• An Essay on the Principle of Population

  • By: Thomas Malthus
  • Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

While millions face hunger, malnutrition, and starvation, the world's population is increasing by over 225,000 people per day, 80 million per year. In many countries, supplies of food and water are inadequate to support the population, so the world falls deeper and deeper into what economists call the "Malthusian trap".

Here, Malthus examines the tendency of human numbers to outstrip their resources, and argues that poverty, disease, and starvation are necessary to keep societies from moving beyond their means of subsistence.

Public Domain (P)2013 Audible Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about An Essay on the Principle of Population

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amazing how relevant this is, 250 years later

this work is a classic. Mathus has had it all figured out centuries ago. paying people to not work and subsidizing these people to have children is a tremendous drain on society. no one has the right to have children and expect others to pay for them at the expense of their own. this puts a huge drain on the progress of society. as malthus says, sloth will always lead to poverty, and industriousness to wealth, and nothing will change that. any attempts to do so would bring about the downfall of society. he uses the analogy that while the roots of a tree are far away from the tree top, that is how a tree grows. trying to stop the tree from growing or its roots from expanding will kill the trunk.

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  • Jason
  • 04-18-14

An interesting period piece, who's time has come.

What did you like best about An Essay on the Principle of Population? What did you like least?

It is a wonderful window into the colonial mind of the late eighteenth century. Many of his viewpoints are so screamingly politically incorrect as to have me laughing out loud, yet there was a strong argument that ran through the essay that I found myself unable to refute. I loved his somewhat archaic yet delightful use of the English language. My criticism is that he had one central argument which whilst well made, he did not really develop any further, rather just kept illustrating repeatedly by way of different examples.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Hey, I think the guy is essentially correct, and we are seeing the truth of his predictions being lived out around us every day. That was very interesting. I'm not sure if Godwin stole his girlfriend in adolescence or something, but his grinding an axe on Godwin's eralier work became tedious.

Have you listened to any of Gareth Armstrong’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I don't believe I have. I enjoyed his performance very much.

Do you think An Essay on the Principle of Population needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It would be tricky, 200 years after the fact, but of course this essay is a milestone in societal discourse. It is so frequently referred to that to all intents and purposes, much has been built on this work.

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  • Bill Atkinson
  • 06-23-22

Great background learning

Whilst written 200 years ago and in old fashioned language this essay gives the reader a back to basics understanding upon which to base current thoughts. My favorite is when the author basically says basing progress on GDP is what will reinforce the issues of poverty.

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  • mlake
  • 08-25-20

First economics writing focused solely on labour supply. Excellent!

Malthus is underrated but highly acclaimed by Keynes. Though the title is an essay on population, but in fact it is the empirical and theoretical analysis on labour demand and supply. The insight is lucid and just splendid. It demonstrates how social science should be.