Culture Magazine

Population, Pandemics, Malthus, and Progress

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

Roser points out and documents something I've often said, but with much less data: Malthus was right! That is, until roughly a century before he wrote, the pressure of population on land always drove living standards to the edge of subsistence 2/

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) November 26, 2020

But basically Malthus had a profound insight that was almost completely right about the past — but, ironically, wrong about the future. Was he just unlucky? I don't think so 4/

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) November 26, 2020

And this very spirit of rational inquiry is the reason someone like Malthus, who basically tried to apply a simple mathematical model to human history, became possible. That is, the forces that produced Malthus also proved him wrong about the future 6/

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) November 26, 2020

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