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Environmental Values

Population: Time-Bomb or Smoke-Screen?

Mario Petrucci

Environmental Values 9(2000): 325-352. doi: 10.3197/096327100129342083

'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: Population, environment, Marxism, Green, Circuit of Capital, valuation vector

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

National Shades of Green: Comparing the Swedish and Danish Styles in Ecological Modernisation. Andrew Jamison and Erik Baark

Global Population Growth and the Demise of Nature. Stanley Warner, Mark Feinstein, Raymond Coppinger and Elisabeth Clemence

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Reproductive Liberty and Overpopulation. Carol A. Kates

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