Population, Environmental Discourse, and Sustainability

February 8, 2016 • Daily Email Recap

Population, Environmental Discourse, and Sustainability
…The aims of this chapter are to present some of the arguments that have been made in favor of stable or declining numbers, to explain some of the reasons the issue has become so toxic, and to suggest some of the areas where it does seem pertinent to revisit this matter in the context of twentieth-first century conditions despite the significant obstacles to doing so.
…If demographic remedies are rarely included among contemporary responses to scarcity (“insecurity”), another perspective that is noticeable for its absence from most policy reports is one that John Stuart Mill, another classical economist, introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. Mill blamed over-population for depressing working class wages but drawing on romantic poets like Wordsworth, he also articulated more explicitly ecological concerns about the detrimental existential, aesthetic, and affective effects of growth on everyday experience. In his Principles of Political Economy (1848) he acknowledged that there may be no fixed threshold beyond which numbers become unsupportable, but he also questioned the benefits of continued population and economic growth for their own sake.

Current World Population


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