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This is a more prominent element as we approach the more human side (if I may so call it) of Political Economy. Consider, for example, the doctrine which made so profound an impression upon the old school Malthus's theory of population. It was summed up in the famous though admittedly inaccurate phrase, that population had a tendency to increase in a geometrical ratio, while the means of subsistence increased only in an arithmetical ratio. The food available for each unit would therefore diminish as the population increased. The so-called law obviously states only a possibility. It describes a "tendency," or, in other words, only describes what would happen under certain, admittedly variable, conditions. It showed how, in a limited area and with the efficiency of industry remaining unaltered, the necessary limits upon the numbers of the population would come into play. If, then, the law were taken, or in so far as it was taken, to assert that, in point of fact, the population must always be increasing in civilised countries to the stage at which the lowest class would be at starvation level, it was certainly erroneous. There are cases in which statesmen are alarmed by the failure of population to show its old elasticity, and beginning to revert to the view that an increased rate is desirable. It cannot be said to be even necessarily true that in all cases an increased population implies, of necessity, increased difficulty of support. There are countries which are inadequately peopled, and where greater numbers would be able to support themselves more efficiently because they could adopt a more elaborate organisation. Nor can it be said with certainty that some pressure may not, within limits, be favourable to ultimate progress by stimulating the energies of the people. In a purely stationary state people might be too content with a certain stage of comfort to develop their resources and attain a permanently higher stage. Whatever the importance of such qualifications of the principle, there is a most important conclusion to be drawn. Malthus or his more rigid followers summed up their teaching by one practical moral. The essential condition of progress was, according to them, the discouragement of early marriages. If, they held, people could only be persuaded not to produce families until they had an adequate prospect of supporting their families, everything would go right. We shall not, I imagine, be inclined to dispute the proposition, that a certain degree of prudence and foresight is a quality of enormous value; and that such a quality will manifest itself by greater caution in taking the most important step in life. What such reasoners do not appear to have appreciated was, the immense complexity and difficulty of the demand which they were making. They seem to have fancied that it was possible simply to add another clause the clause "Thou shalt not marry" to the accepted code of morals; and that, as soon as the evil consequences of the condemned behaviour were understood, properly expounded, for example, in little manuals for the use of school children, obedience to the new regulation would spontaneously follow. What they did not see, or did not fully appreciate, was the enormous series of other things religious, moral, and intellectual which are necessarily implied in altering the relation of the strongest human passion to the general constitution, and the impossibility of bringing home such an alteration, either by an act of legislation or by pointing out the bearing of a particular set of prudential considerations. Political Economy might be a very good thing; but its expositors were certainly too apt to think that it could by itself at once become a new gospel for mankind. Should we then infer from such criticisms that the doctrine of Malthus was false, or was of no importance? Nothing would be further from my opinion. I hold, on the contrary, that it was of the highest importance, because it drew attention to a fact, the recognition of which was essential to all sound reasoning on social questions. The fact is, that population is not to be treated as a fixed quantity, but as capable of rapid expansion; and that this elasticity may at any moment require consideration, and does in fact give the explanation of many important phenomena. The main fact which gave importance to Malthus's writings was the rapid and enormous increase of pauperism during the first quarter of this century. The charitable and sentimental writers of the day were alarmed, but proposed to meet the evil by a reckless increase of charity, either of the official or the private variety. Pitt, we know, declared (though he qualified the statement) that to be the father of a large family should be a source of honour, not of obloquy; and the measures adopted under the influence of such notions did in fact tend to diminish all sense of responsibility, encouraged people to rely upon the parish for the support of their children, and brought about a state of things which alarmed all intelligent observers. The greatest check to the evil was given by the new Poor-law, adopted under the influence of the principles advocated by Malthus and his friends. His achievement, then, was not that he laid down any absolutely correct scientific truth, or even said anything which had not been more or less said by many judicious people before his time; but that he encouraged the application of a more systematic method of reasoning upon the great problem of the time. Instead of simply giving way to the first kindly impulse, abolishing a hardship here and distributing alms elsewhere, he substantially argued that society formed a complex organism, whose diseases should be considered physiologically, their causes explained, and the appropriate remedies considered in all their bearings. We must not ask simply whether we were giving a loaf to this or that starving man, or indulge in