Environment, Scarcity, and Violence / Edition 1

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Overview

"This is an important book. Homer-Dixon moves the arguments about environmental scarcity and violent conflict forward a big step. I doubt if much will be written about the subjects in the next ten years that does not build on it, follow out some of its leads, or try to refute it."—Robert Jervis, Institute for War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

"Thomas Homer-Dixon has thought more deeply, reasoned more carefully, and written more coherently about the environment/scarcity/violence nexus than anyone else I know of. This is a brilliant book—must reading for anyone concerned about the human condition in the twenty-first century."—John P. Holdren, Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

Toronto Globe & Mail
[The book's] assertion that violence and the environment may be linked, and its conclusion that most big developing countries appear to be hurtling toward more internal conflict, are too important and intriguing to be left to an academic audience.
— John Stackhouse
Toronto Globe and Mail

[The book's] assertion that violence and the environment may be linked, and its conclusion that most big developing countries appear to be hurtling toward more internal conflict, are too important and intriguing to be left to an academic audience.
— John Stackhouse
Globe & Mail
Important and intriguing.
— John Stackhouse
Toronto Globe and Mail - John Stackhouse
Important and intriguing.
The Quarterly Review of Biology - Joseph P. Dudley
This volume is for anyone with professional or deep personal interests in the relationships of natural resource management to economic development and human societies.
Boston Book Review - Stephen P. Adamian
[A] comprehensible model linking environmental scarcity and violence.
Journal of International Affairs - Nikola Smith
Thomas Homer-Dixon . . . has conducted extensive research on the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries. . . . The book addresses the fact that environmental scarcity is not in itself a necessary or sufficient cause of conflict. Homer-Dixon evaluates why some societies are able to adapt well to environmental scarcity while others are not.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2000 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize, American Political Science Association

"[The book's] assertion that violence and the environment may be linked, and its conclusion that most big developing countries appear to be hurtling toward more internal conflict, are too important and intriguing to be left to an academic audience."—John Stackhouse, Toronto Globe and Mail

"This volume is for anyone with professional or deep personal interests in the relationships of natural resource management to economic development and human societies."—Joseph P. Dudley, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"[A] comprehensible model linking environmental scarcity and violence."—Stephen P. Adamian, Boston Book Review

"Important and intriguing."—John Stackhouse, Globe and Mail

"Clearly written and forcefully argued, Environment, Scarcity, and Violence is an excellent work."—
Biology Digest

"Thomas Homer-Dixon . . . has conducted extensive research on the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries. . . . The book addresses the fact that environmental scarcity is not in itself a necessary or sufficient cause of conflict. Homer-Dixon evaluates why some societies are able to adapt well to environmental scarcity while others are not."—Nikola Smith, Journal of International Affairs

Boston Book Review
[A] comprehensible model linking environmental scarcity and violence.
— Stephen P. Adamian
Globe and Mail

Important and intriguing.
— John Stackhouse

Biology Digest
Clearly written and forcefully argued, Environment, Scarcity, and Violence is an excellent work.
Journal of International Affairs
Thomas Homer-Dixon . . . has conducted extensive research on the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries. . . . The book addresses the fact that environmental scarcity is not in itself a necessary or sufficient cause of conflict. Homer-Dixon evaluates why some societies are able to adapt well to environmental scarcity while others are not.
— Nikola Smith
The Quarterly Review of Biology
This volume is for anyone with professional or deep personal interests in the relationships of natural resource management to economic development and human societies.
— Joseph P. Dudley
Booknews
Homer-Dixon political science, U. of Toronto predicts that the coming scarcity of such resources as cropland, fresh water, and forests will have profound social consequences leading to insurrections, ethnic clashes, urban unrest, and other forms of civil violence, especially in the developing world. He identifies many conflicts, such as in Mexico and Africa, that are foreshadows. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknew.com
Stephen P. Adamian
It is Homer-Dixon's contention that the true danger of environmental scarcity lies in creating barriers to the competent management of the remaining resources, which can, in turn, rend the social fabric, jeopardize the legitimacy of the state, and ultimately, in combination with other social stresses, lead to violence.
The Boston Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691089799
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/2/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures xi
List of Tables xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Abbreviations xvii
1. Introduction 3
Aim and Structure of the Book 6
Key Research Concepts, Methods, and Goals 8
2. Overview 12
The Critical Role of Environmental Resources 13
Sources of Environmental Scarcity 14
The Importance of Context 16
Pivotal Countries 18
Ingenuity and Adaptation 25
3. Two Centuries of Debate 28
Neo-Malthusians versus Economic Optimists 29
The Distributionist Alternative 35
Thresholds, Interdependence, and Interactivity 37
Social Friction and Adaptive Failure 42
Appendix: How to Read a Systems Diagram 45
4. Environmental Scarcity 47
Three Sources of Scarcity 47
Factors Producing Scarcity 49
The Physical Trends of Global Change 52
5. Interactions and Social Effects 73
Interactions 73
Social Effects 80
Appendix: The Causal Role of Environmental Scarcity 104
6. Ingenuity and Adaptation 107
The Nature and Role of Ingenuity 109
Some Factors Increasing the Requirement for Ingenuity 112
Some Factors Limiting the Supply of Ingenuity 114
Conclusions 125
Appendix: Can Poor Countries Attain Endogenous Growth? 127
7. Violence 133
Types of Violent Conflict 136
Four Further Cases 148
Urban Growth and Violence 155
Implications for International Security 166
Appendix: Hypothesis Testing and Case Selection 169
8. Conclusions 177
Notes 183
General Readings on Environmental Security 241
Index 247

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