Population: Time-Bomb or Smoke-Screen?

Author: Petrucci, M.

Source: Environmental Values, Volume 9, Number 3, 1 August 2000 , pp. 325-352(28)

Publisher: White Horse Press

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'Overpopulation' is often implicated as a major causative factor of poverty and environmental degradation in the developing world. This review of the population-resource debate focusses on Red, Green and neo-Malthusian ideologies to demonstrate how they have ramified into current economic and development theory. A central hypothesis is that key elements of Marxist analysis, tempered by the best of Green thought, still have much to offer the subject. The contributions of capitalism to 'underdevelopment', and its associated environmental crises, are clarified and reasserted in a contemporary context. The concept of valuation vector is also introduced, and a novel closure of Blaikie's 'Chain of Explanation' is proposed. The Circuit of Capital model thus created is applied to specific case-studies of resource-population conflict so as to overturn the simplistic conventional connection held between population growth and ecological devastation. The model highlights sequential causes of poverty arising from important capital-based factors which might otherwise be overlooked. It can accommodate a variety of Red-Green perspectives and its structural form is suited to the unravelling of complex population-resource pressures in the multi-dimensional space of the modern global political economy.

Keywords: Circuit of Capital; Green; Marxism; environment; population; valuation vector

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327100129342083

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2011) of 1.467.
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