To acknowledge the arrival of the seven billionth person on this planet I would like to draw your attention to the chapter on population in Raymond Firth’s anthropology study We, The Tikopia.
Some excerpts from this chapter have been placed elsewhere on this weblog. Click here to see them.
Tikopia is a small island with about 1,200 people when Firth was there in 1928 and 1929. His discussion of population illustrates that overpopulation is a very difficult issue with lots of moral dilemmas.
One of the first issues is whether or not overpopulation is a problem for us. It is much easier to see it as problem on a small island with 1,200 people than it is on a global scale. Is it just a coincidence that the world population has reached seven billion at the same time as young people around the world are protesting their lack of opportunity to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents?
Firth’s book shows how one group of people dealt with the problem and how the arrival of Europeans upset the balance. What worked for them might not work for the rest of us but we will probably have to deal with similar moral issues.
The final paragraph in this chapter reminds me of my first posting to this blog: The most evil of all people are those who try to push their relgion, values, morals or sexuality onto others.