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Living Within Limits : Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos - Garrett Hardin

Living Within Limits

Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos

Paperback Published: 1st January 1996
ISBN: 9780195093858
Number Of Pages: 350

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"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.

Industry Reviews

"We have but one world; we should be careful with it. Anyone who agrees will love this book, whose every page is almost too full of important facts and wise arguments....Hardin has given us the altruistic 'warning call' of the prophet with a dangerous message--dangerous to give and dangerous to ignore. Somewhere he should get a genetic reward."--EES Newsletter "A wide-rainging and eclectic presentation....It is also an excelletn resource for those teaching high school and college students about human-ecosystem interactions. In truth, this is a helpful guide for all of us as we recognize the problem of overpopulation and start learning to live within the earth's limits. With Hardin's help, perhaps we can begin to envision a sustainable future for a stable population."--Electronic Green Journal "Living Within Limits is a sophisticated attack on immigration that spans philosophical and sociological arguments."--he Public Eye "Garrett Hardin is...a fearless and original thinker. Living Within Limits is very welcome. Hardin is tireless in his crusade to make us face up to ecological realities, especially our seeming inability to confront the most serious long-term problem, overpopulation."--New Scientist "This is an outstanding volume on population issues - the most important issues facing humanity today."--Payson Sheets, University of Colorado "We have but one world; we should be careful with it. Anyone who agrees will love this book, whose every page is almost too full of important facts and wise arguments....Hardin has given us the altruistic 'warning call' of the prophet with a dangerous message--dangerous to give and dangerous to ignore. Somewhere he should get a genetic reward."--EES Newsletter "A wide-rainging and eclectic presentation....It is also an excelletn resource for those teaching high school and college students about human-ecosystem interactions. In truth, this is a helpful guide for all of us as we recognize the problem of overpopulation and start learning to live within the earth's limits. With Hardin's help, perhaps we can begin to envision a sustainable future for a stable population."--Electronic Green Journal "Living Within Limits is a sophisticated attack on immigration that spans philosophical and sociological arguments."--he Public Eye "Garrett Hardin is...a fearless and original thinker. Living Within Limits is very welcome. Hardin is tireless in his crusade to make us face up to ecological realities, especially our seeming inability to confront the most serious long-term problem, overpopulation."--New Scientist "This is an outstanding volume on population issues - the most important issues facing humanity today."--Payson Sheets, University of Colorado "Vintage Hardin. Everyone in government should read this book."--Dr. Charles Morlang, Hollins College "Hardin, though walking a minefield in this book, sets off very few because his analysis, with a handful of exceptions, is politically and culturally neutral: he argues credibly that immigration to rich countries must be controlled, that foreign aid sets the groundwork for future disaster, that birth control is a necessary but insufficient answer to overpopulation."--Los Angeles Times "One of the best books on seeing the interdependence of ecology, economy and population."--Professor Janis Roze, City College of New York "I wish I could 'download' the contents of this book into the brains of congressmen, senators, and U.N. representatives. Hardin has written an important book."--Dr. Charles Morlang, Hollins College "Well worth reading. It is filled with provocative and controversial, even disturbing ideas, and nowhere will you find a better critique of traditional economic theories that ignore the basic ecological concept of limited resources."--San Francisco Chronicle "Hardin deftly demolishes the optimistic scenarios--from 'escape to the stars' and nuclear power to 'benign demographic transition'--by which some politicians, businesspeople, and aid officials seek to preserve 'growth' in the face of limits imposed by the earth's carrying capacity."--Booklist "Garrett Hardin has done it again! Fuzzy thinkers will hate this book. Numerate people may not agree with all that is in it, but they will love Hardin's keen analyses and crisp exposition."--Paul R. Ehrlich "Wonderfully rich in original ideas and insights, Living Within Limits is a compelling examination of the central question facing our civilization at the close of the millennium. In giving his answers, Hardin is unfailingly serious and his analysis is penetrating. But as he is unable to write a dull sentence, he also offers a rare intellectual feast that challenges, charms, and engages the reader in every page. A book that will be widely read and is bound to be enduringly influential."--Paul Demeny, Editor, Population and Development Review "Another valuable addition to the already extensive, important, and extremely readable ecological literature by Garrett Hardin." --Dan Scurlock, Human Ecology Review

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

ISBN: 9780195093858
ISBN-10: 0195093852
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 350
Published: 1st January 1996
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.71

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