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Thomas Malthus

Date de naissance: 14. février 1766
Date de décès: 29. décembre 1834

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Thomas Robert Malthus, né près de Guildford le 13 février 1766 et mort à Bath le 29 décembre 1834, est un économiste britannique de l'École classique, et également un prêtre anglican.

Contemporain du décollage industriel anglais, il est surtout connu pour ses travaux sur les rapports entre les dynamiques de croissance de la population et la production, analysés dans une perspective « pessimiste », totalement opposée à l'idée smithienne d'un équilibre harmonieux et stable.

Son nom a donné dans le langage courant un adjectif, « malthusien » souvent négativement connoté , et une doctrine, le malthusianisme qui inclut une politique active de contrôle de la natalité pour maîtriser la croissance de la population.

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Citations Thomas Malthus

„The greatest talents have been frequently misapplied and have produced evil proportionate to the extent of their powers.“

—  Thomas Robert Malthus
Context: The greatest talents have been frequently misapplied and have produced evil proportionate to the extent of their powers. Both reason and revelation seem to assure us that such minds will be condemned to eternal death, but while on earth, these vicious instruments performed their part in the great mass of impressions, by the disgust and abhorrence which they excited. Chapter XIX, paragraph 2, lines 1-6

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„Every exchange which takes place in a country, effects a distribution of its produce better adapted to the wants of society....“

—  Thomas Robert Malthus
Context: Every exchange which takes place in a country, effects a distribution of its produce better adapted to the wants of society.... If two districts, one of which possessed a rich copper mine, and the other a rich tin mine, had always been separated by an impassable river or mountain, there can be no doubt that an opening of a communication, a greater demand would take place, and a greater price be given for both the tin and the copper; and this greater price of both metals, though it might be only temporary, would alone go a great way towards furnishing the additional capital wanted to supply the additional demand; and the capitals of both districts, and the products of both mines, would be increased both in quantity and value to a degree which could not have taken place without the this new distribution of the produce, or some equivalent to it. Book II, Chapter I, On the Progress of Wealth, Section VIII, p. 382-383

„There must therefore be a considerable class of persons who have both the will and power to consume more material wealth then they produce, or the mercantile classes could not continue profitably to produce so much more than they consume.“

—  Thomas Robert Malthus
Context: But such consumption is not consistent with the actual habits of the generality of capitalists. The great object of their lives is to save a fortune, both because it is their duty to make a provision for their families, and because they cannot spend an income with so much comfort to themselves, while they are obliged perhaps to attend a counting house for seven or eight hours a day... ... There must therefore be a considerable class of persons who have both the will and power to consume more material wealth then they produce, or the mercantile classes could not continue profitably to produce so much more than they consume. Book II, Chapter I, On the Progress of Wealth, Section IX, p. 400 (See also: David Ricardo and aggregate demand)

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