Defusing the Population Bomb: Is Security a Rationale for Reducing Global Population Growth?

Non-refereed Journal Article

Urdal, Henrik (2005) Defusing the Population Bomb: Is Security a Rationale for Reducing Global Population Growth? , Environmental Change and Security Program Report (11): 5–11.

Demographic and environmental factors have claimed a dominant position in post-Cold War security discourse. According to neo-Malthusians, rapid population growth will lead to per capita scarcity of natural resources such as cropland, freshwater, forests, and fisheries,increasing the risk of violent conflict over scarce resources. In contrast, resource optimists claim that scarcity of agricultural land, caused by high population density, may drive technological innovation, which could lead to economic development and thus build peace over the long term. Although world population growth is projected to eventually level out, some areas and countries will experience relatively high growth rates for decades to come (Lutz et al., 2004). If these areas are seriously threatened by instability and violent conflict, reducing population growth could be an important concern for the international community.

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Authors

Henrik Urdal

Henrik Urdal

Research Professor; Editor, Journal of Peace Research