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Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population Paperback – November 2, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The third (and most important) problem is that it gets overly bogged down in the details of who said what to whom, bureaucratic squabbles, power struggles, etc. What gets lost in all these details are the grander historical contexts. For example, in the few decades after World War II, we entered the age of what I like to call "high modernism." The manifestations of this age ramified in music, art, architecture, and social/political theory. In the latter sphere we saw "modernization theory," "development economics," welfare state mixed economies, structuralism, and a general predilection toward management, planning, systems approaches, global governance, the sanctity of science, utopianism, and what would later be referred to as "metanarratives." Population control was one manifestation of this intellectual, political, and artistic movement, but the extent to which this context matters seems to escape Connelly's account. Is it a coincidence that the hey-day of population control was also the hey-day of Robert Moses and Le Corbusier?Read more ›
Connelly shines in constructing a story with many moving parts, making a constellation of agency acronyms and obscure foreign figures legible. For Connelly, the evolution of population control movements was situated in a subtle historical intersection, particularly the strange dovetail between women's health advocates and eugenicists social movements. Both benevolent and racist urges merged at a crucial historical juncture: when the modern state found itself concerned with population movements and the preservation of national identity.
Beyond realizing nativist desires, the emergence of a population control institution paralleled international politics. The family planning ideal intersected with anxieties of a multiplying, threatening Third World. Meanwhile, the rise of demography as a field of inquiry, replete with catastrophic population predictions, fed large-scale Cold War development policy. Connelly is keenly aware of the tragic costs of these programs. The sterilization campaigns of Indira Ghandi's Congress Party illustrate the cruelty of well-funded, top-down demographic campaigns...and their mishaps.
I have two main criticisms.Read more ›
The larger point is that international organizations behave in similar fashion to interest groups: i.e., controlled by elites and driven by narrow ideologies.
A better, much better book needs to be written on this subject, until then buy it if you must but approach with caution.
Valuable historical insight, and fair warning to those societies being tempted, or coerced into commodifying human life.
Exceptionally well-written (does not read like a typical university press history book), superbly researched (solid and extensive archival research), and poignantly (and passionately) argued.
the general public, politicians, family planning officials, the Board of Immigration Appeals
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Matthew Connelly, an Associate Professor of History at Columbia University, has written the first global history of population control by both governments and non-governmental... Read morePublished on June 10, 2011 by Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA
This author takes what he wants from the actual facts to twist them to his own agenda. The idea that having no limits to human overpopulation is preposterous.Published on May 4, 2010 by Thomas Young
Connelly manages to write a massive volume without substantively addressing several key issues:
1) the finite availability of natural resources and the limits to growth... Read more
Though science is a progressive activity, social policies defended as "scientific," when examined in hindsight, often reveal themselves to be based on little more than ephemeral... Read morePublished on April 13, 2008 by R. Ladouceur