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Enlightenment's FrontierThe Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism$
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Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300162547

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300162547.001.0001

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Coal Exhaustion in 1789

Coal Exhaustion in 1789

(p.167) 7 Coal Exhaustion in 1789
Enlightenment's Frontier

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the sour mood of political economy inbetween the period of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and T. R. Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population. It also focuses on the historical origins of the modern anxieties brought about by the pessimism that surfaced at the end of the Scottish Enlightenment. For a long time, pessimists have worried that high rates of fuel consumption will deplete the stock and jeopardize the gains of industrialization. Scottish savants and improvers also expressed their own worries, which covered climate change, overpopulation, famine, and coal exhaustion. Fears were sometimes specific to the Highland region; some concerned the nation as a whole. Primarily, the chapter is concerned with the issue of peak coal production and why Scottish improvers quarreled over the issue on the eve of the Industrial Revolution.

Keywords:   modern anxieties, pessimism, Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, T. R. Malthus, Principle of Population, Scottish Enlightenment, industrialization, peak coal production, Industrial Revolution

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