Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



For several thousand years two demographic problems have periodically dogged man, population explosion and population implosion or, in less rhetorical terminology, too many people and too many people concentrated at points in space. The ineffectiveness of the solutions proposed for each of these problems has demonstrated that man's propensity for "progress" has continued to swamp his capacity to adapt to the changes he has produced. In sum, man remains confronted with the need to achieve balance between the costs of change and the costs of arresting change. Attempts at solving population problems are conditioned by the means believed available, by the manner in which options are believed to be sequentially ordered and chained in time, and by the environment of change, which currently emphasizes facticity and technological means to the neglect of both the complementary change in the socioeconomic milieu and careful consideration of the ends to which the means supposedly are related. The current ideational and aspirational environment of the United States, together with its technological milieu,is notably different from what it was 50 years ago. What can be accomplished and the means of accomplishment are affected accordingly...The effectiveness with which the distribution of population in space an be controlled depends upon the means available, including such indirect means as the limitation of population growth and hence of the number to be redistributed in space. Presently available methods of control include legal and administrative constraints, changes in the incentive-disincentive structure, and education and propaganda.