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  • Published: 1 Sep 2017
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781138201521-HET15-1


  • Abstract
  • William Petty and Richard Cantillon: labour and land
  • Physiocracy: the rule of nature
  • Adam Smith: rent and natural prices
  • David Ricardo: diminishing returns
  • Johann Heinrich Von Thünen: rent and location
  • Thomas Robert Malthus: population and resources
  • John Stuart Mill: the stationary state
  • Karl Marx: absolute rent
  • Henry George: common ownership of land
  • William Stanley Jevons: the coal question
  • References

Nature, Environment and Political Economy


Economists have perceived the natural environment not only as a source of wealth but also as a factor which could limit economic growth. The diversity in viewpoints partly reflects profound changes in the economic fabric of society, such as the shift from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Contributions by economists from the pre-classical, classical and neoclassical periods illustrate the major insights gained with regard to the role of nature and the environment.