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Malthus, Thomas

Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834) was a leading English political economist, writer, and cleric, whose work significantly influenced the fields of economics and demography. He is best known for his theory of population expounded in An Essay on the Principle of Population and his Principles of Political Economy. In the first he argued that human beings would not be able to go forward “with accelerated velocity towards illimitable, and hitherto unconceived improvement” because population growth due to natural forces would negate the positive effects of human attempts toward such improvements. In the second he questioned the ideas of other classical economists, including Adam Smith and David Ricardo, that saving was the mainspring of economic growth, suggesting that high rates of saving can result in a ...

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