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Fertile BondsBedouin Class, Kinship, and Gender in the Bekaa Valley$
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Suzanne E. Joseph

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044613

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044613.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Population and Poverty

Population and Poverty

A Capitalist Trap?

(p.117) 6 Population and Poverty
Fertile Bonds

Suzanne E. Joseph

University Press of Florida

The chapter theoretically situates Bedouin fertility and health in the broader Malthusian-Marxist debate on population and poverty. Contrary to the expectations of Malthusian theory, high Bedouin fertility is not concomitant with disease, death, and abject poverty. The chapter shows that high fertility in Bedouin communities is found in conjunction with low-moderate mortality, adequate nutrition, and good health. The Bedouin escaped the Malthusian dilemma through low levels of consumption, hard work in a mixed economy that provides some access to the means of production, partial access to high quality health care, and egalitarian practices like food sharing. The future challenge for the Bekaa Bedouin lies not in averting the Malthusian trap, but in confronting the dilemma articulated by capitalist dispossession and its attendant features of monetization, commodification, and consumerism.

Keywords:   Malthusian trap, preventive checks, Karl Marx, population, poverty, health, anthropometric data, fertility decline, epidemiological transition, demographic transition

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