Many experts believe that population growth is the greatest threat facing humanity. Others argue that the link between population growth and insecurity is unproven. This concise and provocative book discusses both sides of this debate, examining the way the arguments have changed and evolved, and questioning the assumptions of the main protagonists. Furedi argues that the western preoccupation with population growth reveals more about the internal concerns of western societies than the socio--economic development of the south. He suggests that attempts to establish a causal link between increases in population and poverty lead to a pragmatic, even manipulative approach to the issue of development. Examining a broad range of key debates and controversies -- the a population bomba in Asia, the culture of a distinct regime of African fertility, the role of education in stabilizing population growth in Kerala -- he contends that the marginalization of the goal of development is the outcome of a narrow concern with population policies.
He fears that the recent shift of the population agenda towards the problems of the environment, gender equality and reproductive health is informed by a similar opportunistic pragmatism. Challenging and original, this book will be essential reading for students and specialists in development studies, sociology, and population studies, and for anyone interested in the debates surrounding world population growth.
Introduction. 1. The Numbers Game. 2. Does Population Growth Matter?. 3. Population and North--South Relations. 4. Forging the Connection between Population and Development. 5. Development and Population Growth. 6. Influencing Fertility: Modernization without Development. 7. Targeting Women. 8. Environmentalism to the Rescue. 9. Conclusions: Population and Development Discourse -- the Parting of the Ways. Notes. Bibliography. Index.