The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia

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9780195122749: The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia
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Garrett Hardin, one of our leading thinkers on problems of human overpopulation, here assails the recklessness and basic ecological ignorance of economists and others who champion the idea of unbounded growth.

Hardin delivers an uncompromising critique of mainstream economic thinking. Science has long understood the limits of our environment, he notes, and yet economists consistently turn a blind eye to one feature we share with all of our planer's inhabitants -- the potential for irreversible environmental damage through overcrowding. And as humankind draws ever closer to its goat of conquering our final natural enemy -- disease -- the fallacy of sustainable unchecked population growth becomes more and more dangerous. Moreover, Hardin argues, rampant growth will soon force us to face many issues that we will find quite unpalatable -- most notably, that since volunteer population control will not work, we wilt have to turn to "democratic coercion" or "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" to limit growth, a policy that directly threatens long cherished personal rights. Challenging an array of powerful taboos, Hardin takes aim at sacred cows on both sides of the political fence -- affirmative action, multiculturalism, current immigration policies, and the greed and excess of big business and "growth intoxicated industrialists".

Hardin's forceful and cogent argument for the union of ecology and economics is a must for anyone concerned with the goat of a bountiful yet sustainable world. Sure to spark controversy, this book underscores the urgency of our situation and reveals practical steps we must take to ensure the long term survival of humankind.

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"...his challenges to widely held assumptions are bound to stir the reader's thoughts..."--Scientific American "Garrett Hardin has once again turned his delightful brilliance loose on the purpose and effectiveness of government in a democracy, the protection of each from all and all from each. No one feeds the intellectual fires of ecology's role in government better than Hardin. Rich in history, ethics, etymology, Hardin specializes in breaking the manacles of history, phrase and thought that seem to condemn us to the cheapening of people and the impoverishment of habitat through growth in human numbers. Hardin offers an exciting glimpse of ourselves at the moment and shows us all that history need not flow inevitably to chaos."--G.M. Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center "Sure to stimulate debate."--Booklist "A learned, witty, and controversial book evaluating contemporary ethical assumptions regarding population planning and world population growth."--Library Journal "With clear logic and imaginative insight, Garrett Hardin has again given us a strong helping hand in the unending task of overcoming denial of the tough issues in population, economics, and ethics."--Herman E. Daly, Professor School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland

Synopsis:

Garrett Hardin, one of the leading thinkers on the problem of overpopulation, addresses the arguments of economists about continued 'sustainable growth'. He discusses issues that are frequently avoided in most short-term considerations of population levels. This book builds upon the success of Hardin's earlier book, Living Within Limits, and seeks to lay out the practical steps that humankind must take now to ensure the long-term survival of civilization.

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