Thomas Malthus

DEFINITION of 'Thomas Malthus'

An 18th-century British philosopher and economist famous for his ideas about population growth. Malthus' population theories were outlined in his book, "An Essay on the Principle of Population", first published in 1798. In it he theorized that populations will continue to grow until growth is stopped or reversed by disease, famine, war or calamity. He developed what is now referred to as the Malthusian growth model, an exponential formula used to forecast population growth.

BREAKING DOWN 'Thomas Malthus'

Thomas Malthus was a controversial figure. The late 18th and early 19th centuries were marked by philosophers who believed that humanity would continue to grow and improve itself, and could create a utopian society. Malthus countered this argument by saying that, throughout history, a portion of the general population has always been poor and miserable, that this was unlikely to change and that these factors actually helped control population growth.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Dismal Science

    A term coined by Scottish writer, essayist and historian Thomas ...
  2. Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns

    A law of economics stating that, as the number of new employees ...
  3. Population

    The entire pool from which a statistical sample is drawn. The ...
  4. Affordability Index

    A measure of a population's ability to afford to purchase a particular ...
  5. Sampling Distribution

    A probability distribution of a statistic obtained through a ...
  6. Demographics

    Studies of a population based on factors such as age, race, sex, ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    These Companies Are Poised for Growth as Global Population Growth Comes Online

    While there are many concerns about population growth putting pressure on natural resources such as water and energy, these increased demands can spell profits for certain companies that can ...
  2. Markets

    3 Reasons to Invest in Asia's Emerging Markets

    Emerging markets in Asia aren't on the rise at the moment, but they're best days are likely to be in the future. Here's why.
  3. Investing

    The Bargain Stocks Leading The Next Trillion-Dollar Industry

    Over the next few decades, the world's population will be older on average than it's ever been before. Brazil's senior population is expected to grow to 30% of the total population in 2030 from ...
  4. Investing

    The High Yielders Leading The Next Trillion-Dollar Industry

    Over the next few decades, the world's population will be older on average than it's ever been before. Brazil's senior population is expected to grow to 30% of the total population in 2030 from ...
  5. Markets

    China's Former One-Child Policy Explained

    A look at China's former plan to control population growth.
  6. Markets

    How Demographics Drive The Economy

    Demographics can have a profound effect on the economy. An aging population coupled with a declining birthrate points to a decline in economic growth.
  7. Markets

    Top Ranking Nations By HNWI

    The United States, Japan and Germany together make up 53.3% of the total worldwide high net worth individual population.
  8. Markets

    Why Commodities Aren't to Blame for Market Malaise

    Commodities are taking the brunt of the blame for poor investment performance. Are they the real villain?
  9. Markets

    Keep an Eye on These Emerging Economies

    Emerging markets have been hammered lately, but these three countries (and their large and young populations) are worth monitoring.
  10. Managing Wealth

    What China's New Policy Means for Business

    Now that China has eliminated its one-child policy, how will the new policy impact businesses?
RELATED FAQS
  1. What can demographics tell us about present and future consumption trends and economic ...

    Learn what demographics reveals about present and future consumption trends and economic cycles. Demographics is the study ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the disadvantages of using a simple random sample to approximate a larger ...

    Learn what a simple random sample is, how researchers use it as a statistical tool and the disadvantages it carries when ... Read Answer >>
  3. What countries represent the largest portion of the global Internet sector?

    Learn which countries are most likely to impact the growing Internet sector based on recent user growth and largest populations ... Read Answer >>
  4. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Discover whether Japan is an emerging market economy. Emerging markets have high levels of risk and reward due to their growth ... Read Answer >>
  5. What demographic trends are creating potential profits for insurance companies?

    Discover the ways in which insurance companies can profit from demographic trends. Two major ones are aging populations and ... Read Answer >>
  6. What governments have used the human development index (HDI) to set policy?

    Learn more about what the Human Development Index (HDI) entails, and find out how governments use this index to set and evaluate ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Poison Pill

    A strategy used by corporations to discourage hostile takeovers. With a poison pill, the target company attempts to make ...
  2. Glass-Steagall Act

    An act the U.S. Congress passed in 1933 as the Banking Act, which prohibited commercial banks from participating in the investment ...
  3. Quantitative Trading

    Trading strategies based on quantitative analysis which rely on mathematical computations and number crunching to identify ...
  4. Bond Ladder

    A portfolio of fixed-income securities in which each security has a significantly different maturity date. The purpose of ...
  5. Duration

    A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. ...
  6. Dove

    An economic policy advisor who promotes monetary policies that involve the maintenance of low interest rates, believing that ...
Trading Center