The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution

The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution

The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution

The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution

Excerpt

Many different questions connected with population are frequently discussed at the present day. This book is designed not so much as a contribution to the study of any one of these questions in particular as an attempt to trace back to their origin the main problems which now attract attention and to indicate their relation one to the other--to view the whole problem in fact from an historical and evolutionary standpoint. The book is an accident of the war. When war broke out I was engaged in collecting material which is incorporated in this book with the object of discussing certain aspects of the population problem. It had occurred to me that I might write an introduction showing how these aspects are related to the problem as a whole. Further than that I had not gone when there followed five years of active service during which the project of writing an introductory sketch became converted into the far more ambitious project of treating at some length the population problem as a whole. Had it thus not been for these years during which it was possible only to elaborate schemes for future work, I should never have embarked on so ambitious a task. The task is not an easy one, involving as it does both difficulties of proportion and difficulties arising from the necessity of touching upon biological, anthropological and economic problems, with regard to all of which no one man can pretend to have extensive knowledge. Nevertheless, quite apart from the question as to whether this book does in any measure achieve its purpose, those best acquainted with modern population literature will probably agree that there is room for an attempt to view the whole population problem in historical perspective. If therefore this book does no more than draw the attention of those interested in particular aspects of the matter to the necessity of so doing, it will not altogether have failed of its purpose.

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