Written by Thomas Malthus, it contended that population must eventually outstrip the food supply, because although the human population grows geometrically, the food supply can expand only arithmetically.
There was little that could be done in averting the disaster, except through late marriage, chastity and contraception.
He believed that the immediate plight of the working class could only become worse. If wages were raised, the workers would simply produce more children, who, would in return, consume both the extra wages and more food.
Later he suggested that if the working class could be persuaded to adopt a higher standard of living, their increased wages might be spent on consumer goods rather than on begetting more children.