Criticism of Malthusian Theory
In the first place pointed out that Malthus’s pessimistic concision not been borne out by history of Western E an countries. The gloomy forecast made by thus about the miserable conditions of future rations of mankind has not proved true of the world. Whereas population has failed to grow as rapidly as predicted by Malthus. production has increased tremendously because of the rapid advances in technology. As a result, living standards of the people have risen instead of falling as was predicted by Malthus.
Secondly, the Malthusian theory of population is based on the law of diminishing returns as applied to agriculture. It is on the basis of this law that Malthus asserted that food production could not keep pace with population growth. By making rapid advances in technology and larger application of capital, advanced countries have been able to increase their production greatly. In fact. in most of the advanced countries, the rate of increase of food production has been much greater than the rate of population growth.
Thirdly, Malthus considered food production alone and not the production of wealth in all its forms. He compared the population growth with the increase in food production alone. Malthus held that since land was limited in quantity, food production could not increase faster than population, But he should have taken into account all types of production in considering the question of the optimum size of the population. England did feel the shortage of land and food. If England had been forced to support its population entirely from her own soil, there can be little doubt that England would have experienced series of famines by which its growth of population would have been checked.
In the Western countries, the attitude towards children changed as they prospered. Previously, much attention was not paid to children. But now parents feel a duty to do as much as they can for each child and, therefore, they decide not to have more children than they can attend to. People now care more for higher standard of living than rearing more children. The extensive use of contraceptives in the Western world has brought down the birth rate there. This change in the attitude towards children and the wider use of contraceptives in the Western world have falsified Malthusian doctrine.
Fifthly, Malthus gave no proof of his assertion that population increased exactly in an arithmetic progression. It has been rightly pointed out that population and food supply do not change in accordance with these mathematical series. Growth of population and food supply cannot be expected to show the precision or accuracy of such series. However, Malthus, in later editions of his book, did not insist on these mathematical terms and only held that there was an inherent tendency in population to outrun the means of subsistence. We have seen above that even this is far from true
The civilized world has kept the population in check. It is, however, to be regretted that population has been increasing at the wrong end. The poor people, who can ill-afford to bring up and educate children, are multiplying, whereas the rich, who can rear quality children, are applying breaks on the increase of the size of their families.