Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Population Politics: The Choices That Shape, Our Future

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Population Politics: The Choices That Shape, Our Future

Article excerpt

Population Politics: The Choices that Shape, Our Future Virginia D. Abernethy, Foreword by Garrett Hardin Plenum Press, New York, 1993. ISBN 0-306-44461-5

We are somewhat late in reviewing this book, but its importance has increased with time, not diminished. Indeed, the United Nations has stated that the 1990s are the last possible decade for regulating fertility rates so that populations do not grow beyond the earth's capacity to sustain human life (p. 15).

Professional demographers until recent years assumed that fertility would fall in all countries until births equalled deaths, but this has not happened. High fertility persists in circumstances that were expected to cause a decline, such as international dissemination of technical assistance and capital; improved health care conditions to lower the risk of infant mortality; increased opportunities to develop literacy in men and women; the democratization of governments; and several decades of liberal immigration and refugee policies favoring Third World nations. Indeed, United Nations efforts to ameliorate the problem of survival in the Third World have effectively supported the burgeoning population of these countries, for many of which the rate of population increase exceeds the increase in the gross national product.

Half the population of the Third World is today under fifteen years of age and therefore just entering upon its period of maximum fertility. Marginal land is being destroyed, and necessary resources such as the rain forests of the tropics are fast being depleted - not to mention the annihilation of 4,000 to 5,000 plant and animal species every year, which human over-population is driving into eternal oblivion. …

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