UnfortunatenMajoritiesnby Wayne LuttonnThe Population Explosionnby Paul R. Ehrlich andnAnne H. EhrlichnNew York: Simon and Schuster;n320 pp., $18.95nTwenty-two years ago Paul Ehrlichnpublished The Population Bomb.nIn an effort to dramatize his thesis, henincluded a number of scenarios aboutnthe future. These tended to obscurenthe thrust of his work, for many viewednthem as predictions. When they failednto come to pass, it was easy — especiallynfor conservatives — to conclude thatnEhrlich’s basic message was wrong.nSince the end of the Second WorldnWar, the earth’s human population hasnsoared. In 1945 there were approximatelyn2.4 billion people; by 1968,nwhen The Population Bomb appeared,nthe number had grown to 3.5 billion.nNow there are 5.3 billion and 95nmillion more are being added annually.nYet, while population has been surging,nthe number of net food-exporting regionsnhas shrunk. Fifty years ago Europenwas the major importer of grainnand Asia, Africa, and Latin America,nalong with North America, had surplusncrops to sell. This is no longer the case.nToday there are fewer than ten reliablenfood exporters (the United States,nCanada, the European EconomicnCommunity, Australia, New Zealand,nArgentina, and Thailand). And theirnability to produce surpluses indefinitelynis by no means assured. In The PopulationnExplosion, Paul and AnnenEhrlich, both of whom are associatednwith Stanford University, argue thatnthe earth’s virtually unrestrained populationngrowth is the root cause ofnpotentially calamitous environmentalnproblems. If we do not address thisnissue head on, they suggest that naturalnforces, such as even more widespreadnfamine and disease, will take theirninevitable toil and bring human numbersninto balance with the world’s carryingncapacity.nThe authors link overpopulation tonan alarming array of environmentalnphenomena: acid rain, ozone depletion,ndraining of groundwater reser­n40/CHRONICLESnvoirs, the loss of topsoil (25 billion tonsnyearly), desertification and deforestation,nand the “fecal snow” (windblownnhuman excrement) that blankets MexiconCity. Much of the damage appearsnto be irreversible, and substitutes forndamaged resources — such as for freshnwater — are not available at any price.nThose who have been lulled intoncomplacency by the arguments of thenAlfred E. Newmans of neoconservatism—JuliannSimon and Ben Wattenbergn— should pay especial attention tonchapters four through eight of thisnbook, which review such matters asnfood and the ecology of agriculture,npopulation and public health, andn”Growthism” and national security.nNow that almost all of the reasonablynarable land is being farmed, the seasnare being vacuumed of edible fish, andnanother eighty thousand square milesnof land are being reduced to zeroneconomic productivity every year, wencannot airily dismiss expressions ofnconcern with overpopulation as manifestationsnof environmentalist hysteria.nThe mass migration from the ThirdnWorld to the United States, Canada,nand Northwestern Europe represents anmovement not of “freedom lovers”n(why don’t they stay where they arenand build republican institutionsnthroughout Asia, Africa, and LatinnAmerica?) but of people looking fornspace in what are the most habitablenremaining parts of our planet.nThe Ehdichs are better at describingnsome of the ways in which overpopulationnaffects our natural resource basenthan they are at providing pointers onnhow to deal with the problems theynidentify. They sprinkle their concludingnchapters with liberal cant aboutnracism, sexism, and economic inequality;nadvise Americans that we shouldn’tntry to halt illegal immigration fromnMexico; encourage readers to teasentheir relatives and friends who havenmore than one or two children; andncall for the establishment of some sortnof Global Commons Regime.nThe Population Explosion providesnuseful information and may help tonfocus attention on the importance ofnthe population factor on present andnfuture world events. But as GarrettnHardin has pointed out, many “global”nproblems, including that of populationndensity, are matters that are best dealtnwith at the local and national level. Wennncannot dictate to others how to live.nNor should our generosity and concernnfor the plight of others blind us tonthe need to preserve the best of whatnwe have. As Hardin remarks in Stalkingnthe Wild Taboo, “It is unlikely thatncivilization and dignity can surviveneverywhere; but better in a few placesnthan none. Fortunate minorities mustnact as the trustee of a civilization that isnthreatened by uninformed good intentions.”nWayne Lutton is coauthor ofnThe Immigration Time Bomb.nHe writes from Mecosta County,nMichigan.nGlasnost Inby Michael WardernThe Great Reformsnby W. Bruce LincolnnDeKalb: Northern Illinois UniversitynPress; 296 pp., $29.00 (cloth),n$12.00 (paper)nAdecade ago, when Leonid Brezhnevnwas still the leader of thenSoviet Union, W. Bruce Lincoln wrotenof glasnost and its role in Russiannpolitics. His book. In the Vanguard ofnReform, might today be making seersnand soothsayers envious but for the factnthat the dynamics of change he describednwere those of Czarist Russia innthe mid-19th century, not those of thenSoviet Union at the end of the 20th.nNow, with his latest work. The GreatnReforms, he reintroduces new-oldnRussian words like zakonost andnproizvol in order to “shape a synthesisnof the Great Reform Era” and tonreexamine the success or failure of thenRussian governmental reforms of then1860’s in light of the scholarship of thenlast thirty years. At a time when newsnsources regulariy trumpet change andnperestroika in Moscow, it may be usefulnto reconsider previous reform effortsnin Russian history. Perhaps, indeed,nit is the only way to gainnperspective on current Russian reform.nNot once does Lincoln indulge innfacile parallels between then and now.nHe is enough of a historian to knownthat you cannot step in the same riverntwice. Instead, he draws on his fiven