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The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in US History Hardcover – September 24, 2012
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"Derek Hoff writes with subtlety and nuance and he makes a major contribution to our understanding of the public policies of the Great Society and Richard M. Nixon years by introducing the variable of population into the discussion. . . . A careful reading of this book will reward readers with many new insights into the course of modern American history. It demonstrates the author's considerable talents in the fields of intellectual, policy, and political history."
(Edward D. Berkowitz Journal of American History)
In his excellent book The State and the Stork, Derek Hoff examines the ways in which economists, demographers, social scientists and politicians in the US have traced patterns in Malthus’ domain. Hoff’s is an elegant clarion call to demographic arms, and . . . an assured guide through two centuries of Malthusian wrangling."
(Robert J. Mayhew Times Higher Education)
[Hoff's] meticulous archival research adds considerably to our knowledge of the machinations that lay behind President Richard Nixon's decision to establish a Presidential Commission on Population and America's Future and his subsequent disavowal of its findings. He does a similarly excellent job tracing the economic and environmental thought that led to the rise of Zero Population Growth as a significant policy movement and the subsequent changes in that thinking which led to its declining policy relevance . . . Hoff has done a real service by bringing to the foreground the economic dimension of US debates over population size and growth, a topic that has been relegated to the shadows for too long.
"(Population and Development Review)
[Hoff's] survey has remarkable breadth, relating hundreds of thinkers' ideas to the shifting center of opinion and terms of the debate about whether rising population will lead to a declining standard of living (pessimistic Malthusianim) or spur improvements. . . . Highly Recommended [three stars].
About the Author
Derek S. Hoff is associate professor of history at Kansas State University and the coauthor of Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Decision, the Contract Clause, and the Great Depression.
Top Customer Reviews
As he notes, both strands -- Malthusian limits and American exceptionalism -- have long competed in American social thought and political economy. At this stage, and for the last four decades, what he calls "Market Knows Best Demography," a neoliberal faith rooted in conservative laissez faire economics remains the offcial secular religion. But enduring recession in the western world, climate change, peak oil and world food shortages are mounting a challenge to that faith as never before. Hoff is at his best in describing how the triumph of conservative culture with laissez faire economic thought embodied in the Nixon administration overcame neo-malthusians' effort to officially commit the U.S. to population stability in the 1970-72 Rockefeller Commission on "Population and the American Future."
Americans, without government direction, have brought their fertility down below replacement. But births forgone have been nulified by high and rising immigration, which could account for as much as 80 percent U. S. population growth (if immigrants' children are considered) betweeb 2000 and mid-century. Hoff's otherwise exhaustive work gives insufficient analysis and recognition to the immigration factor, at times suggesting that those who raise the immigration issue at all are suspected as crypto eugenecists or racists.Read more ›
I was kind of disappointed that the book kind of ends in the seventies when the population movement peaked but a lot has also happened since then and I hope that some time, if he still has the energy left, he'll do the last few decades.
It is always extremely important to know where we have been to know why we are at the place we are today.
Unfortunately younger people today don't know how active the movement was in the 60's and 70's nor can they appreciate how much the environment has been trashed because they don't know what they missed. As just one example of the activism then, the Chittenden County, Vermont, Chapter of ZPG organized a dramatic action to take over 300 people to the tiny Sloop Island in Lake Champlain to demonstrate how crowded the earth would become if the population kept on growing. A remarkable photo of that is also in the history section of Vermonters for Sustainable Population web site. Their prediction certainly proved true.
Thank you Derek as a younger man for your great effort in getting this important book published.