POSITIVE CHECK: THE MALTHUSIAN THEOREM AND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Thomas Malthus (1798) had argued that human ingenuity and skill were incapable of controlling population growth. With less efficacious positive controls (moral suasion), he controversially relied on wars, diseases, famine, and deaths—probable circumstantial conditions—to check population growth. The theory of doom was subsequently derided and challenged because of scientific advances and improvements in technology. However, contemporary humans rely on scientific progress to reduce unacceptable levels of deaths through medical innovations and agricultural productivity. This paper evaluates the classical Malthusian prognosis in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It argues that death rates may neither increase per capita income nor revert wage rate per hour to a level of subsistence.
Copyright (c) 2021 Christopher Warburton
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