Although the experts have warned us about a population explosion, when will the global population actually peak? According to author and journalist Fred Pearce, it already has — and it is now leveling off for the first time in several hundred years. In his 2010 book The Coming Population Crash, Pearce explores the social and economic repercussions of this surprising global demographic shift.
Pearce sets the stage with a historical narrative of the past two hundred years, taking the reader from initial fears of unsustainable population growth to government-enforced sterilization and abortion programs. Pearce explains that our generation’s drop in fertility rates has created lasting impacts that could extend far into the future. Within the next few decades, for example, migration levels will increase as a result of rising demand for foreign hands in Europe and East Asia.
In discussing the history of population control and the consequences of the impending population crash, the book tackles a variety of controversial subjects that range from government policy to gender roles. Pearce backs up each claim with compelling statistics, seamlessly integrating information from interviews and press reports. In highlighting specific historical events, he offers an interesting interpretation of human culture.
The Coming Population Crash not only presents a comprehensive overview of historical efforts to control population growth but also provides an interesting forecast for the future: As the population ages, society will succumb to a calmer and wiser influence. The earth may have a more optimistic outlook than doomsday-forecasters care to admit.