- Malthusian Mal*thu"sian, a.
Of or pertaining to the political economist, the Rev. T. R.
Malthus, or conforming to his views; as, Malthusian theories.
Note: Malthus held that population tends to increase faster than its means of subsistence can be made to do, and hence that the lower classes must necessarily suffer more or less from lack of food, unless an increase of population be checked by prudential restraint or otherwise. The steadily increasing capacity of world economic systems and food production has proven this theory to be at least premature, since economic production has increased notably faster than population since the time of Malthus. The general notion that there is an ultimate limit on the ability of mankind to continue increasing food and goods in proportion to population is still held by many people, especially environmentalists, some of whom who feel that the chief limiting factor will be the inability to dispose of the waste products of industry, leading to a steady degradation of the environment in the absence of population limitation. However, even those that believe this differ widely in their estimates of when this limit will be reached. [1913 Webster +PJC]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.