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Cover of Journal of the History of Economic Thought

Journal of the History of Economic Thought

Volume 3, Issue 1, Mar 1996
Pages 44-60

  • DOI: 10.1080/10427719600000003
  • Print ISSN: 0967-2567
  • Online ISSN: 1469-5936

Malthus versus Condorcet revisited

The article poses some counter-factual questions concerning the intellectual relationship between Condorcet and Malthus in the light of the latter's attack on Condorcet's Esquisse, bearing in mind the common ‘Smithian’ basis of their thinking and their background as ‘social Newtonains’ with an interest in placing the science of morals and politics on a rational basis. Malthus's reasons for opposing Condorcet's solutions to the population problem and their divergence over redistribution of income through social insurance are considered. Some stereotypical and ideological interpretations of Malthus as a bioeconomic determinist with demoralizing and reactionary tendencies are also discussed.