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Socioeconomic Theories of Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo

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Arviola Pemaj

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of Socioeconomic Theories of Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo

Increase in wages → people having more children → excessive amount of laborers → competing for wages → wages would lower.

Wages should be set at the bare minimum to allow people to survive and have children who would make up the next working class.

Employers today

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)
David Ricardo
was born in London, England in 1772.
He later married a Quaker woman which created tension between him and his father; this caused him to go off on his own and establish his own business.
Was successful from being a stock broker and loan broker.
He became an economist despite the fact that he had not attended college.

Malthusian Population Theory
Socioeconomic Theories of
Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo

Thomas Robert
was born in Surrey, United Kingdom in February 1766.
He studied philosophy and mathematics at Cambridge University.
Malthus became professor of history and political economy
Works at a Protestant church as a Reverend.
In 1798, Malthus publishes
An Essay on the Principle of

Written as an answer to the “Utopian writings of William Godwin - said that poverty and misery could be cured.


For Malthus, the debate over progress began with his father, a great admirer of Rousseau.

Malthus proposed that population increases at a
rate, while food production grows less rapidly at an arithmetic rate.
Positive and Preventive Checks
checks included war, disease, starvation, and raised death rates.

checks would consist of the postponement of marriage, practicing abstinence, and lowering the birth rate.

Without these checks occurring in everyday life, the population would keep increasing at a rate that would quickly surpass the amount of available food.

Who Ricardo Influenced
Ricardo's Iron Law of Wages
The Iron Law of Wages

- Regarding the relationship between the laborer’s wages and the population.

Higher wages do not necessarily benefit the workers in the end.

Iron Law Continued
Poor Laws and Poverty

Laws that gave relief and aid to the poor in England

Believed that poor people were draining resources from the wealthy who contributed to society
Deprivation of culture
Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo are two names that tend to go hand-in-hand in regards to socioeconomic theories.

They attempted to explain why the economy was established the way it was while stressed under different factors such as food production and labor wages.

The ideas these men have formulated changed the way economists look at our world today
Although Malthus and Ricardo did not take into consideration the advancements of technology and industrialization, their theories on population and resources and population and wages are still prevalent in society today.

Malthusian Crisis
Malthus and Ricardo
Who Malthus Influenced
Charles Darwin formulated his concepts of the evolution of species starting with the idea of the struggle for survival over scarce resources theorized by Malthus.

Neo Malthusians are modern day people who are influenced by Malthus and support population control programs.


Karl Marx disagreed and criticized Ricardo's theories. Ricardo believed in laissez faire capitalism and free trade, Marx was the complete opposite and believed in government control over everything.
Was Malthus wrong in saying overpopulation is outstripping our food source?
Minimum wages today and the standard of living have to go up because of the surplus of supplies
Laissez Faire capitalism
Ricardo first became interested in economics because he read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations
Ricardo believed that
Laissez Faire capitalism
was the best cure for poverty, and not business regulation or government intervention.
Disregarded the advancement of technology and medicine in the Scientific Revolution, education of workers
Primary Source
“First, That food is necessary to the existence of man. Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state. These two laws, ever since we have had any knowledge of mankind, appear to have been fixed laws of our nature."
Full transcript