ONLY ONE WORLD by Gerard Piel


Our Own to Make and to Keep
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 Saturated with facts but consistently engaging and readable, Piel's prescription for global salvation marshals history, anthropology, economics, and ecology to demonstrate the measures necessary to create an equitable and sustainable economy--one that's capable of absorbing a final doubling of the world's human population. While not quite starry-eyed, Piel, Chairman Emeritus of Scientific American, is more optimistic than might seem justified. Applying the observation that high birth-rates drop as a society achieves lower child-mortality rates (one of the first results of the increased wealth of industrialization), Piel believes that the next doubling of human population, from five billion to ten billion, can be the last. As the Western industrialized nations have stabilized at zero or near-zero population growth, it will, he says, take only the redistribution of wealth and techniques to the preindustrial world to bring the whole world into an Earth- friendly, sustainable economy. Piel argues that the Industrial Revolution, which required centuries of misery to run its course in Western Europe, has required progressively less time and hardship in each of its successive incarnations; and he believes that the preindustrial world can be brought aboard in the next 50 to 75 years. Thus united, its population leveled off, the world can face the task of preserving itself. Published in conjunction with the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Piel's scenario depends on much human goodwill and longer-range self-interest--and wouldn't that be nice?

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-7167-2316-6
Page count: 337pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992