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About this book
About this book
A dark vision of the near future. Homer-Dixon argues that population growth together with rapid growth in the global economy will spur ever increasing demands for natural resources. The world will consequently face growing scarcities of such vital renewable resources as cropland, fresh water, and forests. These environmental scarcities will have profound social consequences, contributing to insurrections, ethnic clashes, urban unrest, and other forms of civil violence, especially in the developing world.
List of Figures xi List of Tables xiii Acknowledgments xv Abbreviations xvii 1. Introduction 3 Aim and Structure of the Book 6 Key Research Concepts, Methods, and Goals 8 2. Overview 12 The Critical Role of Environmental Resources 13 Sources of Environmental Scarcity 14 The Importance of Context 16 Pivotal Countries 18 Ingenuity and Adaptation 25 3. Two Centuries of Debate 28 Neo-Malthusians versus Economic Optimists 29 The Distributionist Alternative 35 Thresholds, Interdependence, and Interactivity 37 Social Friction and Adaptive Failure 42 Appendix: How to Read a Systems Diagram 45 4. Environmental Scarcity 47 Three Sources of Scarcity 47 Factors Producing Scarcity 49 The Physical Trends of Global Change 52 5. Interactions and Social Effects 73 Interactions 73 Social Effects 80 Appendix: The Causal Role of Environmental Scarcity 104 6. Ingenuity and Adaptation 107 The Nature and Role of Ingenuity 109 Some Factors Increasing the Requirement for Ingenuity 112 Some Factors Limiting the Supply of Ingenuity 114 Conclusions 125 Appendix: Can Poor Countries Attain Endogenous Growth? 127 7. Violence 133 Types of Violent Conflict 136 Four Further Cases 148 Urban Growth and Violence 155 Implications for International Security 166 Appendix: Hypothesis Testing and Case Selection 169 8. Conclusions 177 Notes 183 General Readings on Environmental Security 241 Index 247
Thomas F. Homer-Dixon is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Environmental Scarcity and Global Secunty and The Ingenuity Gop.