Thomas Malthus And John Stuart Mill Summary

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The issue of sustainability is one of the most fundamental and important subjects in economics. Thomas Malthus’ bleak evaluation of humanity’s prospects in the face of overpopulation heralded a new age in economics where pessimism became the undisputed ruler of discourse. John Stuart Mill’s efforts to banish this pervasive gloom by appealing to the capabilities and intelligence of his fellow men is both inspiring and devastatingly effective. In a broader context, the struggle between Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill cannot be viewed as merely a peripheral debate on a singular issue; it is a battle for the very soul of economic analysis. Before delving into a comparative analysis of these two brilliant thinkers, it is essential to provide an overview of their differing theories of human nature and to examine the contexts that shaped their scholarship.

Thomas Malthus lived in a society that venerated population growth as the ultimate source of prosperity and harmony. Contemporaries of Malthus, such as clergyman William Paley, argued that the aggregate amount of ‘happiness’ in a society is almost exactly proportional to the size of its populace. It therefore comes as no surprise that the noblemen, politicians, and theologians of Malthus’ time were greatly distressed by sensational claims that England’s population was in severe decline. The hysteria of this concern was neatly encapsulated by Paley, who unambiguously asserted that a contraction of the population is

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