Introduction: Economic Growth and the Biosphere

  • Jan Tinbergen
  • Donald J. Kuenen


For centuries, up until about 1940, economic growth had been slow to moderate. It had been slow until the industrial revolution, which started around Adam Smith’s birth or the independence of the United States or the French Revolution. From then on it had been moderate. During the nineteenth century, the average annual growth of the products of the industrializing countries reached 2–3%. At the same time their population growth was of the order of 1% p.a., leaving per caput growth of real income at an average of 1–2%. From figures given by Zimmerman (1964), we find that between 1860 and 1913 the rate of population growth for the rest of the world amounted to 0.6% p.a. About 1940, for a typically developing country such as India, that rate had become about 1%.


Economic Growth Natural Area Rich Country Maximum Sustainable Yield Rich People 
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Copyright information

© Nicholas Polunin 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Tinbergen
    • 1
  • Donald J. Kuenen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of RotterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)Switzerland

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