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Population Growth: Anthropological Implications

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The relationship of agricultural development and population growth has long been debated by social scientists. In 1965 an economist, Ester Boserup, entered this debate with the proposal that population growth should be treated as the independent variable in technological and cul­tural change (The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure [Chicago: Aldine]). This pro­posal was not entirely new, although Malthusian respect for the,limits imposed by the inelastic carrying capacity of resources and rigid tech­nologies is still implicitly dominant in the literature. However, Boserup's thesis had not before been so comprehensively and logically worked out. In economics-the disciplinary context from which it arose-it has had a mixed reception, largely according to the ideological inclinations of the critics; and its implications for other disciplines, including anthropology, have been slow to percolate.

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© 1972 Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Proceedings of a colloquium in general anthropology entitled 'Population, resources, and technology,' held at the University of Pennsylvania, March 11-14, 1970, under the combined auspices of the Near East Center, the University Museum, and the Department of Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania, in association with the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Incorporated.



Date Posted: 22 October 2016