Living Within Limits : Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos / Edition 1

Living Within Limits : Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos / Edition 1

by Garrett Hardin, Brett Hardin, Oxford University Press
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195093852

ISBN-13: 9780195093858

Pub. Date: 04/28/1995

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

"We fail to mandate economic sanity," writes Garrett Hardin, "because our brains are addled by...compassion." With such startling assertions, Hardin has cut a swathe through the field of ecology for decades, winning a reputation as a fearless and original thinker. A prominent biologist, ecological philosopher, and keen student of human

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Overview

"We fail to mandate economic sanity," writes Garrett Hardin, "because our brains are addled by...compassion." With such startling assertions, Hardin has cut a swathe through the field of ecology for decades, winning a reputation as a fearless and original thinker. A prominent biologist, ecological philosopher, and keen student of human population control, Hardin now offers the finest summation of his work to date, with an eloquent argument for accepting the limits of the earth's resources—and the hard choices we must make to live within them.
In Living Within Limits, Hardin focuses on the neglected problem of overpopulation, making a forceful case for dramatically changing the way we live in and manage our world. Our world itself, he writes, is in the dilemma of the lifeboat: it can only hold a certain number of people before it sinks—not everyone can be saved. The old idea of progress and limitless growth misses the point that the earth (and each part of it) has a limited carrying capacity; sentimentality should not cloud our ability to take necessary steps to limit population. But Hardin refutes the notion that goodwill and voluntary restraints will be enough. Instead, nations where population is growing must suffer the consequences alone. Too often, he writes, we operate on the faulty principle of shared costs matched with private profits. In Hardin's famous essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons," he showed how a village common pasture suffers from overgrazing because each villager puts as many cattle on it as possible—since the costs of grazing are shared by everyone, but the profits go to the individual. The metaphor applies to global ecology, he argues, making a powerful case for closed borders and an end to immigration from poor nations to rich ones. "The production of human beings is the result of very localized human actions; corrective action must be local....Globalizing the 'population problem' would only ensure that it would never be solved." Hardin does not shrink from the startling implications of his argument, as he criticizes the shipment of food to overpopulated regions and asserts that coercion in population control is inevitable. But he also proposes a free flow of information across boundaries, to allow each state to help itself.
"The time-honored practice of pollute and move on is no longer acceptable," Hardin tells us. We now fill the globe, and we have no where else to go. In this powerful book, one of our leading ecological philosophers points out the hard choices we must make—and the solutions we have been afraid to consider.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195093858
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,141,177
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Part One: Entangling Alliances
1. The challenge of limits
2. Overpopulation: Escape to the stars?
3. Uneasy litter-mates: Population and progress
4. Population theory: Academia's stepchild
5. Default status: Making sense of the world
6. The ambivalent triumph of optimism
7. Cowboy economics vs. spaceship ecology
8. Growth: Real and spurious
9. Exponential growth of populations
10. What Malthus missed
11. The demostat
12. Generating the future
13. Limits: A constrained view
14. From Jevons's coal to Hubbert's pimple
Part Two: Looking for the Bluebird
15. Nuclear power: A non-solution
16. Trying to escape Malthus
17. The benign demographic transition
Part Three: Biting the Bullet
18. Making room for human will
19. Major default positions of human biology
20. Carrying capacity
21. The global pillage: Consequences of unmanaged commons
22. Discriminating altruisms
23. The double C - Double P game
24. Birth control vs. population control
25. Population control: Natural vs. human
26. The necessity of immigration control
27. Recapitulation: And a look ahead
Notes and references
Index

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