By Lionel Robbins
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I James Mill, The Article Colony, reprinted separately (1828) pp. 12- 1 3. 2 Francis Place, Illustrations of the Principle of Population (1822) pp. 165, 173-4. See also J. A. Field, 'The Malthusian Controversy' and 'The Early Propagandist Movement in English Population Theory' in Essays on Population (Chicago, 193 I). The Theory of Economic Development 34 7. DIMINISHING RETURNS AND POPULATION To return to more analytical matters. As we have seen, the Malthusian pessimism was based upon the alleged inability of food production to keep pace with the potentialities of the increase of numbers.
Condorcet, and other writers. 2 Ope cit. (1798) p. 7. , p. 13. , p. 14. The Theory of Economic Development 3° millions of worlds in the course of a few thousand years. Necessity, that imperious all-pervading law of nature, restrains them within the prescribed bounds. The race of plants and the race of animals shrink under· this great restrictive law. And the race of man cannot, by any efforts of reason, escape from it. Among plants and animals its effects are waste of seed, sickness, and premature death.
5. THE ESSAY ON POPULATION: THE FIRST VERSION It is now time to turn to Malthus whose work in this field, whether it is regarded as acceptable or not, dominates the thought of this time and indeed all subsequent thought on the subject. But to get it in proper perspective it is necessary to distinguish sharply 2 I Smith, The Wealth of Nations, vol. i, p. 70. , p. , p. 73. , p. 83. Population and Returns 29 between the position adopted in the first (1798) edition of his famous book and that position as modified thereafter.