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Author Merchant, Emily Klancher, author
Title Building the population bomb / Emily Klancher Merchant
Imprint New York : Oxford University Press, 2021
book jacket
Descript pages cm
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Note "Building the Population Bomb examines how human population came to be understood as a problem in the twentieth century, how it became an object of intervention for governments, scientists, and nongovernmental organizations, and how some forms of intervention got coded as legitimate while others were recognized as coercive. It traces the emergence and growth of two scientific perspectives on population from the 1920s to the present. The first, rooted in the natural sciences, considered the world's population as a whole in relation to natural resources. The second, rooted in the social sciences, considered national population growth rates in relation to economic growth. These two perspectives converged briefly after World War II, convincing world leaders that population growth posed a barrier to economic development and a threat to worldwide peace and environmental integrity. The book documents how this overpopulation consensus attracted vast sums of money to demography and population control, and teases out the differences between population control, birth control, and family planning. It concludes with the fracturing of this consensus at the end of the 1960s, constituting the factions that structure today's debates over whether the world's population is growing too quickly or not quickly enough, and over what should be done about it. The book documents how population growth came to take the blame for the world's most complex and pressing problems, and how efforts to solve "the population problem" have diverted attention and resources from the pursuit of reproductive, environmental, and economic justice"-- Provided by publisher
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