Resource shortages, and presumably concerns over resource availability, can be traced far back in time. Some 3,000 years ago, for example, the Philistines, Dorians, and others invaded the eastern Mediterranean area. For nearly a century, they severed the trading routes that Greece had relied upon for the tin it needed to make bronze. According to Maurice and Smithson (1984), the resulting shortages encouraged the Greeks to develop the means to produce iron, and thus contributed to the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age in Europe.
Other examples can be found of early concerns over resource availability. For our purposes, however, it is sufficient to start with the classical economists writing at ...