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7. Demographic Transition in Europe; Mortality Decline

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Published on Sep 25, 2009

Global Problems of Population Growth (MCDB 150)

European population grew only slowly during the period 1200-1700; factors include disease and wars. Human feces and rotting animal remains were not sequestered and often contaminated drinking water. Cities were so filthy that more people died in them than were born. About a third of children died in infancy, many from abandonment and lack of care during wet-nursing. Children that survived were subjected to harsh discipline to control their tendency to sin. Ineffective and even harmful treatments, like blood-letting, were all that medicine could offer. Starting with Newton's Principia (1687) and the Enlightenment (eighteenth century), scientific attitudes began replacing religious ones: the biological and physical world became objects of study. Sanitation, hygiene and public health improved. Inoculation and vaccination were developed. The Industrial Revolution began. As death rates fell, population rose. While most believe that an increasing population is good, Malthus worries that population can grow faster than the food supply, trapping people in subsistence misery.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Stories about Bride Price
03:27 - Chapter 2. Review of Previous Session: Early Europe
17:30 - Chapter 3. Population Factors: Personal Cleanliness, Infanticide
27:19 - Chapter 4. Historic Misery, Disease, and Medicine
36:55 - Chapter 5. Further Aspects of 'Pre-Scientific' Life
44:38 - Chapter 6. Demographic Transition
01:02:24 - Chapter 7. Malthus

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

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