At all times and places population and resources must b Une kept in balance with each other if a high, or at least acceptable, quality of life is to be maintained. Evidence is presented that thinkers and men and women of affairs have been aware of these necessities from time immemorial and that the ancients invented most of the basic concepts of modern population ecology, at least in embryo. This task is a problem of social control, the central process in all societies. If society’s controllers and their institutions are aware, intelligent, flexible, and suitably motivated, there is no reason why most problems of population, development, and pollution should not be solved and then kept permanently in check. This must involve politics, there is no way out. As Aristotle pointed out, “Man is a political animal,” and it is only through politicking that we can set up, maintain, change, and generally operate our social control systems. Deeply dysfunctional attitudes towards freedom and control–especially population control–are described and analysed via a ten-stage argument, and helpful proposals put forward. The function which scientists in general and social scientists in particular can perform in helping human-kind to solve its complex and manifold problems is heavily stressed. Scientists in general should not become politicians, but politicians in general should become numerate and “ecolate”–to quote Garrett Hardin, and start to think more deeply and longer-term. To focus practical thinking the concepts “survival-theory” and the “principle of minimum innovation” are set forth and a final plea made for the necessity and therefore moral legitimacy of controlling numbers as well as resources. If population control seems slow in returning–it used to be the norm–recent events in Eastern Europe give good grounds for optimism about the fluidity of both human values and political institutions.
This journal publishes scientific articles and reviews related to the bi-directional links between population, natural resources, and the natural environment. Its purpose in doing so is to deepen scientific and policy dialogue in this area, which is often complex. As the area is of interest to many disciplines, contributions from a range of social, policy, life, and natural sciences are encouraged. Work at all scales, local to global, is welcome as are both theoretical and empirical contributions. Papers involving mathematics are appropriate so long as the symbolic argument is clearly described in the narrative text. Submissions devoted largely to expressing a political view will be considered so long as they are clearly labeled “Commentary”. The editor reserves the right to solicit and oppose to any such piece a contrary view. Population and Environment is aimed at researchers working in academic and policy institutions in the fields of demography, economics, sociology, geography, environmental studies, public health, ecology and associated sub-disciplines.