Demography as Aggression


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International Relations Paper

11 March 2015.

This article argues that demography can act as a form of aggression. Weiner and Teitelbaum note that larger populations exert pressure on their territory, leading to outward pushing in an effort to occupy new territory (45). This article gives the example of the Muslim world, where population pressure and lack of economic growth has led to the migration of many Muslims into Western societies. It is true that population pressure within larger, hungrier nations easily leads to population-pressure sentiments, which are often used as a justification for aggression against sparsely populated territories in neighboring countries. The authors provide an excellent illustration by indicating that the richest soils tend to attract the most frequent instances of aggression, which is normally reflected in a frequent change of masters in those territories (Weiner and Teitelbaum 45).


The example of colonization also sheds light on the idea of demography as aggression. The example can be used to explain how variations in demographic variables at work can influence the kind of aggression that occurs in different parts of the world. However, it may not be as easy as the author suggests to differentiate between demography as an explanation and demography as a justification for aggression. The authors seem to admit that such difficulty exists when they attempt to draw a line between different forms of nationalism, notably its aggressive and benign variants, which is itself a challenging task. Similarly, it may be wrong to refer to demographic expansion as aggression if the intent to act aggressively towards the inhabitants of neighboring territories was not present at the beginning of the migration process. Thus, the debate on demography as aggression needs to be reoriented in order to bring clarity to the issue of why people living in densely populated societies tend to migrate into neighboring countries.

Works Cited

Weiner, Myron, and Teitelbaum, Michael. Political Demography, Demographic Engineering. New York: Berghahn Books, 2001. Print.

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