British emigration and the Malthus model
in The genesis of international mass migration
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The life of Robert Malthus (1766-1834) spanned the decades in Britain of the rapid transition towards mass international migration. In 1826/7, in his famous explication before the Emigration Committee of Parliament, Malthus argued that the ineffectiveness of emigration as a permanent remedy was a consequence of the 'vacuum effect'. He proposed a series of apparently inescapable tendencies regarding the causes and consequences of population growth, which were generally 'dismal'. Malthus' best-known propositions about emigration related to the utility or otherwise of emigration as a means of relieving the pressure of population on subsistence. There exists a debateable let-out clause for Malthus, located in his doctrine concerning the longer-run. There was less rigidity and less pessimism in Malthusian doctrine than is conventionally understood. The most favoured explanation of the demographic order relates to the escape from 'the Malthusian trap'.

The genesis of international mass migration

The British case, 1750–1900


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