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Thorkil Kristensen (9 October 1899 – 26 June 1989) was a Danish politician, finance minister, professor in national economy, and futurist.[1]

Thorkil Kristensen
1st Secretary-General of the OECD
In office
September 1961 – September 1969
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byEmiel van Lennep
3rd Secretary-General of the OEEC
In office
1960 – September 1961
Preceded byRené Sergent
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born(1899-10-09)9 October 1899
Fløjstrup, Denmark
Died26 June 1989(1989-06-26) (aged 89)
Birkerød, Denmark


Early yearsEdit

Kristensen was born a son of a farmer in Fløjstrup close to Vejle, Denmark. Between 1938–1945 he was professor at the University of Aarhus and between 1947–1960 at the Copenhagen Business School.


Thorkil Kristensen was elected to the Danish Parliament 1945 and became finance minister under Knud Kristiansen (1945–1947) and Erik Eriksen (1950–1953). Throughout his life he worked with difficult economic problems. Among people of his own party and opposing parties, he enjoyed great respect because of his broad knowledge of economics.

He came to disagree on economic policy with his party, Venstre, and left the party in 1960.

After his exit from politics, he was secretary general of the OECD from 1960-1969. He was the founder of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies (CIFS), making it one of the first futures research institutes on the European continent. He was managing director at CIFS from 1970–1988.

He participated in the Club of Rome which attracted considerable public attention with its report, Limits to Growth, which has sold 30 million copies in more than 30 translations, making it the best selling environmental book in world history.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Kristensen, Thorkil. The economic world balance. The economic world balance. (1960).
  • Kristensen, Thorkil. The brain drain and development planning. No. 29. International Institute for Educational Planning, 1968.
  • Kristensen, Thorkil. The food problem of developing countries. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1968.
  • Kristensen, Thorkil. Development in rich and poor countries: a general theory with statistical analyses. Praeger, 1974.'

Articles, a selection

  • Kristensen, Thorkil. "Five Years of OECD." European Yearbook 13 (1967): 1000-113.


  1. ^ Andersen, Poul Nyboe (1996). "Thorkil Kristensen. En ener i dansk politik". Historisk Tidsskrift. Odense Universitetsforlag. 16 (5): 241.

External linksEdit