Resources and population: a study of the Gurungs of Nepal.

Macfarlane A
London, England/New York, N.Y., Cambridge University Press, 1976. 364 p. (Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology Vol. 12)

In many areas of the world destruction of natural resources and the rapid growth of population are among the most important problems facing individuals and governments. This book utilizes the tools of social anthropology and population studies in an attempt to see some of the causes and consequences of population growth and some of the effects of change in natural resources. It analyses a particular community in the Annapurna range of the central Himalayas (Nepal) during this century, and investigates how the destruction of forests and the growth of settled rice cultivation have occurred, and some of the consequences. The Gurungs are famous as recruits to the Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies, and the demographic and economic effects of foreign mercenary labor are among the topics examined. The book is a contribution to the literature on population patterns in small, nonindustrial communities, and supplements our information on domestic economics. It also contributes to the debate, centered on the work of Malthus and Boserup, on the relation between agricultural system and population growth. The conclusions are extremely gloomy, especially when set within the context of more general theories concerning the relations between population and economy. Long-term change in the Gurung economy is discussed, as is the forest and land resources of these people. Changes in the distribution of arable land, and capital assets excluding land and forest are studied. The application of capital: input-output data; income, consumption, and expenditures; and surpluses, deficits, and the accumulation of captial are discussed. Social structure and fertility are discussed from the point of view of intercourse variables, and conception and gestation variables. The demographic consequences of social structure--fertility statistics--are studied as are social structure and mortality, the age-sex distribution and some general models of resources and population.

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