Malthusian cycles are political-demographic cycles that were typical for complex premodern societies. Due to a number of mechanisms, within the premodern social systems (and some would argue even in the 21st century), population growth tended to produce a set of imbalances and strains, eventually resulting in political-demographic collapses and substantial population decline. After stabilization, the population growth usually restarted—marking the beginning of a new Malthusian political demographic cycle. This entry provides an overview of elements of the Malthusian cycle dynamics, a consideration of its political aspects, a summary of theories and mathematical models that have been advanced to explain the Malthusian cycles, and a discussion of the escape from the Malthusian trap and its political consequences.


The main assumptions of the original theory of Thomas ...

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