Front Page Titles (by Subject) Summary of Principles illustrated in this volume. - Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 2
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this volume. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 2 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1832). Vol. 2.
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Summary of Principles illustrated in this volume.
The increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence.
Since successive portions of capital yield a less and less return, and the human species produce at a constantly accelerated rate there is a perpetual tendency in population to press upon the means of subsistence.
The ultimate checks by which population is kept down to the level of the means of subsistence are vice and misery.
Since the ends of life are virtue and happiness, these checks ought to be superseded by the milder methods which exist within man's reach.
These evils may be delayed by promoting the increase of capital, and superseded by restraining the increase of population.
Towards the one object, a part of society may do a little; towards the other, all may do much.
By rendering property secure expenditure frugal, and production easy, society may promote the growth of capital.
By bringing no more children into the world than there is a subsistence provided for, society may preserve itself from the miseries of want. In other words, the timely use of the mild preventive check may avert the horrors of any positive check.
The preventive check becomes more, and the positive checks less powerful, as society advances.
The positive checks, having performed their office in stimulating the human faculties and originating social institutions, must he wholly superseded by the preventive check before society can attain its ultimate aim—the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
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