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Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems


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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1 Anthropological Perspectives on Contemporary Human Problems Nature and Scope of the Problems World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, 1992 UN Millennium Goals Crisis Awareness and Response Significance of Culture Scale Uniqueness of Tribal Societies and Cultures "Original Affluent Society" Elite-Directed Growth: The Human Problem Distribution of Wealth and Power The World's Elite-Directors: View from the Top Elite-Direction and the Global Media: Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation Too Big and Failing: Elite-Direction and the Global Financial Crisis Chapter 2 Scale, Adaptation, and the Environmental Crisis Cultural Transmission and Maladaptation Scale and Cultural Evolution Cultural Evolution and Adaptation Nature and Scope of the Environmental Crisis Biodiversity and the Death of the Tropical Rain Forests Ecocide, Soviet Style Environmental Crisis and Cultural Change Beyond "The Limits to Growth" Environmental Commissions: Global 2000 and Our Common Future Roots of the Environmental Crisis Capitalism and Ideological Roots Unregulated Self-Interest and the Tragedy of the Commons Land Degradation in the Mediterranean Region Planetary Boundaries: Beyond the Earth's Limits in the Anthropocene Extinctions and Biodiversity: Human Nature or Culture Scale Crisis? Tribal and Small-Scale Domestic Economies Wealth in Tribal and Commercial Worlds Biological Potential and Cultural Demand in the Pacific Northwest Sociocultural Scale and the Environment Ecological Footprints Chapter 3 Natural Resources and the Culture of Consumption Energy and Culture: Basic Considerations Elite-Directors of the Energy Sector: The Power and Influence of Big Oil Capitalism and the Culture of Consumption History of Capitalism European Origins of Capitalism Culture of Overconsumption Resource Consumption in America Taking Stock America's Forests as Resources Economics of Resource Depletion Sustainable Development and the Steady-State Economy Consumption Culture's Environmental Cost: Western Coal Elite Decision Makers and the Consumption Culture Chapter 4 Malnutrition and the Evolution of Food Systems Malthusian Dilemma Evolution of Food Systems Foraging and Subsistence Security Shift to Farms and Gardens Domestic Mode of Food Production Technological Advances in Food Production Politically Directed Food Systems Commercialization of Grain: England, 1500-1700 Famine in the Modern World Global Malnutrition Persistence of Food Insecurity Global Food Price Crisis of 2007-2008: Hunger and Land Grabs Food Overconsumption Political Economy of Hunger: Bangladesh Chapter 5 Commercial Factory-Food Systems Factory-Food Production Factory Potatoes versus Swidden Sweet Potatoes Commercialization of the American Food System, 1850-1890 Social Costs of the Food-Production System Energy Costs of the Distribution System Food Marketing Food Quality and Market Scale Factory-Processed Potato Chips versus Manioc Cakes Fishing, Global Trade, and "Ghost Acres" Limits of Food Production Food Chain Clusters: ABCD Four and the Great Turkey Recall Chapter 6 Population Problem Maximum Global Population Estimates Great Waves of Population Growth Population Pressure, Carrying Capacity, and Optimum Population Population Control among Foragers Population Equilibrium in Aboriginal Australia Neolithic Population Explosion Population Control among Tribal Village Farmers Island Population Problems Case of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) "Collapse" State Intervention and Population-Control Mechanisms Policy Implications Chapter 7 Poverty and Conflict Violence and Insecurity in America Social Order in the Tribal World Importance of Social Equality Conflict and Conflict Resolution Leadership Internal Order in Politically Centralized Societies Cross-Cultural Perspectives on War Scale of War and Violence in the Imperial and Commercial Worlds Fiscal-Military State and Military-Industrial Complexes Deadly Arsenals: The Nuclear Weapons Threat Failing States and Social Disorder Roots of the Security Crisis: Culture, Overpopulation, or Inequality? Financialization Process and the Debt Crisis Export Sugar, Starvation, and Infant Mortality in Brazil State Terrorism and Investment Risk in Guatemala Opulence and Deindustrialization in America Los Angeles's Informal Economy: The Costs of American Poverty and Homelessness Chapter 8 The Future Dilemma of Scale Imagining the Global Future Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios American Intelligence Community Futures Global Trends 2025: An American View of a Transformed World Shell Oil's Perspective on the Future Shell Oil's 2050 Scenario: Emissions-Trading Blueprints Zero Carbon Britain 2030 Bolivia: A Plurinational Communitary State Solving Human Problems Sustainable Global Futures TERRA-2000 and Information Society UN Global Environment Outlook 3 Global Futures The Great Transition Initiative Transforming the Corporation Mondragon Cooperatives Bhutan's Middle Path Toward a Sustainable Planetary Society Scaling Down: The Small Nations Alternative The United States, Happy Planets, and Billionaires Transforming America Glossary Bibliography Index About the Author

About the Author

John H. Bodley is Regents Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University. He is the author of Cultural Anthropology, 5th edition (AltaMira Press, 2011), and Victims of Progress, 5th edition (AltaMira Press, 2008).


Praise for the fifth edition: [A] refreshing assessment of many of the contemporary problems that continue to challenge human beings in all sectors of the globe. It is a real tour-de-force. . . . I'm particularly impressed by the manner in which Bodley places anthropology at the forefront in the search for solutions to the many problems facing humanity, including affluence and poverty, the environmental crisis, natural resource depletion versus sustainability, malnutrition, the evolution of food systems, problems of the factory food system, population problems, conflict, and the future.--Deward Walker, University of Colorado, Boulder

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