We reconstruct the arguments employed by Malthus in the second edition of An Essay on the Principle of Population (1803) concerning the superiority of a balanced growth pattern, and we show their theoretical consistency with Malthus's food self-sufficiency policy proposal in his 1815 pamphlet, Grounds of an Opinion. Malthus (1803) argued that the contemporary British unbalanced and manufacturing export–led growth pattern was not sustainable in the long term; accordingly, he proposed food self-sufficiency as a safer long-term policy option than free foreign corn imports. Moreover, we investigate the theoretical influences on Malthus's analysis of international corn trade, particularly the Smithian one.

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