-- George Orwell in 1984, Chapter III - the aim of modern warfare.
Book Review by Betsy Hartmann, Director of the Population and Development Program"Embraced by liberals and conservatives alike, no other contemporary ideology has proved as resilient as Mathusianism in obscuring the real roots of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. Eric Ross's powerful critique sets the record straight. It comes not a moment too soon as a Malthusian resurgence threatens the rights of immigrants and women of color, and provides a window through which right-wing forces are penetrating Northern environmental movements"
Betsy Hartmann, Director of the Population and Development Program, Hampshire College and author of "Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control".
This book represents a major critique of the way Malthusian thinking has influenced capitalist development policy in the modern period, as well as in the past. Taking an historical and comparative view, it highlights the strategic role of Malthusian ideas in the defence of capitalist political economy when confronted by struggles for equality and human progress.
The leading historical example the author takes offers a major reassessment of the origins of the Irish Famine. His contemporary case study focuses on the Green Revolution, which the author analyses in terms of a broad Western strategy of capitalist agricultural development in the face of peasant insurgency. He examines how Malthusian arguments portrayed agricultural modernization as a humanitarian attempt to forestall a food crisis in the developing world when, in reality, he argues the agenda was to defer land reform and bolster existing rural class structures. Finally, the book examines how the political economy of underdevelopment is currently being obscured by alarm over the environmental impact of over-population, and how such Malthusian concerns represent the poor, not as victims of capitalist development, but as perpetrators of environmental destruction.