Potts,+2009+_Pop+Dev+Review_-1

Potts,+2009+_Pop+Dev+Review_-1 - P O P U L A T I O N A N D...

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Unformatted text preview: P O P U L A T I O N A N D D E V E L O P M E N T R E V I E W 3 5 ( 3 ) : 6 4 3 6 5 2 ( S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 9 ) 6 4 3 BOOK REVIEWS MICHELLE GOLDBERG The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World New York: The Penguin Press, 2009. 259 p. $25.95. International support for family planning services in the developing world is a dif- Fcult subject to get right. Ideally support should be motivated by a deep empathy for the suffering of women, especially those living on a dollar or two per day. But policies also must be framed by the impersonal constraints of numbers and what is achiev- able with the resources available. The Frst half of Michelle Goldbergs The Means of Reproduction covers much the same ground as Matthew Connellys Fatal Misconception (Connelly 2008). Goldberg, like Connelly, chronicles the pioneer work of General Bill Draper Jr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and others to launch a global effort to make family planning services available, followed by the efforts of Joan Dunlop, Adrienne Germain, and others to shift the focus toward a more holistic approach to the needs of women. It is an important and dramatic story, played out against the cultural and political backdrop of conict over making safe abortion widely available and the global confrontation between the Vatican and those promoting womens rights. The second half of The Means of Reproduction covers the biased sex ratios arising in India and elsewhere, the obscenity of female genital mutilation in Africa, and below-re- placement birth rates in Europe. Goldbergs book is a useful and insightful history of 50 years of passion and con- ict between those with overlapping goals but different perspectives on both the need to slow rapid population growth and the best way to do so. As a journalist, Goldberg is true to her profession in listening to both sides of any dispute and striving to let the protagonists tell their own stories in reasonably impartial ways. In this respect she presents an interesting contrast to Connelly, who, although he is a historian, is much more ideological and fails to let those with whom he disagrees make their own case. A good writer sometimes uncovers themes he or she did not expectand in some cases may not even fully understand. Goldberg is a good writer who falls in this intriguing category. I think she makes an accurate diagnosis on the last page, writing, The history of our species is, by and large, a history of male domination. The books subtitle, Sex, Power, and the Future of the World , is clearly appropriate (Potts and Campbell 2008). But on the penultimate page Goldberg makes a startling statement on which she does not follow through. She quotes an observation by Sara Seims, now with the Hewlett oundation, who Fnds contraception in some ways more difFcult to access today in Africa than when she entered the family planning Feld in 1979. This is also my experience. In fact, by several objective measures, such as growing disparities my experience....
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2011 for the course EEP 153 taught by Professor Marsh during the Spring '11 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Potts,+2009+_Pop+Dev+Review_-1 - P O P U L A T I O N A N D...

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