"The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world."
- Thomas Robert Malthus
Wikipedia relates that:
The English political economist and demographer Thomas Robert Malthus FRS (13 February 1766 – 23 December 1834) analyzed population growth and noted the potential for populations to increase rapidly, often faster than the food supply available to them. Commentators may refer to such a runaway scenario, as outlined in Malthus's treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population, as a "Malthusian catastrophe"...
To give a mathematical perspective to his observations, Malthus proposed the idea that population, if unchecked, increases at a geometric rate (i.e. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.), whereas the food-supply grows at an arithmetic rate (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.).
It's been suggested to me that much of the economic mismanagement, and even some opposition to population control measures that some people hold to be misguided in those they disagree with, stem from a fundamental lack of understanding of Malthusian theory. I find this a little oversimplistic, but I could be wrong. What's your take?