ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Politics of Reproduction

for all men and women? Or do they tram- Politics of Reproduction mel the poor, shackling them in newer New Reproductive Technologies, Women

Surveying the size of human popula-tions over a long time period, it is possible to distinguish three broad epochs. The hunting and gathering period, up to about 10,000 BC, was characteried by low population density, a population doubling time of 8,000-9,000 years and an appalling life expectation on average of less than 20 years. The agricultural revolution, when average life expectations increased to the mid-twenties, was also characterised by an increase in population density, with a doubling time of between a 1,000 and 2,000 years. Life expectations above 45 years on average are extraordinarily recent, going back to the late 18th century in the west and the 20th century in most colonised countries. Clearly they are not only historically recent, but are associated with the formation of nation states in the modern period. Population doubling time was slightly more than a 100 years between 1750 and 1950 and about 40 years in the last few decades.

In short, the main lesson to be drawn is that population growth and improvements in human health, as measured by human longevity, contrary to Malthusian or neo-Malthusian dogma, are positively associated. Population growth is an outcome of the manner in which societies organise themselves socially, economically and thus politically.

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