Abstract: The nineteenth century was a period of unprecedented productivity in the world, occasioned by the widespread development and practice of contract and voluntary exchange. For the first time in history, man began to cease, like other animals, to be essentially predatory on his environment, despoiling and exhausting it, and began instead to make it progressively more productive and more able to support his own kind. Thomas Robert Malthus lived well into this productive century, but his thinking remained in the past, as did that of his contemporary, David Ricardo, and his successors, the Classical Economists, including even J.S. Mill. In this essay Spencer Heath carefully refutes Ricardo’s argument in support of Malthus and stresses the importance of understanding man not in terms of his animal nature, but in terms of his uniquely human potential; that is, his evolving, creative nature.
Keywords: Thomas Malthus, Ricardo’s law of rent, the golden rule, property in land, social evolution, organic society
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