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By James Ciment, Immanuel Ness

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At the same time, the development of agri­ culture requires a more ordered social structure. People live closer to one another. They acquire property, both land and personal. More rules, rule makers and rule enforcers are needed. More complex forms of government arise that can both organize and command greater internal human and nonhuman resources. The need for more land and other resources—including slaves— leads to military expeditions and conquests, of­ ten of less-advanced peoples. These are then incorporated into the existing political, eco­ nomic, and cultural system, thereby expanding the realm of stable, agriculturally based econo­ mies and hence the number of human beings.

Between 1965 and 1995, its population expanded from 311 million to 728 million, an increase of 134 percent. This rapid increase—and its status as the region with the fastest-growing popula­ tion—is relatively new. Between 1925 and 1950, the population in Africa grew from 153 to 219 million, an increase of 43 percent. During that same period, the population of Latin America grew 67 percent. But from 1965 to 1995, the rate of population growth in Latin America fell sig­ 27 nificantly behind Africa's, though the popula­ tion in Latin America was growing at the still­ rapid rate of 69 percent.

Babies and young children often died of illness, making it essential for parents to have many children so that a few would survive to contribute to family production in the short term and provide for aging parents in the long term. Young and middle-aged adults were not immune to death either. It was quite common for parents—in par­ ticular, mothers in childbirth—to die before some or all of their children were fully grown. The presence of aunts, uncles, in-laws, and even grandparents within a single family unit helped guarantee the survival of children specifically and the family generally.

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