Summary of One Child

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One Child book summary


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The world’s population of seven billion strains the planet. Struggles over food, land and fossil fuels are inevitable, says philosophy professor Sarah Conly. She argues that only procreation limits can mitigate the negative impact of overpopulation. She clearly doesn’t fear controversy, since even the suggestion of family limits is an assault on what most people feel is a basic freedom. Conservation and reducing consumption are not enough, she submits. While Conly hopes that voluntary compliance, education and accessible contraception would spur the desired reductions, she believes government sanctions are not out of the question. Conly maintains that having more than one child is not an inalienable right. This in-depth, intelligent analysis is not for the casual reader. It’s a serious academic exercise unrelieved by anecdotal support. Surprisingly, Conly pays scant attention to China’s now updated one-child mandate. While always neutral on political or controversial issues, getAbstract suggests Conly’s thesis for its brave exploration of an unpopular solution to an obvious problem.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How overpopulation threatens the well-being of future generations,
  • Why population control is necessary and
  • Why people may or may not have the right to more than one child.

About the Author

Associate professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College Sarah Conly wrote Against Autonomy.



Seven Billion and Growing
In 2011, the population of the world reached seven billion people. The growth rate will accelerate as more babies are born. As the population consumes the Earth’s resources at alarming rates, people feel the consequences the resulting environmental damage. Parts...

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