Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  1994
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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The Legacy of Malthus

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Argues that overpopulation is not the real cause of poverty in India or elsewhere.

The Legacy of Malthus

In this thought-provoking film, Deepa Dhanraj takes on the international population establishment, challenging the entrenched view that overpopulation is responsible for poverty and environmental degradation. In India, peasant farmers are being evicted from their land and then accused of being feckless, poor, irresponsible and unable to feed their families. Dhanraj argues that it's the same process that took place in 19th century Scotland during the Highland clearances.

By skillfully intercutting reconstructed scenes from the Napier Commission of enquiry into the Highland clearances, interviews with contemporary Rajasthani village women today, archival US news footage and current day propaganda films warning of the dire consequences of global population increase, Dhanraj argues that nothing has changed.

'Deconstructs the Malthusian theory of overpopulation as the most significant cause of poverty...The film adds to the growing body of research asserting that social and political organization rather than population is the principal cause of famine and poverty.'
MultiCultural Review


Bronze Medal, Prix Leonardo


Main credits

Dhanraj, Deepa (film producer)
Dhanraj, Deepa (film director)

Other credits

Camera, Navroze Contractor; editor, Reena Mohan, Nandini Bedi.

Distributor credits

D and N Productions
Deepa Dhanraj
for BBC/TVE/One World Group of Broadcasters

Docuseek2 subjects


Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Developing World


overpopulation; poverty; India; environmental degradation; Napier Commission; "The Legacy of Malthus"; Bullfrog Films;

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