Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Multiply and Replenish: Alternative Perspectives on Population
REVIEWS Multiply and Replenish: Alternative Perspectives on Population Kenneth E. Boulding Population Resources and the Future of Non-Malthusian Perspectives. Howard M. Bahr, Bruce A. Chadwick, and Darwin L. Thomas, eds. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1972. 352 pp. $3.95. This collection of essays is frankly polemical, asking indeed for "equal time" in the great debate which is now going on concerning the limits of growth, both in the human population and in its artifacts. It is no accident that this volume comes out of Brigham Young University, though it is in no sense an official statement, or even an unofficial statement, of the Mormon Church. Nevertheless, one suspects that it has been inspired in part at least by a reaction to strong implied criticism of Mormon ethics and, in some aspects, of the wider Judao-Christian ethic, as implied, for instance, in the famous biblical verse about being fruitful and multiplying. The essays are all the more effective, however, because their tone is moderate and they are concerned more with the correction of extreme positions on the other side rather than with the taking of extreme positions on the pro-natalist side. Perhaps the key to the discussion is in the title of the first essay, which is unsigned, but which is presumably by the editors—"Are Proposals for Population Control Premature?" In this whole dispute what cannot be denied are the identities, which I am quite prepared to call the "Malthusian identities," because at bottom it was Malthus who recognized them. The first of these is that the earth is ultimately limited and finite. The corollary to this is that the human population cannot grow indefinitely. If indeed it grows at any finite rate whatever greater than zero, it will reach the ultimate limit at some point. This means that ultimately the population must have a zero trend, though this does not preclude fluctuations about this zero trend. Finally, if any population is to have a zero trend, there must be some regulatory processes to ensure that over a reasonable period the number of births and the number of deaths must be equal. This proposition derives from the great identity, which I have elsewhere somewhat frivolously called the "bathtub theorem," that for any population, or any set whatever, the number of additions minus the number of subtractions is equal to the increase in the total stock, and that therefore if this increase is to be zero, additions must equal subtractions, that is, over a sufficient period births must equal deaths. There is no attempt to deny these fundamental Malthusian identities in this volume; indeed it would be foolish to try to do so, for while empirical propositions can be reasonably denied, identities cannot. The crux of the argument is in the word "premature." Granted that, at some time in the future, births must equal deaths, the question is: How far off is this day of reckoning? According to Pro- 159