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One of the most influential books of its era, An Essay on the Principle of Population inspired both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace, fueled a debate on the size of Britain's population, and helped along the passage of the Census Act of 1800. With his rich, round tones, narrator Gareth Armstrong's performance precisely articulates Thomas Malthus' theory that rising population rates would lead to an increasing supply of labor that would inevitably lower wages. Malthus' concern that continued population growth would lead to poverty led him to argue for instituting positive and preventive checks on society - ideas which are still debated to this day.
While millions face hunger, malnutrition, and starvation, the world's population is increasing by over 225,000 people per day, 80 million per year. In many countries, supplies of food and water are inadequate to support the population, so the world falls deeper and deeper into what economists call the "Malthusian trap".
Here, Malthus examines the tendency of human numbers to outstrip their resources, and argues that poverty, disease, and starvation are necessary to keep societies from moving beyond their means of subsistence.