59.: malthus to ricardo3[Reply to 58.—Answered by 60] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815.
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malthus to ricardo
[Reply to 58.—Answered by 60]
E I Coll Sepr 11. 1814
My dear Sir,
I dont wonder that you find your time much engaged in walking and riding about your beautiful place, and in the general pleasures and cares of a Country gentleman, particularly at first, when the change from your London life must be so striking. Perhaps another year you will find a little more leisure; but I have no idea of your finding too much, or of your being tired of your retirement.
I had my chair made at a Mr. Bookers at Edmonton. The plan upon which it is constructed is certainly very favourable to the horse in going up hill, or through very heavy roads. There is in short comparatively little draft. But then the horse carries a greater weight, which though it does not I think push him much forward in going down hill, may perhaps incline him more to fall, and certainly fatigues him more comparatively in smooth and good roads. I have driven however my mare ten years without a fall, and when it does happen, as I have experienced with other horses, the lowness of the carriage and the length of the shafts prevent any evil consequences from it.
I agree with you in thinking that we should not probably differ much on our present subject of discussion, if we could talk it well over. I think you would allow that when capital is scanty compared with the means of employing it, from whatever cause arising, whether from insecurity of property, or extravagant habits, profits will be high not only temporarily but permanently. And I cannot help being of opinion that these high profits always indicate a comparative excess of demand above supply, even though the demand and supply should appear to be precisely equal. Effectual demand consists of two elements the power and the will to purchase. The power to purchase may perhaps be represented correctly by the produce of the country whether small or great; but the will to purchase will always be the greatest, the smaller is the produce compared with the population, and the more scantily the wants of the society are supplied. When capital is abundant it is not easy to find new objects sufficiently in demand. When capital is scarce nothing is more easy. In a country abundant in capital the value of the whole produce cannot increase with rapidity from the insufficiency of demand. In a country with little comparative capital the value of the yearly produce may very rapidly increase from the greatness of demand. In short I by no means think that the power to purchase necessarily involves a proportionate will to purchase; and I cannot agree with Mr. Mill in an ingenious position which he lays down in his answer to Mr. Spence, that in reference to a nation, supply can never exceed demand. A nation must certainly have the power of purchasing all that it produces, but I can easily conceive it not to have the will: and if we were to grow next year half as much corn again as usual, a great part of it would be wasted, and the same would be true if all commodities of all kinds were increased one half. It would be impossible that they should yield the expence of production. You have never I think taken sufficiently into consideration the wants and tastes of mankind. It is not merely the proportion of commodities to each other but their proportion to the wants and tastes of mankind that determines prices.
I have been reading the Lord’s Report on the Corn Laws. It contains as you observe some very curious information. The evidence is a little suspicious, though it is a good deal such as I expected from Theory.
Mrs. M’s regards to Mrs. Ricardo
T R Malthus.