The Malthusian Trap and Early-Modern Europe Argumentative Essay by Quality Writers

The Malthusian Trap and Early-Modern Europe
This paper argues that the economic crisis experienced during the early-modern period of European history was not caused by a Malthusian trap.
# 102578 | 2,070 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Mar 28, 2008 in History (British) , History (European) , Sociology (Theory) , Economics (General)

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This paper explains that historians argue that the economic crises experienced during the early-modern period across most of Europe and the subsequent population growth, which led to an inability for many of these individual markets to support their respective populations, was a type of Malthusian trap. The author points out that the Malthusian trap is the principle, based on Malthus' theory of population and economics, which observes that man is inclined to propagate beyond his means to support the population. The paper relates that the application of this principle to early modern Europe is often a misguided attempt to redirect the historical research to a socio-historic perspective rather than a purely economic perspective. The author concludes that, while certain markets in Europe might indeed have become over-populated with respect to their ability to provide basic levels of sustenance for their populations, other countries, such as England, did not suffer such a population growth and, furthermore, managed to maintain relatively stable economic growth in spite of Europe's overall economic decline during this period. The paper includes an annotated bibliography.

Table of Contents:
Malthus on Population Growth
Technological Impact

From the Paper:

"In an artificial economy established in an economic lab such set ratios can be accurately predictive. However, in the natural environment, there are many external factors that would affect change on his model, and did affect change. Prices are a key oversight in his theory. While the basic premise that population growth may outstrip the growth in food productivity was true based on the circumstances within which he operated, he didn't account for the economics of food productivity to drive an increase in production worldwide that offset any local market conditions and shortages in supply."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brown, Henry and Sheila Hopkins. A Perspective of Wages and Prices. Methuen, London and New York.
  • Felix, David. "Profit Inflation and Industrial Growth: The Historic Record and Contemporary Analogies." Quarterly Journal of Economics, 70(1956): 442.
  • Kates, Robert W. "Population, Technology, and the Human Environment: A Thread through Time." Daedalus 125.3 (1996): 43+.
  • Glass, D. V., ed. Introduction to Malthus. London: Watts; 1953.
  • Hatcher, John. "Understanding the Population History of England." Past & Present, 180(2003).

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