WORLD POPULATION AND HUMAN VALUES: A New Reality by Jonas & Jonathan Salk Salk


Email this review


Graphs and explanations thereof--illustrating the glories of the sigmoid (S-shaped) curve as applied to demographics (and familiar, in part, from Salk senior's 1973 The Survival of the Wisest). Since plotting population against time yields sigmoid curves for flies in a box, yeast in a culture medium, and sheep on a farm, the authors see no reason not to view the expanding human population as a sigmoid curve also. The lower (upturning) portion of the curve indicates a rising rate of population increase; along the hypothetical upper (flattening) curve, the rate of increase slows until replacement levels are reached (between eight and 14 billion humans by 2075, the authors consider). We are presently at the critical point where the curve shifts from upturning (an era of expansion and growth) to flattening (era of equilibrium); thus, the values, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for success in the lower curve era must yield to new values dictated by the ""new reality"" (very high population density, fewer resources, etc.) of the upper curve. Among the values cited are: quantity of children (lower) vs. quality of children (upper); extremes/balance; competition/collaboration; and short range/long range. Later ""graphs"" are more philosophical still--material value/human value, Western thought/Eastern thought, science/art, and so forth--and are probably about as meaningful as the snarled strands of spaghetti they resemble. A slender but well-meant pictorial essay taken to rather bizarre extremes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row