Was Malthus right or wrong? Feeding the world…
For those of you who did not study History of Economic Thought, Malthus was an economist, but also a priest at the Anglican church. This very strange combination made him a very interesting figure to study, and see Economics through the eyes of a religious man. He was also a true pessimist.
Economics back then was mostly guided by classic economists, who believed that everything would work out on the long run, and that magnet forces would guide economy to equilibrium. Malthus didn’t think so, he was the first to consider the idea that perhaps economies could collapse and never really find equilibrium. His famous assumption was that human population would grow at a geometric progression, while food production would grow at an arithmetic progression, thus human beings would eventually starve to death. > For me, one of the most interesting things is not only his conclusions, but the line of thought behind it. He believed human beings are lazy, and therfore wouldn’t work as hard to produce food, human beings also are sinners, so they would keep reproducing themselves. The only way for them to save themselves from certain chaos would be to find God, practice celibacy and devote themselves to work in order to produce more food.
Religious beliefs aside, Malthus didn’t take into consideration innovation and technology, which made possible for us to increase food production well above population raise >
So, why are there still people starving to death? We produce more than enough food to feed humanity. Our decision making isn’t compatible with humanitarian objectives. We are using food to feed animals, to make fuel for our cars while others starve. Malthus was a true pessimist, but he might not have been so wrong about human nature.