Thomas Malthus was born in Surrey, England on February 13, 1766. Although he was born Thomas, he only ever used his middle name Robert. His father was unconventional and so Malthus was educated at home. In 1784 Malthus went to Cambridge. After graduating he became a professor of history and political economy.
Malthus developed an interest in population growth whilst at Cambridge. In 1798 published a paper titled 'An Essay on the Principle of Population' that pushed him into the public eye. In the paper he argued that when food supply increases the population size grows accordingly in order to eliminate the abundance. Furthermore, he insisted that while food production increased at a linear rate, human reproduction occurred at an exponential rate. As such, he argued that eventually, there would be a crisis in which human reproduction outpaced available food production. He suggested that this crisis would lead to starvation and public turmoil. He published a number of editions of the paper, each time adding more information and new material. The paper gave rise to the Malthusian controversy which prevailed for the next few decades. The controversy centered on Malthus' theory for preventing the crisis point. Essentially, Malthus argued that there should be some checks in place in order to prevent over-population. Many viewed this as cold-hearted in nature and viewed the Malthusian Population Theory as justification for the exploitation of the working-class people in the Industrial Revolution. For example, in Charles Dickens' famous story 'A Christmas Carol' the character of Ebenezer Scrooge expressed Malthus' ideas in a an early scene.
Malthus was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society and later formed some other academic clubs in London. Malthus died on December 23, 1834.