Malthus and NSW

Well blow me down. If it isn’t Jevons in the Powerhouse Museum coming here as the son of a bankrupt family and making good as Assayer to the Sydney mint, becoming the first photojournalist in Australia, discovering the El-Nino effect, writing an ethnography of the uncouth of Sydney Town before hightailing it back to the UK where he reinvented economics, built a computer out of wood and promptly drowned while on a recreational dip, it’s Malthus.

In this very interesting edition of Hindsight historian Alison Bashford was thumbing through Chapter 3 of the second 1803 (hugely enlarged) edition of Malthus’s ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’ she found references to the Hawkesbury which she initially took to be references to something British. It turned out that a lot of Malthus’s second edition was preoccupied with the population practices of Sydney’s aboriginal population. AS the blurb says

Alison Bashford began to realise that there was a great deal more in Malthus’s thesis than had been assumed-his study of the New World raised questions about colonialism, occupation, land, and how we share it- deeply moral and enduring concerns, which the contemporary world continues to grapple with.

Definitely a good listen. Malthus hated slavery too. Like Smith before him and Mill after him. I’m not too sure Ricardo cared too much, but perhaps someone can set me straight on that.

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12 years ago

Thanks for highlighting a very interesting listen, although I hate the format of Hindsight which is more about process than content