Population, Law of

Population, Law of


a specific economic law that expresses the dynamics of the work force and the character of its use in the production process. The substance of the capitalist law of population, which was revealed by K. Marx, is that expansion in the scale of production and growth in labor productivity and the organic structure of capital is accompanied by the development of capitalist surplus population, relative to the needs of capital for expansion. Marx wrote: “The laboring population therefore produces, along with the accumulation of capital produced by it, the means by which it itself is made relatively superfluous, is turned into a relative surplus population; and it does this to an always increasing extent. This is a law of population peculiar to the capitalist mode of production” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, pp. 645–46). There are three forms of capitalist overpopulation: floating, latent, and stagnant. In the age of the general crisis of capitalism, unemployment, which is a manifestation of relative overpopulation, assumes a mass, chronic character.

With the victory of socialist production relation, the socialist law of population comes into operation. It emerges on the basis of the conversion of the means of production into social property, the goal of socialism, and the principle of distribution according to labor. The essence of the socialist law of population is the guarantee, by means of a plan, of full employment and of the rational use of labor resources. The latter involves the distribution of the able-bodied population in the various spheres and branches of production and over the country’s territory in proportions that are optimal for the level of development of productive forces. Because of high growth rates in production and changes in its structure and location, the problem of the distribution of labor resources remains important in all stages of socialist and communist construction.


Marx, K. K apital, vol. 1. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. Razvitie kapitalizma v Rossii. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 3.
Dol’skaia, A. Sotsialisticheskii zakon narodonaseleniia. (Na primere SSSR.) Moscow, 1959.
Valentei, D. I. Problemy narodonaseleniia. Moscow, 1961.
Boldyrev, V. A. Ekonomicheskii zakon naseleniia pri sotsializme. Moscow, 1968.
Marksistsko-leninskaia teoriia narodonaseleniia. Moscow, 1971.


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