The Malthusian Catastrophe was originally conceived by Reverend Thomas Malthus (1766 - 1834), who predicted that society would eventually return to subsistence level. Malthus believed that population grows at an exponential rate (it does) while food production grows arithmetically, or linearly (historically this has not been the case). Once all suitable land has been turned to production, the amount of food available will not be enough to feed the constantly growing population. Once this occurs, the population will be kept in check by the food supply. This equates to the important ecological and evolutionary concept of carrying capacity. Malthus believed the only way to avoid this fate would be population control.
While Malthus did not provide a timeline for his prediction (some still believe he is correct), so far the evidence is against him. Due in large part to technological advances, which he did not account for, food production has increased exponentially rather than arithmetically.