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Thomas Robert Malthus (1766—1834) political economist



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A pessimist view of the relationship between population, economic growth, and resources, based on the ideas of Thomas Malthus, who argued that population growth and economic growth would eventually be checked by absolute limits on resources such as food, energy, or water. This viewpoint grew in popularity particularly between the 1940s and the 1960s, when population growth and economic development were particularly strong in many countries. Many experts concluded that rapid population growth would eventually be checked by some absolute limit on resources (such as food, energy, or water). There was mounting evidence, too, that continued population growth and the environmental stresses associated with economic development could cause irreversible damage to the environmental systems that support life. This school of thinking was widely promoted through books such as Limits to Growth.

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