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Should We Control World Population?

Should We Control World Population?

Diana Coole

ISBN: 978-1-509-52344-3

Aug 2018, Polity

140 pages


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By 2100, the human population may exceed 11 billion. Having recently surpassed 7.5 billion, it has trebled since 1950. Are such numbers sustainable, given a deepening environmental crisis and worldwide aspirations for economic development? Can so many live well? Or should world population be controlled? Resurrecting one of the twentieth-century’s most bitterly contested issues, the population question is being debated once again. 

In this nuanced and compelling book, leading political theorist Diana Coole examines some of the profound political and ethical questions involved. How definitive are ethical objections to government interference with individuals’ reproductive freedom? Is it possible to limit population in a non-coercive way that is consistent with liberal-democratic values? Interweaving erudite original analysis with an accessible overview of the crucial debates, Coole argues that a case can be made for reducing our numbers in ways that are compatible with human rights. 

This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to get to the heart of one of the most formidable and important questions facing our planet, from concerned citizens to students of politics, sociology, political economy, health studies, gender studies and environmental studies.

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  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One
  • Should Population be Controlled?
  • Chapter Two
  • The Ethics of Population Control: Reproductive Freedom and Human Rights
  • Chapter Three
  • The Means of Population Governance
  • Notes