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A sinister pathogen corrupts two disciplines: the demographic entrapment of Middle Africa 

A sinister pathogen corrupts two disciplines: the demographic entrapment of Middle Africa

Chapter:
A sinister pathogen corrupts two disciplines: the demographic entrapment of Middle Africa
Author(s):

Maurice King

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.030402
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date: 22 August 2017

Are starvation and violence ‘diseases’? If they are, a textbook of medicine must be prepared to recognize some novel pathogens. The most sinister cause of these two diseases is ‘demographic entrapment’, which occurs when a subsistence community exceeds (1) the carrying capacity of its local ecosystem (too many people for the land to support), (2) its ability to migrate to new land, and (3) the ability of its economy to produce goods and services, which it can exchange for food and other essentials. The outcome of entrapment is severe poverty, starvation and violence, and the problem is at its worst in Middle Africa, where populations multiplied seven times during the 20th century, and are expected to triple again by 2050. Remedy will not be found unless fertility is reduced, if necessary to one child only per family, but discussion of this is prevented by powerful taboos....

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