In his book An Essay on the Principle of Population , Malthus observed that an increase in a nation's food production improved the well-being of the population, but the improvement was temporary because it led to population growth, which in turn restored the original per capita production level. In other words, humans had a propensity to utilize abundance for population growth rather than for maintaining a high standard of living, a view that has become known as the " Malthusian trap " or the "Malthusian spectre". Populations had a tendency to grow until the lower class suffered hardship, want and greater susceptibility to famine and disease , a view that is sometimes referred to as a Malthusian catastrophe. Malthus wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving and in principle as perfectible. Malthus saw population growth as being inevitable whenever conditions improved, thereby precluding real progress towards a utopian society: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". Malthus criticized the Poor Laws for leading to inflation rather than improving the well-being of the poor.
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Madmen in Authority: Adolf Hitler and the Malthusian Population Thesis
However, he believed that food production increased only in arithmetic progression: 2, 4, 6, 8, It seemed obvious to him that something had to keep the population in check to prevent wholesale starvation. He said that there were two general kinds of checks that limited population growth: preventative checks and positive checks. Preventative checks reduced the birth rate; positive checks increased the death rate.
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