMarxism criticism on the text

Ithink Malthus text is oriented to Marxism on its arguments aboutlabor, capitalism, production and the potential of human capital. Inparticular, the text supports a bourgeoisie approach in increasingsufferings to the poor. According to Marxism, the rich continues tothrive on persistent suppression of the poor by denying them theirrightful wages and effective participation in the production process. I feel that, Malthus text is oriented towards the natural selectionand survival theorem as espoused by Marx and Charles Darwin. It is sobecause, the modern society is made up of struggling groups thecapitalist persistent exploitation of the poor and workers struggleto liberate themselves.

Iam of the opinion that, Malthus was skeptical about high populationgrowth and its underlying potential. Even the author acknowledgedthat it is only through hard work that the poor population wouldliberate themselves this is evident in the way the author assertsthat, it was not Gods will for man to suffer but the duty of mankindto work hard. My opinions are that, demographics, inflation and wagesrelate to Marxist ideas that capitalism persists due to the readilycheap labor from high population. Marxism envisions the potential ofthe oppressed workers rebelling. However, I feel that Malthusarguments on high cost of living and poverty would lead to cheaplabor and less chance of rebellion. In general, Malthus appears tohave a skeptical view of the poor society in rising above theirpoverty.

AFeministic view of the text

Iam of view that, the ‘one child’ policy and male child favoritismin many societies across the globe can be linked to Malthus’stheory. In particular, I feel that his call for preventive populationcontrol through celibacy and abortion are in many ways offensive towomen. In the text, I feel that the author’s advocacy for abortiondoes not seem to have compassion to the sufferings women go throughduring forced abortions. In addition, by calling on people topractice delayed marriages and celibacy is a male chauvinisticperspective that does not have regard to women.

Ifeel that the author’s approach on population control suggested hasbeen misused in the modern age. In particular, population controlmeasures such as the ‘one child’ policy in China has led to grossviolation of human rights in which women are forced to abort unwantedbabies. In some cases, this has led to gender preference in which themale child is the preferred choice.


Ifeel that, the whole prose by Malthus and his precedent theory ofpopulation control is queer. In particular, the author was areligious revered yet his arguments and suggestions on the means ofcontrolling high population are queer. In my opinion, Malthusadvocacy and prediction for population control through checks such aswar, hunger and diseases are in themselves an indication of lack ofhumanity and compassion by the author. I am surprised that suchpresumptions were suggested by a person of such religious cadre manycritics have far labeled him as a failed prophet of doom.

Similarly,I perceive that Malthus theory appears to strength the notion ofsurvival for the fittest in one instance in his writing, he wasopposed to relief services given to the poor. I feel that, unlikeMalthus opinion the poor and the suffering should be assisted withrelief services. In addition, an analysis of population controlmeasures advocated by Malthus is more harmful to population than theeffects of high population. I believe that today’s practices suchas abortions, celibacy and birth controls have increased immoralityand more deaths than it would result from the effects of highpopulations.


Malthustext can be analyzed through the Marxist, feministic and the queertheory. In my view, Malthus text has mixed arguments on capitalismand oppression as espoused by Marxism. In particular, the essayappears to support the principle of continued struggle as a means ofbettering the society. On a feministic perspective, I feel that theauthor appears to advocate for harmful population control measuresthat would affect women. Lastly, I think the overall text theory ofpopulation control is queer through the suggestions given by theauthor as a means of checking population.