August 27, 2011

Saturday Learning Series - Malthus Explained and Debunked

Is it?  Really? Oh, the despair.
Some work on economics, the philisophical learning previously started will continue soon. But for now, I recently stumbled across this 50 minute lecture by Yale professor Douglas W. Rae who talks about, among other things how economic theorist Malthus got it wrong on capital, labor and the 'inevitability' of poverty .  The lecture is part of a course on capitalism. It's a terrific lecture if you give it a chance to soak in and watch more than the first few minutes and get to the point where he starts applying the introductory graphs to Malthus.

The course is described as follows;
In this course, we will seek to interpret capitalism using ideas from biological evolution: Firms pursuing varied strategies and facing extinction when those strategies fail are analogous to organisms struggling for survival in nature. For this reason, it is less concerned with ultimate judgment of capitalism than with the ways it can be shaped to fit our more specific objectives — for the natural environment, public health, alleviation of poverty, and development of human potential in every child. Each book we read will be explicitly or implicitly an argument about good and bad consequences of capitalism.
The video that interests me is the second one - I'm including this first one as a prelude as it sets the stage for the second one, and it includes a bucket of seeds. It's also a 46 minute video so those inclined to drive right into Malthus can skip it and go straight to the second video.

Video 1: Exploding Worlds and Course Introduction

Video 2: Thomas Malthus and Inevitable Poverty

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