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  • By Michael Bayliss
    Nov 2, 2014
    This book, written by Sheila Newman, is a fascinating and absorbing book which presents many new fundamental ideas that explores the dynamic relationship between human populations and their environment through kinship structures. Much of this book presents some startling new ideas on human population throughout time that are either piloted by the author or extrapolated from a narrow pool of previous research. In either case many of these theories will be entirely novel to the reader. Whilst writings on new theories require the author to be prescriptive and technical, and often demand a patient reader, it is testament to Newman that she manages to present some radical insights in as digestible manner as possible, given the subject matter. From my own experience, this book changed the way I view human population and how it has evolved over time. Whilst I initially believed that populations have expanded universally since the advent of agriculture and that we are heading toward a... More > 'natural' population plateau through demographic transition (through education an wealth), Newman draws attention to island nations that maintained a stable population for tens of thousands of years (at least) until colonization destabilized this. One central theory that Newman proposes is that stable human populations are maintained when there is a direct connection to their land and environment. Separation from direct access to land, such as the property as investment culture that pervades many Western societies, seems to be a precursor to a rapid and unsustainable increase in population. Newman's book also presents in parallel to her central theories) a rather scathing assessment of Western society, particularly of the anglophile nations. In drawing attention to the consequences of unchecked economic growth on a finite planet, the book highlights the success of precolonial island societies and suggests, intentionally or otherwise, that a remedy for our current lifestyle to involve a return to a steady state economy with restoration of direct ties to our local geography. Riveting reading. This isn't so much highly recommended as essential reading for the survival of our species.< Less
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Product Details

Countershock Press
July 28, 2014
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.85 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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