chapter
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INTRODUCTION

In the nineteenth century, a proposal to write a book about the economic consequences of a declining population would have been regarded as a typical instance of this perverse habit. At the beginning of the century, Malthus had written at great length about the tendency of populations to increase up to the limits set by the means of subsistence. His original doctrine had been whittled down somewhat by qualifications and exceptions, both by himself and by others. But the general impressions remained-that for practical purposes one could assume an increasing population in all cases which were likely to arise, and that the object of policy should be to restrict this increase to manageable proportions.