Malthusian Economy Quiz

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The economic laws for humans were different from those of all animal species until around 1800.

Angus Maddison estimated income per person for millennia before 1820 based on technological and organizational improvements.

The material living standard of the average person in agrarian economies around 1800 was better than that of our remote ancestors.

The break between the economics of humans and the economics of the rest of the animal world occurred within the past hundred years.

GDP per capita in western Europe more than doubled from $450 in AD 1 to $1,232 by 1820

The Malthusian model is based on four assumptions

World population grew from 0.1 million in 130,000 BC to 770 million by 1800

The average number of surviving children per woman before 1800 was 2.005

Long-run rates of population growth in successful preindustrial economies were very large

The Malthusian model explains long-run population stability through birth rate, death rate, and material living standards

Some preindustrial societies had birth rates of less than 30

In stationary populations, life expectancy at birth is the inverse of the death rate

Preindustrial populations achieved high life expectancies by limiting births

Material living standards mainly consisted of food, shelter, and clothing before 1800

The material living standard for the bulk of the population in sophisticated societies was determined by the purchasing power of the wages of unskilled workers

In the agricultural systems of coastal China and Japan around 1800, one acre of land was sufficient to support a family.

In Ireland before the potato famine of 1845, an acre of potatoes could supply a family with more than 6 tons of potatoes a year, almost enough for subsistence.

In England during the same period, there were nearly 20 acres of land per farm worker.

The subsistence income is determined by birth and death rate schedules, with the connection to population level serving to determine the population corresponding to the subsistence income.

Changes in birth and death rate schedules can impact real incomes and population growth in Malthusian economies.

High birth rates and low life expectancy were characteristic of the Malthusian era.

Decreases in the death rate schedule in preindustrial societies could raise life expectancy but lower material living standards.

Factors such as war, disorder, disease, poor sanitary practices, and abandoning breast feeding increased material living standards in the Malthusian world.

Technological advances and changes in production technology could shift the technology schedule, affecting population and real incomes.

An isolated improvement in technology initially increased real incomes, but the subsequent population growth led to a return to subsistence income levels.

Technological advancements in England by 1800, including cheap iron and steel, cheap coal, canals, firearms, and sailing ships, were significantly advanced compared to earlier periods.

The encounters between Europeans and isolated Polynesian islanders in the 1760s revealed the significant degree of technological advance in England.

The price of a 3-inch nail in Tahiti dropped by half within two weeks due to sailors' enthusiasm for the sex trade.

Captain Cook found that locals in Hawaii demanded a hatchet for a pig in 1769.

England's population showed dramatic variation in the preindustrial period, with six million people in 1316 and barely two million by the 1450s.

The production technology in England remained completely stagnant for 450 years from 1200 to 1650, implying a slow rate of technological advance.

Before 1800, technological advance mainly resulted in a larger population without significant income gains.

Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo formulated the Malthusian model and the associated economic doctrines now called classical economics.

Ricardo argued that real wages must always eventually return to the subsistence level, known as the Iron Law of Wages.

The Malthusian model accurately described all societies before 1800, denying the possibility of long-term improvements in the living standards of unskilled workers.

Real wages did not begin to rise until the 1820s, after almost continual decline or stagnation for generations in England.

Malthus and Ricardo predicted that economic growth could not improve the human condition in the long run, producing only a larger population living at subsistence income.

China was seen as the embodiment of this type of economy, with great advances in agriculture but little improvement in living standards.

Tahitians initially valued European iron so highly that a 3-inch nail could be traded for a 20-pound pig or a sexual encounter.

In a Malthusian economy, population determines income, birth rates, and death rates, leading the economy to move towards the level of real incomes where birth rates equal death rates.

Initial population and income levels determine population growth and income decline, with growth ceasing when income reaches the subsistence level and population stabilizes.

The term 'subsistence income' in Malthusian economies does not necessarily mean living on the brink of starvation, as it often exceeded the income needed for daily sustenance.

Differences in mortality and fertility schedules across societies result in varied subsistence incomes, with subsistence for one society being extinction for others.

In preindustrial England, periods of population stability were characterized by income at subsistence levels, with the wage of unskilled laborers exceeding the biologically determined minimum daily requirement.

The key assumption in the Malthusian model is a fixed trade-off between population and material income per person, referred to as the technology schedule.

The Law of Diminishing Returns, introduced by David Ricardo and Malthus, states that average material income per person falls with population growth due to a fixed input in production, such as land.

In preindustrial societies, the marginal product of labor declined as more workers were added, leading to a decrease in the average output per person and a lower wage.

The relationship between labor input and the value of output in preindustrial societies demonstrates the decline in marginal product and the wage as more workers are added.

The Law of Diminishing Returns implies that average output per person falls as population rises due to limitations in the supply of key production factors, such as land.

The example of a peasant farmer with a fixed amount of land illustrates the diminishing returns of labor input, with increased labor leading to more intensive cultivation and higher yields, but at a declining rate.

The text provides a detailed analysis of the Malthusian economy, explaining the relationship between population, income, and production factors in preindustrial societies.

Before 1800, technological advance mainly resulted in a larger ______ without significant income gains.

Ricardo argued that real wages must always eventually return to the subsistence level, known as the Iron Law of ______.

The Malthusian model accurately described all societies before 1800, denying the possibility of long-term improvements in the living standards of ______ workers.

Real wages did not begin to rise until the 1820s, after almost continual decline or stagnation for generations in ______.

Malthus and Ricardo predicted that economic growth could not improve the human condition in the long run, producing only a larger population living at ______ income.

China was seen as the embodiment of this type of economy, with great advances in agriculture but little improvement in living ______.

The price of a 3-inch nail in Tahiti dropped by half within two weeks due to sailors' enthusiasm for the ______ trade.

Captain Cook found that locals in Hawaii demanded a ______ for a pig in 1769.

England's population showed dramatic variation in the preindustrial period, with six million people in 1316 and barely two million by the ______.

Tahitians initially valued European iron so highly that a 3-inch nail could be traded for a 20-pound pig or a ______ encounter.

Summary

The Malthusian Economy: A Detailed Analysis

  • In a Malthusian economy, population determines income, birth rates, and death rates, leading the economy to move towards the level of real incomes where birth rates equal death rates.
  • Initial population and income levels determine population growth and income decline, with growth ceasing when income reaches the subsistence level and population stabilizes.
  • The term "subsistence income" in Malthusian economies does not necessarily mean living on the brink of starvation, as it often exceeded the income needed for daily sustenance.
  • Differences in mortality and fertility schedules across societies result in varied subsistence incomes, with subsistence for one society being extinction for others.
  • In preindustrial England, periods of population stability were characterized by income at subsistence levels, with the wage of unskilled laborers exceeding the biologically determined minimum daily requirement.
  • The key assumption in the Malthusian model is a fixed trade-off between population and material income per person, referred to as the technology schedule.
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns, introduced by David Ricardo and Malthus, states that average material income per person falls with population growth due to a fixed input in production, such as land.
  • In preindustrial societies, the marginal product of labor declined as more workers were added, leading to a decrease in the average output per person and a lower wage.
  • The relationship between labor input and the value of output in preindustrial societies demonstrates the decline in marginal product and the wage as more workers are added.
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns implies that average output per person falls as population rises due to limitations in the supply of key production factors, such as land.
  • The example of a peasant farmer with a fixed amount of land illustrates the diminishing returns of labor input, with increased labor leading to more intensive cultivation and higher yields, but at a declining rate.
  • The text provides a detailed analysis of the Malthusian economy, explaining the relationship between population, income, and production factors in preindustrial societies.

The Malthusian Economy Before 1800

  • Tahitians initially valued European iron so highly that a 3-inch nail could be traded for a 20-pound pig or a sexual encounter.
  • Due to sailors' enthusiasm for the sex trade, nail prices dropped by half within two weeks.
  • Captain Cook found that locals in Hawaii now demanded a hatchet for a pig in 1769.
  • England's population showed dramatic variation in the preindustrial period, with six million people in 1316 and barely two million by the 1450s.
  • The production technology in England remained completely stagnant for 450 years from 1200 to 1650, implying a slow rate of technological advance.
  • Before 1800, technological advance mainly resulted in a larger population without significant income gains.
  • Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo formulated the Malthusian model and the associated economic doctrines now called classical economics.
  • Ricardo argued that real wages must always eventually return to the subsistence level, known as the Iron Law of Wages.
  • The Malthusian model accurately described all societies before 1800, denying the possibility of long-term improvements in the living standards of unskilled workers.
  • Real wages did not begin to rise until the 1820s, after almost continual decline or stagnation for generations in England.
  • Malthus and Ricardo predicted that economic growth could not improve the human condition in the long run, producing only a larger population living at subsistence income.
  • China was seen as the embodiment of this type of economy, with great advances in agriculture but little improvement in living standards.

Description

Test your understanding of the Malthusian economy with this detailed analysis quiz. Explore the relationship between population, income, and production factors in preindustrial societies, and grasp the key concepts such as subsistence income, the Law of Diminishing Returns, and the technology schedule.

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