Political economy is the study of production and trade and their relations with law and government. As a discipline, political economy originated in moral philosophy, in the 18th century, to explore the administration of states' wealth, with "political" signifying the Greek word polity and "economy" signifying the Greek word "okonomie"; the earliest works of political economy are attributed to the British scholars Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, although they were preceded by the work of the French physiocrats, such as François Quesnay and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot. In the late 19th century, the term "economics" began to replace the term "political economy" with the rise of mathematical modelling coinciding with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall in 1890. Earlier, William Stanley Jevons, a proponent of mathematical methods applied to the subject, advocated economics for brevity and with the hope of the term becoming "the recognised name of a science".
Citation measurement metrics from Google Ngram Viewer indicate that use of the term "economics" began to overshadow "political economy" around 1910, becoming the preferred term for the discipline by 1920. Today, the term "economics" refers to the narrow study of the economy absent other political and social considerations while the term "political economy" represents a distinct and competing approach. Political economy, where it is not used as a synonym for economics, may refer to different things. From an academic standpoint, the term may reference Marxian economics, applied public choice approaches emanating from the Chicago school and the Virginia school. In common parlance, "political economy" may refer to the advice given by economists to the government or public on general economic policy or on specific economic proposals developed by political scientists. A growing mainstream literature from the 1970s has expanded beyond the model of economic policy in which planners maximize utility of a representative individual toward examining how political forces affect the choice of economic policies as to distributional conflicts and political institutions.
It is available as a stand-alone area of study in certain universities. Political economy meant the study of the conditions under which production or consumption within limited parameters was organized in nation-states. In that way, political economy expanded the emphasis of economics, which comes from the Greek oikos and nomos. Political economy was thus meant to express the laws of production of wealth at the state level, just as economics was the ordering of the home; the phrase économie politique first appeared in France in 1615 with the well-known book by Antoine de Montchrétien, Traité de l’economie politique. The French physiocrats were the first exponents of political economy, although the intellectual responses of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, David Ricardo, Henry George and Karl Marx to the physiocrats receives much greater attention; the world's first professorship in political economy was established in 1754 at the University of Naples Federico II in southern Italy. The Neapolitan philosopher Antonio Genovesi was the first tenured professor.
In 1763, Joseph von Sonnenfels was appointed a Political Economy chair at the University of Vienna, Austria. Thomas Malthus, in 1805, became England's first professor of political economy, at the East India Company College, Hertfordshire. In its contemporary meaning, political economy refers to different yet related approaches to studying economic and related behaviours, ranging from the combination of economics with other fields to the use of different, fundamental assumptions that challenge earlier economic assumptions: Political economy most refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics and political science in explaining how political institutions, the political environment, the economic system—capitalist, communist, or mixed—influence each other; the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes associate political economy with three sub-areas: the role of government and/or class and power relationships in resource allocation for each type of economic system. Much of the political economy approach is derived from public choice theory on the one hand and radical political economics on the other hand, both dating from the 1960s.
Public choice theory is a microfoundations theory, intertwined with political economy. Both approaches model voters and bureaucrats as behaving in self-interested ways, in contrast to a view, ascribed to earlier mainstream economists, of government officials trying to maximize individual utilities from some kind of social welfare function; as such and political scientists associate political economy with approaches using rational-choice assumptions in game theory and in examining phenomena beyond economics' standard remit, such as government failure and complex decision making in which context the term "positive political economy" is common. Other "traditional" topics include analysis of such public policy issues as economic regulation, rent-seeking, market protection, institutional corruption and distributional politics. Empirical analysis includes the influence of elections on the choice of economic policy and forecasting models of electoral outcome
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, its half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, arts.
Domestically, the political agenda was liberal, with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform, industrial reform, the widening of the franchise. There were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of England and Wales doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901, Scotland's population rose from 2.8 million in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. However, Ireland's population decreased from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901 due to emigration and the Great Famine. Between 1837 and 1901 about 15 million emigrated from Great Britain to the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia; the two main political parties during the era remained the Conservatives. These parties were led by such prominent statesmen as Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Lord Salisbury; the unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a great part in politics in the Victorian era in view of Gladstone's determination to achieve a political settlement in Ireland.
In the strictest sense, the Victorian era covers the duration of Victoria's reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from her accession on 20 June 1837—after the death of her uncle, William IV—until her death on 22 January 1901, after which she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. Her reign lasted for seven months, a longer period than any of her predecessors; the term'Victorian' was in contemporaneous usage to describe the era. The era has been understood in a more extensive sense as a period that possessed sensibilities and characteristics distinct from the periods adjacent to it, in which case it is sometimes dated to begin before Victoria's accession—typically from the passage of or agitation for the Reform Act 1832, which introduced a wide-ranging change to the electoral system of England and Wales. Definitions that purport a distinct sensibility or politics to the era have created scepticism about the worth of the label "Victorian", though there have been defences of it.
Michael Sadleir was insistent that "in truth the Victorian period is three periods, not one". He distinguished early Victorianism – the and politically unsettled period from 1837 to 1850 – and late Victorianism, with its new waves of aestheticism and imperialism, from the Victorian heyday: mid-Victorianism, 1851 to 1879, he saw the latter period as characterised by a distinctive mixture of prosperity, domestic prudery, complacency – what G. M. Trevelyan called the "mid-Victorian decades of quiet politics and roaring prosperity". In 1832, after much political agitation, the Reform Act was passed on the third attempt; the Act abolished many borough seats and created others in their place, as well as expanding the franchise in England and Wales. Minor reforms followed in 1835 and 1836. On 20 June 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her uncle, William IV, her government was led by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, but within two years he had resigned, the Tory politician Sir Robert Peel attempted to form a new ministry.
In the same year, a seizure of British opium exports to China prompted the First Opium War against the Qing dynasty, British imperial India initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War—one of the first major conflicts of the Great Game between Britain and Russia. In 1840, Queen Victoria married her German cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, it proved a happy marriage, whose children were much sought after by royal families across Europe. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand; the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ended the First Opium War and gave Britain control over Hong Kong Island. However, a disastrous retreat from Kabul in the same year led to the annihilation of a British army column in Afghanistan. In 1845, the Great Famine began to cause mass starvation and death in Ireland, sparking large-scale emigration. Peel was replaced by the Whig ministry of Lord John Russell. In 1853, Britain fought alongside France in the Crimean War against Russia.
The goal was to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the declining status
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, translator, historian and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time, he presented many lectures during his lifetime with certain acclaim in the Victorian era. One of those conferences resulted in his famous work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, The Heroic in History where he explains that the key role in history lies in the actions of the "Great Man", claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men". A respected historian, his 1837 book The French Revolution: A History was the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, remains popular today. Carlyle's 1836 Sartor Resartus is a notable philosophical novel. A great polemicist, Carlyle coined the term "the dismal science" for economics, in his essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question"', he wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, his "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question" remains controversial.
Once a Christian, Carlyle lost his faith while attending the University of Edinburgh adopting a form of deism. In mathematics, he is known for the Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations and for developing ruler-and-compass constructions of regular polygons. Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire, his parents determinedly afforded him an education at Annan Academy, where he was bullied and tormented so much that he left after three years. His father was a member of the Burgher secession church. In early life, his family's strong Calvinist beliefs powerfully influenced the young man. After attending the University of Edinburgh, Carlyle became a mathematics teacher, first in Annan and in Kirkcaldy, where he became close friends with the mystic Edward Irving. In 1819–21, Carlyle returned to the University of Edinburgh, where he suffered an intense crisis of faith and a conversion, which provided the material for Sartor Resartus, which first brought him to the public's notice.
Carlyle developed a painful stomach ailment gastric ulcers, that remained throughout his life and contributed to his reputation as a crotchety, somewhat disagreeable personality. His prose style, famously cranky and savage, helped cement an air of irascibility. Carlyle's thinking became influenced by German idealism, in particular the work of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, he established himself as an expert on German literature in a series of essays for Fraser's Magazine, by translating German works, notably Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. He wrote a Life of Schiller. In 1826, Thomas Carlyle married fellow intellectual Jane Baillie Welsh, whom he had met through Edward Irving during his period of German studies. In 1827, he applied for the Chair of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews University but was not appointed. A residence provided by Jane's estate was a house on Craigenputtock, a farm in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, he wrote about his life at Craigenputtock – in particular: "It is certain that for living and thinking in I have never since found in the world a place so favourable."
Here Carlyle wrote some of his most distinguished essays, began a lifelong friendship with the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1831, the Carlyles moved to London, settling in lodgings at 4 Ampton Street, Kings Cross. In 1834, they moved to 5 Cheyne Row, which has since been preserved as a museum to Carlyle's memory, he became known as the "Sage of Chelsea", a member of a literary circle which included the essayists Leigh Hunt and John Stuart Mill. Here Carlyle wrote The French Revolution: A History, a historical study concentrating both on the oppression of the poor of France and on the horrors of the mob unleashed; the book was successful. By 1821, Carlyle focused on making a life as a writer, his first fiction was one of several abortive attempts at writing a novel. Following his work on a translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, he came to distrust the form of the realistic novel and so worked on developing a new form of fiction. In addition to his essays on German literature, he branched out into wider ranging commentary on modern culture in his influential essays Signs of the Times and Characteristics.
In the latter, he laid down his abiding preference for the natural over the artificial: "Thus, as we have an artificial Poetry, prize only the natural. Moreover, at this time he penned articles appraising the life and works of various poets and men of letters, including Goethe and Diderot, his first major work, Sartor Resartus was begun as an article on "the philosophy of clothes", surprised him by growing into a full-length book. He wrote it in 1831 at his home and was intended to be a new kind of book: factual and fictional and satirical, speculative and historical, it commented on its own formal structure while forcing the reader to confront the problem of where "truth" is to be found. Sartor Resartus was first serialised in Fraser's Magazine from 1833 to 1834; the text presents itself as an unnamed editor's attempt to introduce the British public to Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, a German philosopher of clothes, in fact a fictional creation of Carlyle's. The Edito
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy, he became the youngest to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems. In 1889 at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward, a complete loss of his mental faculties, he lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900. Nietzsche's body of work touched a wide range of topics, including art, history, tragedy and science, his writing spans philosophical polemics, cultural criticism and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism. He developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return. In his work, he became preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health. After his death, his sister Elisabeth became the curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts, reworking his unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism. Through her published editions, Nietzsche's work became associated with Nazism. Nietzsche's thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s and his ideas have since had a profound impact on 20th and early-21st century thinkers across philosophy—especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism and post-structuralism—as well as art, psychology and popular culture.
Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. Nietzsche's Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, they had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; the family moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's maternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house, now Nietzsche-Haus, a museum and Nietzsche study centre. Nietzsche attended a boys' school and a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from respected families. In 1854, he began to attend Domgymnasium in Naumburg; because his father had worked for the state the now-fatherless Nietzsche was offered a scholarship to study at the internationally recognized Schulpforta.
He transferred and studied there from 1858 to 1864, becoming friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He found time to work on poems and musical compositions. Nietzsche led a music and literature club, during his summers in Naumburg. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important grounding in languages—Greek, Latin and French—so as to be able to read important primary sources, his end-of-semester exams in March 1864 showed a 1 in German. While at Pforta, Nietzsche had a penchant for pursuing subjects, he became acquainted with the work of the almost-unknown poet Friedrich Hölderlin, calling him "my favorite poet" and composing an essay in which he said that the mad poet raised consciousness to "the most sublime ideality." The teacher who corrected the essay gave it a good mark but commented that Nietzsche should concern himself in the future with healthier, more lucid, more "German" writers. Additionally, he became acquainted with Ernst Ortlepp, an eccentric and drunken poet, found dead in a ditch weeks after meeting the young Nietzsche but who may have introduced Nietzsche to the music and writing of Rich
Economics is the social science that studies the production and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents. Microeconomics analyzes basic elements in the economy, including individual agents and markets, their interactions, the outcomes of interactions. Individual agents may include, for example, firms and sellers. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and issues affecting it, including unemployment of resources, economic growth, the public policies that address these issues. See glossary of economics. Other broad distinctions within economics include those between positive economics, describing "what is", normative economics, advocating "what ought to be". Economic analysis can be applied throughout society, in business, health care, government. Economic analysis is sometimes applied to such diverse subjects as crime, the family, politics, social institutions, war and the environment; the discipline was renamed in the late 19th century due to Alfred Marshall, from "political economy" to "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science".
At that time, it became more open to rigorous thinking and made increased use of mathematics, which helped support efforts to have it accepted as a science and as a separate discipline outside of political science and other social sciences. There are a variety of modern definitions of economics. Scottish philosopher Adam Smith defined what was called political economy as "an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations", in particular as: a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people... to supply the state or commonwealth with a revenue for the publick services. Jean-Baptiste Say, distinguishing the subject from its public-policy uses, defines it as the science of production and consumption of wealth. On the satirical side, Thomas Carlyle coined "the dismal science" as an epithet for classical economics, in this context linked to the pessimistic analysis of Malthus. John Stuart Mill defines the subject in a social context as: The science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth, in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other object.
Alfred Marshall provides a still cited definition in his textbook Principles of Economics that extends analysis beyond wealth and from the societal to the microeconomic level: Economics is a study of man in the ordinary business of life. It enquires how he uses it. Thus, it is on the one side, the study of wealth and on the other and more important side, a part of the study of man. Lionel Robbins developed implications of what has been termed "erhaps the most accepted current definition of the subject": Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. Robbins describes the definition as not classificatory in "pick out certain kinds of behaviour" but rather analytical in "focus attention on a particular aspect of behaviour, the form imposed by the influence of scarcity." He affirmed that previous economists have centred their studies on the analysis of wealth: how wealth is created and consumed. But he said that economics can be used to study other things, such as war, that are outside its usual focus.
This is because war has as the goal winning it, generates both cost and benefits. If the war is not winnable or if the expected costs outweigh the benefits, the deciding actors may never go to war but rather explore other alternatives. We cannot define economics as the science that studies wealth, crime and any other field economic analysis can be applied to; some subsequent comments criticized the definition as overly broad in failing to limit its subject matter to analysis of markets. From the 1960s, such comments abated as the economic theory of maximizing behaviour and rational-choice modelling expanded the domain of the subject to areas treated in other fields. There are other criticisms as well, such as in scarcity not accounting for the macroeconomics of high unemployment. Gary Becker, a contributor to the expansion of economics into new areas, describes the approach he favours as "combin assumptions of maximizing behaviour, stable preferences, market equilibrium, used relentlessly and unflinchingly."
One commentary characterizes the remark as making economics an approach rather than a subject matter but with great specificity as to the "choice process and the type of social interaction that analysis involves." The same source reviews a range of definitions included in principles of economics textbooks and concludes that the lack of agreement need not affect the subject-matter that the texts treat. A
David Ricardo was a British political economist, one of the most influential of the classical economists along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith and James Mill. Born in London, Ricardo was the third of 17 children of a Sephardic Jewish family of Portuguese origin who had relocated from the Dutch Republic, his father, Abraham Ricardo, was a successful stockbroker. He began working with his father at the age of 14. At age 21, Ricardo eloped with a Quaker, Priscilla Anne Wilkinson, against his father's wishes, converted to the Unitarian faith; this religious difference resulted in estrangement from his family, he was led to adopt a position of independence. His father disowned him and his mother never spoke to him again. Following this estrangement he went into business for himself with the support of Lubbocks and Forster, an eminent banking house, he made the bulk of his fortune as a result of speculation on the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo. The Sunday Times reported in Ricardo's obituary, published on 14 September 1823, that during the Battle of Waterloo Ricardo "netted upwards of a million sterling", a huge sum at the time.
He retired, his position on the floor no longer tenable, subsequently purchased Gatcombe Park, an estate in Gloucestershire, now owned by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and retired to the country. He was appointed High Sheriff of Gloucestershire for 1818–19. In August 1818 he bought Lord Portarlington's seat in Parliament for £4,000, as part of the terms of a loan of £25,000, his record in Parliament was that of an earnest reformer. He held the seat until his death five years later. Ricardo was a close friend of James Mill. Other notable friends included Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Malthus, with whom Ricardo had a considerable debate over such things as the role of landowners in a society, he was a member of Malthus' Political Economy Club, a member of the King of Clubs. He was one of the original members of The Geological Society, his youngest sister was author Sarah Ricardo-Porter. He voted with opposition in support of the liberal movements in Naples, 21 Feb. and Sicily, 21 June, for inquiry into the administration of justice in Tobago, 6 June.
He divided for repeal of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act, 8 May, inquiry into the Peterloo massacre, 16 May, abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 25 May, 4 June 1821. He adamantly supported the implementation of free trade, he voted against renewal of the sugar duties, 9 Feb. and objected to the higher duty on East as opposed to West Indian produce, 4 May 1821. He opposed the timber duties, he voted silently for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 3 June, spoke in its favour at the Westminster anniversary reform dinner, 23 May 1822. He again voted for 4 June, his friend John Louis Mallett commented: " … he meets you upon every subject that he has studied with a mind made up, opinions in the nature of mathematical truths. He spoke of parliamentary reform and ballot as a man who would bring such things about, destroy the existing system tomorrow, if it were in his power, without the slightest doubt on the result … It is this quality of the man’s mind, his entire disregard of experience and practice, which makes me doubtful of his opinions on political economy."
Ten years after retiring and four years after entering Parliament Ricardo died from an infection of the middle ear that spread into the brain and induced septicaemia. He was 51, he had eight children, including three sons, of whom Osman Ricardo and another David Ricardo, became Members of Parliament, while the third, Mortimer Ricardo, served as an officer in the Life Guards and was a deputy lieutenant for Oxfordshire. Ricardo is buried in an ornate grave in the churchyard of Saint Nicholas in Hardenhuish, now a suburb of Chippenham, Wiltshire. At the time of his death his fortune was estimated at about £600,000. Ricardo became interested in economics after reading Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1799, he wrote his first economics article at age 37, firstly in The Morning Chronicle advocating reduction in the note-issuing of the Bank of England and publishing "The High Price of Bullion, a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes" in 1810. He was an abolitionist, speaking at a meeting of the Court of the East India Company in March 1823, where he said he regarded slavery as a stain on the character of the nation.
His sister, had married David Samuda who came from a slave-owning family with a substantial number of slaves in Jamaica. Ricardo's most famous work is his Principles of Political Taxation, he advanced a labor theory of value: The value of a commodity, or the quantity of any other commodity for which it will exchange, depends on the relative quantity of labour, necessary for its production, not on the greater or less compensation, paid for that labour. Ricardo's note to Section VI: Mr. Malthus appears to think that it is a part of my doctrine, that the cost and value of a thing be the same. Ricardo contributed to the development of theories of rent and profits, he defined rent as "the difference between the produce obtained by the employment of two equal quantities of capital and labor." Ricardo believed that the process of economic development, which increased land utilization and led to the cultivation of poorer land, principally benefited landowners. According to Ricardo, such premium over "real social value", reaped due to ownership constitutes value to an individual but is at best a paper
An Essay on the Principle of Population
The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798, but the author was soon identified as Thomas Robert Malthus. The book predicted a grim future, as population would increase geometrically, doubling every 25 years, but food production would only grow arithmetically, which would result in famine and starvation, unless births were controlled. While it was not the first book on population, it was revised for over 28 years and has been acknowledged as the most influential work of its era. Malthus's book fuelled debate about the size of the population in the Kingdom of Great Britain and contributed to the passing of the Census Act 1800; this Act enabled the holding of a national census in England and Scotland, starting in 1801 and continuing every ten years to the present. The book's 6th edition was independently cited as a key influence by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of natural selection. A key portion of the book was dedicated to.
This name itself is retrospective, based on the iron law of wages, the reformulation of Malthus' position by Ferdinand Lassalle, who in turn derived the name from Goethe's "great, eternal iron laws" in Das Göttliche. This theory suggested that growing population rates would contribute to a rising supply of labour that would lower wages. In essence, Malthus feared that continued population growth would lend itself to famine. In 1803, Malthus published, under the same title, a revised second edition of his work, his final version, the 6th edition, was published in 1826. In 1830, 32 years after the first edition, Malthus published a condensed version entitled A Summary View on the Principle of Population, which included responses to criticisms of the larger work. Between 1798 and 1826 Malthus published six editions of his famous treatise, updating each edition to incorporate new material, to address criticism, to convey changes in his own perspectives on the subject, he wrote the original text in reaction to the optimism of his father and his father's associates regarding the future improvement of society.
Malthus constructed his case as a specific response to writings of William Godwin and of the Marquis de Condorcet. Malthus regarded ideals of future improvement in the lot of humanity with scepticism, considering that throughout history a segment of every human population seemed relegated to poverty, he explained this phenomenon by arguing that population growth expanded in times and in regions of plenty until the size of the population relative to the primary resources caused distress: "Yet in all societies those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment is so strong, that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition"; the way in which these effects are produced seems to be this. We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants; the constant effort towards population... increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased.
The food therefore which before supported seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions. The poor must live much worse, many of them be reduced to severe distress; the number of labourers being above the proportion of the work in the market, the price of labour must tend toward a decrease, while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer therefore must work harder to earn the same. During this season of distress, the discouragements to marriage, the difficulty of rearing a family are so great that population is at a stand. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land, to turn up fresh soil, to manure and improve more what is in tillage, till the means of subsistence become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out; the situation of the labourer being again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened, the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness are repeated.
Malthus saw that societies through history had experienced at one time or another epidemics, famines, or wars: events that masked the fundamental problem of populations overstretching their resource limitations: The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are able ministers of depopulation, they are the precursors in the great army of destruction, finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics and plague advance in terrific array, sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world; the rapid increase in the global population of the past century exemplifies Malthus's predicted population patterns. These findings are the basis for neo-Malthusian modern mathematical models of long-term historical dynamics.
Malthus made the specific prediction that world population would