Thomas Malthus was an English vicar who believed in God's stewardship of earth and Man. When he posited scenarios in which populations outgrew their food supplies he didn't do so in despair, he did so in a search for understanding. He found that understanding in the operation of free markets, but the (mostly German) European intellectuals who read his early work didn't share his humility and therefore understood what he wrote in terms of their own emptiness and daily struggle for recognition among the aristocrats they were not.

In their imaginations the end the humanity would come as two cavemen fighting over the last bit of food - and from that worldview came Neitzche, Hegel, Marx, and the rest of them.