By Yves Charbit
According to present knowing, Malthus used to be antagonistic to an far more than inhabitants since it prompted social sufferings, whereas Marx used to be beneficial to demographic progress in as far as a wide proletariat used to be an element demanding the contradictions of capitalism. this is often regrettably an oversimplification. either raised a similar the most important query: while regarded as an financial variable, how does inhabitants healthy into the research of monetary development? even supposing they all started from an analogous analytical point of view, Marx confirmed a really varied analysis from that of Malthus and equipped a social doctrine no much less divergent. The ebook additionally discusses the theoretical and doctrinal contribution of the liberal economists, writing on the onset of the economic revolution in France (1840-1870), and people in their modern, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who shared with Marx the denunciation of the capitalist procedure. via paying cautious recognition to the social, fiscal, and political context, this e-book is going past the shortcomings of the class among professional- and anti-populationism. It sheds new gentle over 19th century controversies over inhabitants in France, a case research for Europe.
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Additional info for Economic, Social and Demographic Thought in the XIXth Century: The Population Debate from Malthus to Marx
The argument is developed into a fervent warning to rulers about their responsibilities towards the poor and goes to the extent of accusing them of being “criminal”, a quite astonishing statement coming from an author considered to be conservative by his adversaries: “That it is always the duty of a state to use every exertion likely to be effectual in discouraging vice and promoting virtue, and that no temporary circumstances ought to cause any relaxation in these exertions is certainly true.
As a matter of fact, the war years had stimulated demographic growth and several generations of workers appeared on the labour market. The good harvest in 1815 and 1816 led to a fall in agricultural income and to growing unemployment among agricultural labourers. At the same time, the end of the war (1815) threw into the labour market demobilised soldiers, thus increasing the downward pressure on wages, while farmers and merchants, whose earnings had decreased due to the low price of cereals, could not employ this plentiful labour.
71 This distinction between necessaries, commodities and luxuries was analysed by the economist Nassau Senior, a contemporary of Malthus, in his Outline of the Science of Political Economy. 73 It may be recalled that the second model shows that the growth of agricultural production is followed by a fall in the price of the means of subsistence. If it is assumed that the higher price of wheat is a result of protectionist taxes, the model does not really change: it is just that the initial prices of wheat and the wage rates are higher.
Economic, Social and Demographic Thought in the XIXth Century: The Population Debate from Malthus to Marx by Yves Charbit