TAKING SIDES: Chasing Views on Global Issues Book Contents, fifth edition [James E. Harf and Mark Owen Lombardi]

By : Muhammad Choirul RosiqinInternational Relations Student @University of Muhammadiyah Malang

Taking sides: Chasing Views on Global Issues, Fifth Edition, is a debate-style reader designed to introduce students to controversies in global policy. The readings, which represent the arguments of leading environmentalist, scientist, and policy makers, reflect opposing positions and have been selected for their liveliness and subtance and because of their value in a debate framework.

For each issue, the editor provides a concise introduction and postscript summary. TAKING SIDES; Chasing Views on Global Issues Book Contents, fifth edition [James E. Harf and Mark Owen Lombardi]The introduction sets for the debate as it is argued in the “yes” and “no” readings. The postscript briefly reviews the opposing opinions and suggests additional readings on the controversial issue under discussion.

By requiring student to analyze contradictory positions and reach considered judgements, Taking Sides actively develops students’ critical thinking skills. It is this development of criticcal thinking skills that is the ultimate purpose of each of the volumes in the widely acclaimed Taking Sides program.



It is not concidence that many of the global issues in this book emerged at about the same time as world population growth exploded. No matter what the issue, the presence of a large and fast-growing population alongside it exacerbates the issue and transforms it basic characteristics. In the new millennium, declining growth rates, which first appeared in the develop world but are now also evident in many parts of the developing world, pose a different set of problems. The emergence of graying population throughthout the globe, but particularly in the develop world, has the potential for significant impact. And the rapid growth within urban areas of the developing world continues to pose a different set of problems. The ability of the global community to respond to any given issue is disminished by certain population in a poor country in need of producers, an expanding urban population whose local public officials are unable to provide an appropriate infrastucture, a large working-age group in a nation without sufficient jobs, or an ever-growing senior population for whom additional services are needed.

quote-taking-sides-is-the-beginning-of-sincerity-and-earnestness-follows-shortly-afterwards-and-the-oscar-wilde-320733Thus we begin this text with a series of issues directly related to various aspect of world population. It serves as both a separate global agenda and as a context within other issues are examined.

Issue 1. Are Declining Growth Rates Rather than Rapid Population Growth Today’s Major Global Population Problem?[1]

Issue Summary

Yes: Michael Meyer, from “Birth Dearth,” Newsweek (September 27, 2004)

A writer for Newsweek International, argues that the new global population threat is not too many people as a consequence of continuing high growth rates. On the contrary, declining birth rates will ultimately lead to depopulation in many places on Earth, a virtual population imposion, in both the developed and developing worlds.

No: Danielle Nierenberg and Mia MacDonald, from “The Population Story. . . So far,” World Watch Magazine (September/Oktober 2004)

A research associate at the Worldwatch Institute, and Mia Macdonald, a policy analyst and Worldwatch Institute senior fellow, argue that the consequences of a still rising population have worsened in some ways because of the simultaneous existence of fast-rising consumption patterns, creating a new set of concerns.

Issue 2. Should the International Community Attempt to Curb Population Growth in the Developing World?[2]

Issue Summary

Yes: Robert S. McNamara, from “The Population Explosion,” The Futurist (November/December 1992)

Former president of the World Bank, argues in this pice written during his prsidency that the developed countries of the world and international organizations should help the countries of the developing world reduce their population growth rates.

No: Steven W. Mosher, from “McNamara’s Folly: Bankrolling Family Planning,” PRI Review (March-April 2003)

President of the population Research Institute, an organization dedicated to debunking the idea that the world is overpopulated, argues that McNamara’s World Bank and other international financial lending agencies have served for over a decade as “loan sharks” for those groups and individuals who were pressuring developing countries to adopt fertility reduction programs for self-interest reasons.

Issue 3. Is Global Aging in the Developed World a Major Problem?[3]

Issue Summary

Yes: Pete Engardio and Carol Matlack, from “Global Aging,” Business Week (January 31, 2005)

This Business Week cover story outlines the aging of the population in both the developed world and the newly emerging economies, suggesting that the time for action is now.

No: Rand Corporation, from “Population Imposion?” Research Brief, Rand Europe (2005)

This Rand Corporation study suggest that because of declining fertility, European populations are either growing more slowly or have actually begun to decline. Although these trends “portend difficult times ahead,” European governments should be able to confront these challenges succesfully.

Issue 4. Does Global Urbanization Lead Primarly to Undesirable Consequnces?[4]

Issue Summary

Yes: Divya Abhat, Shauna Dineen, Tamsyn Jones, Jim Motavilli, Rebecca Sanborn, and Kate Slomkowski, from “Today’s Mega Cities’ Are Overcrowded and Environmentally Stressed,” http://www.emagazine.com (September/October 2005)

Jim Motavalli, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine, suggests that the world’s cities suffer from environmental ills, among them population, poverty, fresh water shortages, and disease.

No: Robert M. McDonald, from “A World of the City, by the City,” Znet/Activism, http://www.zmag.org (December 20, 2005)

A postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, suggests that global urbanization presents a great opportunity for the world to achieve international peace. It creates new possibilities for democracy and a sharing of common interest.


The availability of resources and the manner in which the planet’s inhaitants use them characterize another major component of the global agenda. Many believe that environmentalist overstate their case because of ideology, not science. Many others state that renewable resources are being consumed at a pace that is too fast to allow for replenishment, while non-renewable resources are being at a pace that is faster than our ability to find suitable replacements.

The production, distribution, and consumption of these resources also leave their marks on the planet. A basic set of issues relates to whether these impacts are permanent, too regarding to the planet, too damaging to one’s quality of life, or simply beyond a threshold of acceptability.

Issue 5. Do Environmentalists Overstate Their Case?[5]

Issue Summary

Yes: Ronald Bailey, from “Debuking Green Myths,” Reason (February 2002)

Environmental journalist Ronald Bailey in his review of the Bjørn Lomborg controversial book, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World (Cambridge University Press, 2001), argues that “An environmentalist gets it right,” suggesting that finally someone has taken the environmental doomsdayers to task for their shoddy use of science.

No: David Pimentel, from “Skeptical of the Skeptical Environmentalist,” Skeptic (Vol. 9, no. 2, 2002)

Bioscientist David Pimentel takes to task Bjørn Lomborg’s findings, accusing him of selective use of data to support his conclusions.

Issue 6. Should the World Continue to Rely on Oil as the Major Source of Energy?[6]

Issue Summary

Yes: Red Cavaney, from “Global Oil Production about to Peak? A Recurring Myth,” World Watch (January/February 2006)

Red Cavaney, president and chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, argues that recent revolutionary advances in technology will yield sufficient quantities of available oil for foreseeable future.

No: James Howard Kunster, from The Long Emergency (Grove/Atlantic, 2005)

James Howard Kunster, author of The Long Emergency (2005), suggest that simply passing all-time production peak of oil and heading toward its steady depletion will result in a global energy predicament that will substantially change our lives.

Issue 7. Will the World Be Able to Feed Itself in the Foreseeable Future?[7]

Issue Summary

Yes: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, from “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2006” (2006)

The 2006 FAO report argues that despite problems at some local and national levels, global food production “can grow in line with demand” for the foreseeable future as long as national governments and international organizations adopt appropriate policies.

No: Janet Raloff, from “Global Food Trends,” Science News Online (May, 31 2003)

Janet Raloff, a writer for Science News, looks at a number of factors-declining per capita grain harvests, the world’s growing appetite for meat, declining availability of fish for the developing world, and continuing individual poverty.

Issue 8. Is the Threat of Global Warming Real?[8]

Issue Summary

Yes: David Biello, from “State of the Science: Beyond the Worst Case Climate Change Scenario,” Scientific American (November 26, 2007)

David Biello summarizes the 2007 report of the United Nations Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concludes that climate change is unequivocal, almost certain to be caused by human activity.

No: Richard S. Lindzen, from “No Global Warming,” Environment News, The Heartland Institute (August 2006)

Richard S. Lindzen takes issue with those, who suggest that “the debate in the scientific community is over” regarding the existence of global warming, and argues that to believe in such warming requires one to “ignore the truly inconvenient facts.”

Issue 9. Is the Threat of a Global Water Shortage Real?[9]

Issue Summary

Yes: Mark W. Rosegrant, Ximing Cai, and Sarah A. Cline, from “Global Water Outlook to 2025: Averting an Impending Crisis,” A Report of the International Food Policy Research Institute and the International Water Management Institute (September 2002)

Rosegrant and colleagues conclude that if current water policies continue, farmers will find it difficult to grow sufficient food to meet the world’s needs.

No: Bjørn Lomborg, from The Skeptical Environmental: Measuring the Real State of the World (Cambirdge University Press, 2001)

Lomborg contends that water is not only plentiful but is a renewable resource that, if properly treated as valuable, should not pose a future problem.


Our ability to travel from one part of the globe to another in a short amount of time has expanded dramatically since the Wright brothers first lifted an airplane off the sand dunes of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The decline of national borders has also been made possible by the explosion of global technology. This technological explosion has not only increased the speed of information dissemination but it has also expanded it reach and impact making any individual with internet access a global actor in every sense of the term.

Many consequences flow from this realization, including the expansion of the drug war and the global spread of health pandemics along with the trafficking in human beings against their will. In addition, flow of money, information and ideas that connect people around the world also creates fissures of conflict that heighten anxieties and cause increased tensions between rich and poor, connected and disconnected, cultures and regimes. The impact of these new and emerging patterns of access has yet to be fully calculated or realized, but we do know that billions are feeling their impact, and the result is both exhilarating and frightening.

Issue 10. Can the Global Community “Win” the Drug War?[10]

Issue Summary

Yes: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, from “2007 World Drug Report” (2007)

This 2007 report by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime provides “robust evidence” that “drug control is working” and “the world drug problem is being contained.”

No: Ethan Nadelmann, from “Drugs,” Foreign Policy (September/October 2007)

Ethan Nadelmann argues that probihition has failed by not treating the “demand for drugs as a market, and addicts as aptients,” resulting in “boosting the profits of drugs lords, and fostering narcostate that would frighten Al Capone.”

Issue 11. Is the International Community Adequately Prepared to Address Global Health Pandemics?[11]

Issue Summary

Yes: Global Influenza Programme, from “Responding to the Avian Influenza Pandemic Threat,” World Health Organization (2005)

The document from the World Health Organization lays out a comprehensive program of action for individual countries, the international community, and WHO to address the next influenza pandemic.

No: H. T. Goranson, from “A Primer for Pandemic,” Global Envision www.globalenvision.org (2005)

H. T. Goranson, a former top national scientist with the U.S. government, describes the grave dangers posed by global pandemics and highlights flaws in the international community’s ability to respond.

Issue 12. Do Adequate Strategies Exist to Combat Human Trafficking?[12]

Issue Summary

Yes: Janie Chuang, from “Beyond a Snapshot: Preventing Human Trafficking in the Global Economy,” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies (Winter 2006)

Janie Chuang, practitioner-in-residence at the America University of Washington College of Law, suggests that governments have been finally motivated to take action againts human traffickers as a consequence of the concern over national security implications of forced human labor movement and the involvement of transnational criminal syndicates.

No: Dina Francesca Haynes, from “Used, Abused, Arrested, and Deported: Extending Immigration Benefits to Protect the Victims of Trafficking and to Secure the Prosecution of Traffickers,” Human Rights Quarterly (vol. 26, no.2, 2004)

Dina Francesca Haynes, associate professor of law at the New England School of Law, argues that none of the models underlying domestic legislation to deal with human traffickers is “terribly effective” in addressing the issue effectively.

Issue 13. Is Globalization a Positive Development for the World Community?[13]

Issue Summary

Yes: Robyn Meredith, and Suzanne Hoppough, from “Why Globalization Is Good,” Forbes (April 16, 3007)

Meredith and Hoppough argue that the data supports the conclusion that globalization works for both rich and poor. They particularly point to the growing middle class in many countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America to support this conclusion.

No: Steven Weber, Naazneen Barma, Matthew Kroenig, and Ely Ratner, from “How Globalization Went Bad,” Foreign Policy (January/February 2007)

Weber et al. argue that globalization and the American prominance that drives it amplify a myriad of evils including terrorism, global warning, and interethnic conflict creating a less stable and less just world community.

Issue 14. Is the World a Victim of American Cultural Imperialism?[14]

Issue Summary

Yes: Julia Galeota, from “Cultural Imperialism: An American Tradition,” The Humanist (2004)

Julia Galeota contends that the world today is flooded with American culture, and while some would argue that this is simply a matter of tastes and choice, she argues that it is a strategy to impose American principles and ideals on the world community and as a result destroy others cultures.

No: Philippe Legrain, from “In Defense of Globalization,” The International Economy (Summer 2003)

Philippe Legrain is a Britist economist who presents two views of cultural imperialism and argues that the notion of American cultural imperialism “is a myth” and that the spreading of cultures through globalization is a positive, not negative, development.

Issue 15. Do MySpace and YouTube Make Private Globalization Democtratized?[15]

Issue Summary

Yes: David Brain, from “The Democtratisation of Everything,” The Sixty-Second View (October 18, 2006)

Brain argues that the Internet and elements like MySpace, YouTube, and others allow for instant dissemination of information, response, and change empowering millions in the market place of things and ideas. He contends that top-down control is melting away amidst this onslaught and everyone is becoming their own creator, critic, and controller, thus democratizing everything from corporate products to tastes and politics.

No: Andrew Keen, from The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture (Doubleday, 2007)

Keen contends that the Internet is destroying culture and rubbing outlines between knowledge and whimsy, experts and neophytes. He argues that MySpace and YouTube do not empower, but rather water down, values and ideals such that a lowest common denominator prevails, leading to less democracy and not more.


With the end of the Cold War, the concept of security was freed from its bipolar constrains of great power calculations. And as a consequence of 9/11, the definition of security and how to achieve it were once again redefined to encompass new kinds of threats from a new group of perpetrators. In short, our concept of security in a post-modern age has broadened considerably.

These include concerns over religious extremism and ethnic conflict, the impact of immigration on a nation’s security, the prospects of a nuclear terrorism, the rise of potential nuclear powers like Iran, and the growing emergence of China as a global superpower.

This section examines some of the key issues shaping the security dilemma of the twenty-first century.

Issue 16. Does Immigration Policy Affect Terrorism?[16]

Issue Summary

Yes: Mark Krikorian, from “Keeping Terror Out,” The National Interest (Spring 2004).

Mark Krikorian argues that immigration and security are directly and inexorably linked. He contends that the nature of terrorism is such that individual and small group infiltration of ou U.S. borders is a prime strategy for terrorists, and thus undermine individual calls for relaxed or open immigration.

No: Daniel T. Griswold, from “Don’t Blame Immigrants for Terrorism,” The Age Peace Foundation (October 6, 2003).

Daniel T. Griswold argues that by coupling security and immigration, we simplify a complex issue and, in fact, do little to enhance security while we demonize a huge segment of the population who are by large law abiding and not a threat.

Issue 17. Are We Headed Toward a Nuclear 9/11?[17]

Issue Summary

Yes: David Krieger, from “Is a Nuclear 9/11 in Our Future?” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (October 6, 2003).

David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, argues that the nuclear 9/11 is very likely in a U.S. city due to the prevalence of nuclear weapons and the failure of nuclear member states to adequately enforce a true non- proliferation regime.

No: Graham Allison, from “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism,” Los Angeles World Affairs Council (September 22, 2005).

Graham Allison, noted international scholar, argues that a nuclear 9/11 is preventable, provided that the United States and other states halt proliferation to states predisposed toward assisting terrorists, particularly North Korea.

Issue 18. Is Religious and Cultural Extremism a Global Security Threat?[18]

Issue Summary

Yes: Hussein Solomon, from “Global Security in the Age of Religious Extremism,” PRISM (August 2006)

Solomon argues that when religious extremism, which is a security threat in and of itself, is merged with state power, the threat to global security is potentially catastropic and must be met with clear and uncompromising policies. He contends that this is percent across all religious, and he uses both a born-again George Bush and fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his examples.

No: Shibley Telhami, from “Testimony Before the House Armed Service Committee: Between Terrorism and Religious Extremism” (November 3, 2005)

Telhami, on the other hand, does not argue that religious extremism is the threat, but rather that global security threats are from political groups with political agendas and not extremism as such.

Issue 19. Is a Nuclear Iran a Global Security Threat?[19]

Issue Summary

Yes: U.S. House of Representative Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy, from “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States” (August 23, 2006).

The House Select Committee concludes that Iran’s weapons program and missile development technology combined with the nature of fundamentalist regimes pose a grave security threats and thus must be addressed.

No: Office of Director of National Intelligence, from “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” National Intelligence Estimate (November 2007).

The National Intelligence Estimate contends that Iran is not a global security threat because they have decided to suspend their nuclear weapons program and would not be able to develop the capacity for such weapons until at least 2015.

Issue 20. Will China Be the Next Superpower?[20]

Issue Summary

Yes: Shujie Yao, from “Can China Relly Become the Next Superpower?” China Policy Institute (April 2007).

Yao analyzes the current state of the Chinese economy and policy and postulates several possible scenarios fro development. Ultimately, Yao surmises that China will develop as the next superpower by the mind twenty-first century.

No: Pranab Bardhan, from “China, India Superpower? Not So fast!” YaleGlobal Online (October 25, 2005).

Bardhan argues that there are many variables and factors that can and will hinder China’s development into a superpower, including vast poverty, weak infrastructure, and China’s authoritarian government.


[1] James E. Harf and Mark Owen Lombardi, TAKING SIDES Chasing Views on Global Issues Ed. 5, McGraw-Hill; New York, p. 2-19

[2] Ibid, p. 20-46

[3] Ibid, p. 47-63

[4] Ibid, p. 64-82

[5] Ibid, p. 84-98

[6] Ibid, p. 99-111

[7] Ibid, p. 112-127

[8] Ibid, p. 128-143

[9] Ibid, p. 142-167

[10] Ibid, p. 170-187

[11] Ibid, p. 188-208

[12] Ibid, p. 209-254

[13] Ibid, p. 255-283

[14] Ibid, p. 270-283

[15] Ibid, p. 284-198

[16] Ibid, p. 300-312

[17] Ibid, p. 313-324

[18] Ibid, p. 325-340

[19] Ibid, p. 341-376

[20] Ibid, p. 377-388



About Muhammad Choirul Rosiqin

I was born in Eastern Probolinggo, East Java, in 1994. I'm student of International Relations @University of Muhammadiyah Malang
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