Malthusian catastrophe

(redirected from Malthusian limit)

Malthusian catastrophe

A hypothetical limit on human population espoused by English theologian and scholar Thomas Robert Malthus in his 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus believed that humans would eventually reproduce in such excess that they would surpass the limits of food supplies; once they reached this point, some sort of "catastrophe” was inevitable to control the population and human resources.
References in periodicals archive ?
Eventually, the Malthusian limits would be hit, and at that point a process of breakdown would begin.
In the long period from roughly A.D.200 to 1450, the civilizations of settled Eurasia kept hitting Malthusian limits. It is this rather than horsemen that explains why the process that had gone on in the ancient world was not sustained as long as it had been then.
The working of Malthusian limits could have affected economic progress negatively, pushing living standards down; however greater population density could have led to more advanced production techniques and modes of organization, in particular through the division of labour and thereby specialisation and increasing returns to scale.
For example, early on Malthus is wrong on every count and "Malthusian limits will never arrive." Later Malthus has become "half right." At this rate, Huber will be a Malthusian in his next book.
The exploitation of such habits will itself become organized, "bureaucratized," until the given mode of understanding and acting has been stretched to its "Malthusian limits." A culture then faces a crisis, the need for a "revolution" of sufficient scope to make new opportunities for exploitation possible.