Population Puzzle: Boom or Bust

edited by Laura E. Huggins, Hanna Skandera
Monday, January 10, 2005

This insightful collection of essays provides an overview of the major issues concerning world population growth, with particular emphasis on population's impact on the United States. Drawing from government reports, think tank studies, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and books, the authors offer a range of contrasting viewpoints and policy perspectives surrounding population issues. Part I provides background on the various theories pertaining to population growth, examines the fundamental ethical issues and dividing lines relating to population, and highlights the debate between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon. Parts II and III offer a variety of opinions on population growth's impact on water, food, pollution, energy, and land and differing views on the relationship between population and fertility and mortality rates, public health, migration, war, and violence. Part IV explores the arguments of prosperity by "design" and prosperity "laissez-faire" style-delving into issues such as how technological change and global trade promote economic growth and advance human welfare. Part V addresses important jurisdictional questions that arise regarding reproduction: Do governments have the right or the duty to preside over the reproductive process, and if so, for what purposes, to what extent, and at what price: Or are reproductive decisions personal and therefore a private and protected right? Part VI tackles the pitfalls of predictions and questions whether demographic estimates have been formed without adequate consideration of the data. Each section of the book is prefaced with a brief overview and introduction, along with relevant facts, figures, quotes, and often a supplementary snapshot-a specific example that captures the issue at hand.

Copyright 2005.