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Population in an Interacting World.

Duality of modern demography

Population in an Interacting World.

The emergence of two sharply contrasting, demographic "worlds" clearly ranks among the most far-reaching events of our times. In the industrialized world, births exceed deaths by a declining, and soon-to-vanish, margin. In the less-developed world, the population "explosion" is still only incompletely controlled, and the immense demographic momentum generated by a youthful age structure virtually guarantees that large increases in population size will persist far into the next century. This timely collection of essays examines the tensions created by these divergent paths. Reflecting current issues of public policy, the focus is on migration from the Third World to the industrialized market economies.

The first four essays supply historical and philosophical background. William McNeil contributes a highly compressed, but clear and consistently interesting, account of population movements in the premodern era. The ethnically homogeneous nation, he reminds us, is a relatively modern phenomenon.

Aristide Zolberg summarizes the little-known story of the inflows--both voluntary and enforced--of foreign labor into the Western nations, from the inception of plantation slavery to the present century. A portion of his title, "Wanted But Not Welcome ...," epitomizes his view of that process.

Hedley Bull's essay examines the divergent perspectives on population policy that often divide the Third World from the West, for example, the long-debated question of whether sustained economic development must precede successful control of fertility.

The editor's own contribution explores the troublesome concept of national identity. In his view, citizenship--a de jure concept--is replacing identity based on race, language, and religion.

The second section of the book is focused on the causes and consequences of international migration. Juergen Donges' closely reasoned essay examines the cross-national movements of labor from the perspective of neoclassical economic theory. His conclusion: increased migration to the industrialized countries is no panacea for Third World problems; conversely, halting such immigration cannot cure chronic unemployment in developed countries. What is needed, he argues, is the liberalization of trade and investment policies, which will expand employment in developing countries by opening up market for their exports and supplying capital for their industries. It is hard to argue with his prescription, other than to note that progress in this direction has been slow and uncertain.

Hans-Joachim Hoffman-Nowotny addresses the complex problem of cultural and political friction between Third World immigrants and their central and northern European hosts. The refugee problem--a continuing tragedy on the international scene--is the subject of Francis Sutton's essay. Unfortunately, his careful analysis yields little hope that the humane policies that he advocates will be implemented.

In a particularly informative essay, Myron Weiner assesses the economic benefits to the Third World from exporting labor to the industrialized nations. Surveying a wide range of empirical studies, he finds substantial benefits to the sending countries, and firm grounds for rejecting the contrary view. In this reviewer's opinion, the collection suffers from the absence of an equally informed assessment of the economic effects of labor migration on the receiving countries of the West.

Another disappointment, to this reviewer, is Orlando Patterson's treatment of migration into the United States from Central America and the Caribbean. Patterson's approach is derived from the Neo-Marxist paradigm of an exploiting, capitalist "center" and an exploited, underdeveloped "periphery." He draws on a narrow range of sources to support his view that migration to the United States benefits only this country, while harming the sending countries. His essay is marred, moreover, by a strong anti-American tone.

These criticisms aside, the book is well-written, among its other virtues. Most notably, it utilizes the perspectives of several disciplines to make a wide range of specialized literature readily accessible to the general reader.

C.R. Winegarden Professor of Economics University of Toledo
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Author:Winegarden, C.R.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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