Malthus Across Nations
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Malthus Across Nations

The Reception of Thomas Robert Malthus in Europe, America and Japan

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello, Masashi Izumo and Hiromi Morishita

The writings of Thomas Robert Malthus continue to resonate today, particularly An Essay on the Principle of Population which was published more than two centuries ago. Malthus Across Nations creates a fascinating picture of the circulation of his economic and demographic ideas across different countries, highlighting the reception of his works in a variety of nations and cultures. This unique book offers not only a fascinating piece of comparative analysis in the history of economic thought but also places some of today’s most pressing debates into an accurate historical perspective, thereby improving our understanding of them.
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Chapter 9: The reception of Malthus in Japan

Masashi Izumo and Hiromi Morishita

Abstract

This chapter outlines the reception and diffusion of Malthus’s economic thought in Japan from the 1870s to the 1910s. It explains that while the first complete translations of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population and Principles of Political Economy did not appear in Japan until 1923 and 1943, his theory of population became widely known by the end of the nineteenth century through lectures, translations, journals, textbooks, and literary works. It describes the vital role played by popular novels and examines how both the advocates of migration and expansion who used Malthus’s theory of population and the socialists who rejected it shared a common misunderstanding of Malthus’s proposition. After describing the debate between Marxists and Malthusians over the Japanese population problem, it notes that these issues were taken up by later generations of scholars and contributed to the development of economics, demographics, and social policy in Japan.

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