Malthus past and present.

Dupaquier J; Fauve-Chamouz A; Grebenik E
New York, N.Y./London, England, Academic Press, 1983. xix, 416 p. (Population and Social Structure: Advances in Historical Demography)

This document contained 9 summary reports and 20 of the 164 papers which were presented at the 1980 International Conference on Historical Demography. The purpose of the conference was to reexamine the ideas of Malthus, to identify misinterpretations of his theories, to trace the origin of his ideas and the historical context in which he formulated his theories, and to evaluate their applicability in the past and in the present. The conference made clear that Malthus was neither an antinatalist nor an enemy of the poor, and that neo-Malthusianism bares little resemblence to the theories of Malthus. Parts I and II contain 9 papers which discuss Malthus' demographic, economic, and social theories and the social, economic, political, and intellectual context in which he developed these theories. 1 of these papers discussed Malthus as a demographer. Malthus was in general a poor forecaster of population dynamics; however, he did predict differential fertility and the demographic transition. Furthermore he recognized many of the dilemmas which confront demographers today. Another paper discussed Malthus' ideas abut mortality. Malthus maintained that the rate of mortality was constant. 1 author analyzed the local parrish records which were available to Malthus to determine if the data contained in those records supported Malthus' population principle. The data did not support Malthus' theories. Another author used modern statistical methods to analyze the conditions which existed in England during Malthus' lifetime to determine if Malthus' assumptions were valid at the time he formulated them. Some of the assumptions were valid and others were not. Part III contained 5 articles which discussed Malthus' theories and religion. The degree to which his theories were accepted and in accord with Catholic, Protestant, and Judaic teachings was examined. Part IV, entitled Malthusianism, contained 4 articles which discussed: 1) the impact of Malthus' theories on British thought and on the birth control movement, 2) the relevancy of Malthus' theories today, 3) the rationale underlying Malthus' population principle, and 4) Malthus' theories of underdevelopment. Part V contained 7 papers which dealt with the differences and similarities between Malthus' theories and socialism. Part VI contained 4 papers which discussed: 1) Malthus' ideas about population equilibrium, 2) self-regulating mechanisms in African herbivorous population, 3) self-regulating mechanisms in the red grouse population, and 4) the relationship between food supply and human fertility.

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