Frederic Bastiat Population

Frederic Bastiat Population

On the subject of population Bastiat is decidedly confused and inconsistent. Thus in the first part of his Harmonies, he sets out to deprive the Malthusian principle of all pessimistic aspects, arguing that the augmentation of population increases the number and effectiveness of exchanges, and hence results in a larger share in the gratuitous gifts of nature. But in the second part, in his chapter on "Popula­tion," he takes the more common view. Like Malthus, he hopes that the standard of living of the laboring classes may rise, so that their numbers will increase less rapidly. And he maintains that all sensible people follow the Malthusian idea, in postponing marriage until a competency has been ac­quired.