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The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future
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The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Demography is destiny. It underlies many of the issues that shake the world, from war and economics to immigration. No wonder, then, that fears of overpopulation flared regularly over the last century, a century that saw the world's population quadruple. Even today, baby booms are blamed for genocide and terrorism, and overpopulation is regularly cited as the primary facto ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Julie
Jan 03, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
This book is all about demographics. What happens as people have fewer children, live longer, move more? David Foot, author of Boom, Bust, and Echo argued that two-thirds of everything can be explained by demographics, and that's what Pearce sets out to prove in The Coming Population Crash.

Pearce starts with a review of demographic thinking, starting with the 18th-century scholar Malthus and working his way forward. Pearce is at his strongest, I think, when he describes how generations of polit
...more
Ryan
Mar 29, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
As befits a roving journalist, Pearce's book is a collection of field reports from around the world, sometimes amusing, often eye-opening and at times insightful updates of the current state of affairs on our planet, from a sociological and cultural point of view. I do agree with other readers that in such a short piece of work it lacks deep analysis and well argued conclusions, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of this book. However his optimism and hope for a better future where manki ...more
Paul Brannan
Apr 12, 2013 Paul Brannan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fred Pearce's optimistic outlook is the perfect antidote to the relentless Malthusian world view of immiment plague, pestilence and famine. There really are reasons to be cheerful if challenges are addressed and not left to become self-fulfilling prophesies of the doomsayers. The book doesn't fight shy of the massive issues that need to be confronted: feticide, eugenics, euthansia, mass migration, immigration, environmental impact, wealth polarisation and much more besides. But just as Malthus c ...more
Becky
May 04, 2010 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pearce has never met an immigrant he didn't like, and that relentless optimism gets a little old over 300 pages. I could have wished for a more even-handed treatment on this subject, but the scope of his research is impressive. You might think that demographics is simply births and deaths, but Pearce looks at how the human life cycle has changed over the last 150 years and how those changes affect politics, technology, women's rights, and the graying of the global population. (Best sentence in t ...more
Don
Jun 12, 2010 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I blogged the following discussion of this book on the Migrants Rights Network website at www.migrantsrights.org.uk.

It is increasingly clear that the coalition government’s immigration policies are going to be informed by the population pessimism which regards growth at the level of the ONS’s(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8318010...) upper predictions of 70 million people by 2031 as the very worst fate that could befall the United Kingdom.

Much of the discussion around the announcement of a cap
...more
Liz Throop
Dec 27, 2014 Liz Throop rated it did not like it
Fred Pearce has earned his reputation as an excellent writer, and he has chosen an important topic for his book The Coming Population Crash. In fact, the issues he covers are too important to stand unchallenged. Here are a few of the issues I have with, The Coming Population Crash (alternate title Peoplequake). Chapter 10 “Small towns in Germany” describes in the drop in population in Eastern Germany caused primarily by young womens’ relocation to Western Germany. Pearce writes, “The former peop ...more
Rachel
Sep 17, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p, 2014, male-author
This was a very interesting and informative book that discusses both the misconceptions surrounding population growth, the impacts that population growth has on an area and some of the different solutions to the problems. My major concern with the book was that is some places it was over simplistic. Population growth in some areas is down to 4 or 5 interlinked things rather than just one, and while governments are actively (in some cases) trying to alleviate problems such as access to contracept ...more
Tim
Jul 24, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are we outbreeding the ability of of earth to support us all? Was Malthus's vision of a civilisation-ending catastrophe driven by overpopulation, if somewhat delayed, truly what awaits us? There are plenty who fear so. But Fred Pearce takes a different view, and it's not based on wishful thinking or optimism in spite of the evidence, but on the facts about demographic changes that are already taking place in many parts of the world. For in the long term we face a shrinking population and the rea ...more
Bill H.
Feb 03, 2014 Bill H. rated it really liked it
I found this a very interesting book. It is well-researched--not only does Pearce deliver the demographic stats, he also gets out and about in a staggering array of countries and communities to get a sense of the lives behind the numbers. Having not read a demographic study in a couple decades, I had a lot of catching up to do, so a lot of this was new to me. If you want to catch a short-form version of his overall description of where the world is at demographically, read his "Sex and the City" ...more
Kate
Nov 14, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked most of this book. It's an interesting analysis of racism, eugenics in many forms, foreign aid and women's liberation. I really liked his idea that the current global falls in birthrate are due to 'incomplete' female liberation, where women are free to choose between child rearing, work and other pursuits but society, religion and government are still mostly following the old patriarchal ways.

He lost a star in the final chapters though with his rosy eyed discription of the 'silve
...more
Scot McAtee
Dec 31, 2011 Scot McAtee rated it really liked it
Call me a Malthusian, but who isn't a little Malthusian at the core? It's difficult to maintain optimism when all we hear about is how badly we humans are trashing the planet and how quickly we're spreading. Based on some of the horror stories I hear from the people I deal with on a daily basis, it's hard to believe that the majority of the population even cares about the state of the planet.

I like the optimism of this book and if Pearce's research is accurate, then all that baloney I hear about
...more
Lindsey
Jul 05, 2011 Lindsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: reallyism
Only three stars because while I agree with the general premise, that population doomsayers are wrong (as well as mostly elitist and occasionally racist), Pearce is so unwaveringly optimistic it is hard to swallow. Also, there are not notes of any kind, only a casual listing of sources at the end, which dampens the credibility. I also wish he had laid out his hypothesis in the beginning. He just lays out facts and lets you do the analysis, so I didn't feel like I had a true understanding of his ...more
Jane
Nov 17, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok
I had never thought about a lot of the topics this book discusses. The historical parts were interesting. I realize now how political population concerns can be. Your political take on what the world needs can really colour what should be done.

I also had no idea that Planned Parenthood had such disreputable, racist and classist beginnings. Naive me thought it was all about how children who were planned came into better lives.

Favourite quote in the book: "There is enough for everyone's need, but
...more
Kyle
Jun 03, 2010 Kyle rated it really liked it
Although it occasionally droned with boring data, statistics, and several-line-long titles of research organizations, Fred Pearce does offer a great perspective on the alarmist environmental threats we often hear bandied about. I especially loved his reviews of historical predictions, and how they were correct or incorrect. He actually gives me hope for our possibly dark future, assuming those in power do not blow up the world or do anything too extreme.
Marc
Sep 21, 2011 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books that manage to entertain just as much as educate. Pearce while having a defined opinion about the subject gives a balanced account of the fear of overpopulation and demographic development. Almost every argument is backed up by facts and data and manages to surprise at times.
Colin Anton
Feb 27, 2013 Colin Anton rated it liked it
Found the book extremely compelling to read ( I set my own personal Kindle record for highlighting passages). Great *commentary* and insight on Malthusian eugenics and global population trends.

Then the author got too preachy, and rubbed me the wrong way. Any time you need to reference Tina Turner's bare midriff as a solution to global population issues, you've lost me completely.
Sam
May 19, 2013 Sam rated it really liked it
Shelves: natalism
A solid addition to the natalist literature. This book gives several interesting vignettes (of Malthus' life, and of poor people living in the "slums"), although it doesn't hit the issue as squarely as "The Empty Cradle" or the newer "What to Expect When No One's Expecting."

Overall, pretty middle of the road on the liberal/conservative spectrum... and definitely worth the read.
Angie
Jun 12, 2010 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Wow. Super interesting. This is all about the world's changing demographics, how they've shaped and been shaped by societal and economic forces, and how all this might play out in the near future. Includes some (often chilling) history of the population control movement. Pearce makes mostly optimistic predictions about our demographic future; I sure hope he's right.
Kirsten
This book contained a lot of excellent examples and case studies, but I didn't find that he had very much analysis on any of those case studies. He just kind of laid them out and was like, ok, you do the analysis. Nothing really original about this book, but a good reference if you want a place to have population examples handy in collected form.
Michael
Dec 08, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times it uses an overwhelming amount of facts and statistics to back up it's arguments. But overall a clear and well presented argument to support the hypothesis that the boom in human populations is not all bad news and gives up plenty of room to be optimistic about the future.
Tina Nyman
Jan 07, 2017 Tina Nyman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A "must read" book. Cuts through so much of the propaganda and political posturing pushed upon the world by dominant sectors for their economic/political wellbeing and supported by intellectually weak and irresponsible media reporting. If nothing else it challenges entrenched view and biases.
Douglas
Mar 16, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Demolishes the myths about world population adding that patriarchy has been ended by women's control of her own fertility.
Cass
Dec 23, 2010 Cass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Massive range of information on anything related to people's sociology & movements population wise from Malthus to Caldwell and what we're headed for
linhtalinhtinh
Aug 27, 2016 linhtalinhtinh rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Writing in simple prose, not trying to be more than what it is, having a note of optimism which I don't totally agree but absolutely respect.
Chloe
Mar 08, 2011 Chloe rated it it was ok
Interesting subject but unfortunately the writing wasn't compelling enough to keep me reading. After months of putting it down and picking it up again, I stopped about two-thirds of the way through.
Beth
May 18, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
Really good mix of facts and personal stories to tie in with it.
Jani-Petri
Jul 10, 2013 Jani-Petri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was great from so many angles. It was factually enlightening and didn't fall to idiotic malthusian misanthropy not to naive optimism. Humanist book through and through.
Cordelia
Apr 14, 2013 Cordelia rated it really liked it
This book is filled with LOTS of interesting insights. It's meaty and gave me a different way to think about population growth and the future of the world.
John Stein
Jan 08, 2011 John Stein rated it liked it
A solid overview of modern demographic issues and a solid rebuttal of the nonsense of Malthus. The book is a little superficial and I wish it have a little more data, but very much worth a read.
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Fred Pearce is an English author and journalist based in London. He has been described as one of Britain's finest science writers and has reported on environment, popular science and development issues from 64 countries over the past 20 years. He specialises in global environmental issues, including water and climate change, and frequently takes heretic and counter-intuitive views - "a sceptic in ...more
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