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Global PopulationHistory, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth$
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Alison Bashford

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147668

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147668.001.0001

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Life on Earth

Life on Earth

Ecology and the Cosmopolitics of Population

(p.157) 6 Life on Earth
Global Population

Alison Bashford

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the “life” and “earth” dynamic that eventually found a new name in the twentieth century—ecology, a “biological economics” that is preoccupied with studying the interactions between population and environment. Ecology carries the broader strains of holism, as it encompasses shared communities and resources functioning as a whole. Cosmopolitanism is built on the same holism as ecology; and, sensing the political implications described within the domain of ecology, the neo-Malthusians of the twentieth century have begun marrying the economics of ecology with the politics of cosmopolitanism. In the wake of the two World Wars they have found a particularly strong imperative to prevent further conflict, as the question of war is frequently one of population. Within the holistic perspectives engendered in a politicized ecology, the neo-Malthusians had hoped to create a viable world population policy that would minimize waste and maximize the quality of resources.

Keywords:   twentieth century, ecology, cosmopolitanism, neo-Malthusians, world population policy, holism, World Wars, population, environment

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