The constant effort towards population, which is found even in the most vicious societies, increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased.
To remedy the frequent distresses of the common people, the poor laws of England have been instituted; but it is to be feared that though they may have alleviated a little the intensity of individual misfortune, they have spread the general evil over a much larger surface.
With regard to the duration of human life, there does not appear to have existed from the earliest ages of the world to the present moment the smallest permanent symptom or indication of increasing prolongation.
It has appeared that from the inevitable laws of our nature, some human beings must suffer from want. These are the unhappy persons who, in the great lottery of life, have drawn a blank.
The science of political economy is essentially practical, and applicable to the common business of human life. There are few branches of human knowledge where false views may do more harm, or just views more good.
Thirty or forty proprietors, with incomes answering to between one thousand and five thousand a year, would create a much more effectual demand for the necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries of life, than a single proprietor possessing a hundred thousand a year.
I think it will be found that experience, the true source and foundation of all knowledge, invariably confirms its truth.
It is an acknowledged truth in philosophy that a just theory will always be confirmed by experiment.
It has been said, and perhaps with truth, that the conclusions of Political Economy partake more of the certainty of the stricter sciences than those of most of the other branches of human knowledge.
The main peculiarity which distinguishes man from other animals is the means of his support-the power which he possesses of very greatly increasing these means.
The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.
The superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice.
To prevent the recurrence of misery is, alas! beyond the power of man.
It accords with the most liberal spirit of philosophy to suppose that not a stone can fall, or a plant rise, without the immediate agency of divine power.
The power of population is so superior to the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other vist the human race.