Global population increase and production and consumption patterns and levels make the crucial issues first raised by Malthus two hundred years ago more important than ever. The debate today is characterized by the position taken up by this book: that the issues of population and growth or decline cannot be separated from the whole set of questions of economic and social development, and from the environmental concerns related to the production and consumption of peoples throughout the whole of the world. Analysis must thus be made at the global, as well as at the regional, level. Seven distinguished scholars from different fields take up the three main themes: the Malthusian conflict, factors underlying fertitliy changes, and development strategic issues related to the population-environment nexus. They explore in depth the connections between population size and growth, environmental degredation, and poverty, taking into account the effects of increasing competition for natural resources on social structures. The household unit itself also comes under scrutiny, with the examination of such issues as inequality by sex and by age.
The rapidly increasing stress on the world's natural resource base can, especially in the overpopulated areas of the world, create social tension and conflicts between or within nations long before major ecological breakdown occurs. Thus, the issues at the core of this volume require immediate political attention.