PEOPLE! Challenge to Survival by William Vogt
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PEOPLE! Challenge to Survival

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KIRKUS REVIEW

William Vogt is an ecologist and author of the best-selling Road to Survival (published in 1948) which was an impassioned protest against the psychology of waste that is depleting the world's resources. This book, which is written in the same tone of desperate urgency, deals with what Vogt calls the ""most fateful problem of our day"" -- excessive population. He says that there are more hungry people in the world today than ever before in human history, presenting a problem of astronomical proportions on the human level, compounded by the fact that no country can be said to have a considered population program although the Asians are closest to doing something about it. He presents the estimate that 97% of the world's population is now doubling every 30 or 40 years and the even more shocking statistic that the U.S., with one-sixteenth of the world's population, uses more than half of the world's raw materials. He discusses agricultural, industrial and medical improvements which have contributed to population expansion and he assumes that the greatest curtailment of birth rates must come from the non-white population because they are in greatest danger from excessive growth. He also talks about what we can expect by 1975 in the U.S. -- in housing, schooling, food distribution, public health, on the highways and in necessarily increased governmental functions -- and he emphasizes the immensity of the adjustment we will have to make by citing the medical estimate that by 1965 one-half of all the children born in New York City will be in indigent families. In the section The Ethics of Parenthood he attacks the notion that marriage obliges couples to have children; he goes even further to raise the question of what right anyone has to have a child if that child is going to swell the world's population. And, finally, using the Scandinavian countries as examples, he speculates that the possibilities of getting the population explosion under control, given the funds and without the usual opposition, are considerable. Vogt is a forceful writer and if the necessity for dealing positively with his obvious problem (not simply through more foreign aid) is not already overwhelmingly clear this book should do much toward emphasizing the urgency of the situation. Controversial.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1960
Publisher: Morrow-Sloane