In 1834, there died in a West England village a clergyman named Thomas Robert Malthus, whose bequest to mankind was a somber prophecy that the human race faced strangulation by graphs and curves. The world's population would threaten to outgrow its supply of food, said Malthus, whereupon pestilence, famine and war would follow. During the following century, the world's population did increase, from one billion to more than two billion, but it was amply taken care of by the development of new foods from new lands, by more intensive cultivation of the old.

"The Scientific Revolution." In the lean years...

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