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MALTHUS, Thomas Robert.

An Essay on the Principle of Population;

or, a view of its past and present effects on human happiness; with an inquiry into our prospects respecting the future removal or mitigation of the evils which it occasions.

London: John Murray, 1817 Stock Code: 128931
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A classic of economic thought

First three-volume edition, the fifth overall, with extensive additions compared to the previous editions. Malthus contributed a new preface, rewrote chapters 8 to 13, and provided new chapters on France, England, and the Poor Laws. The additions were so substantial that Malthus also published them in a separate volume, for those who owned earlier editions. The essay, one of the most important and influential works in the history of economic thought, was first published in 1798. "The central idea of the essay - and hub of the Malthusian theory - was a simple one If the natural increase in population occurs the food supply becomes insufficient and the size of the population is checked by 'misery' - that is the poorest sections of the community suffer disease and famine" (PMM). Despite its unpopularity with liberal critics, Malthus's principle of population became accepted as a central tenet of classical political economy and Charles Darwin acknowledged Malthus's influence in the development of his theory of natural selection. From the library of Thomas Netherson Parker, with his bookplates and ownership signature, author of An Essay on the Construction, Hanging, and Fastening of Gates (1801), and A Statement of the Law of Tithes (1813).

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3 volumes, octavo. Uncut in the original drab paper boards, printed label to spines.


A few pencilled marginalia. Light chipping to labels and paper covering of boards, patches of faint discolouration to covers, minor wear to spine ends, pages of end of vol. II and all of vol. III unopened, closed tear at head of vol. III p. 455. A well-preserved copy in the fragile original boards.


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