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p. 173. Population: the first Essaylocked

  • Donald Winch


‘Population: the first Essay’ explains how the first Essay pursues a complex polemical strategy. It begins with an exposition of the principle of population treated as a set of deductive propositions. First, that population cannot increase without the means of subsistence; second, that population invariably increases when the means of subsistence are available; and third, that ‘the superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice’. Without the pressure of population upon subsistence, man would never have left the savage state; and if the pressure could ever be permanently abated, man would sink back into a state of torpor and lose all the advantages of civilization.

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