Full text: Transactions of the Symposium on Photo Interpretation

Demographic statistics show that the population of the world will increase 
from 3 billion in 1962 to about 6.5 billion in the year 2000. This means that 
in less than 40 years, more then twice as many people as today will have to be 
fed and will have to be provided with the essential commodities of life. Never 
before has mankind witnessed such a tremendous rate of growth and never 
before has it had to face so large a problem and had to solve it in so short a 
time. The actions necessary to cope adequately with this problem will likewise 
be unprecedented, and revolutionary methods of research will have to be 
It is of particular importance to note that the rate of growth occurs prin 
cipally in the developing countries with an economy which is often primarily 
based on subsistence agriculture. The opening up of these countries in the 
past decades brought the benefits of modern medical science to even the 
remotest areas, and as a result there has been a sharp decline in the death rate 
- especially of infant mortality - with the resultant increase of population. The 
postwar health campaign in Ceylon, and especially the country-wide spraying 
with DDT resulted in a decrease in mortality from 22.0 per thousand per 
annum in 1945 to 9.1 in 1960. It is estimated that there will be about 18-20 
million Ceylonese in 1980, which is about three times as many as the 6.8 million 
of 1945. In many other, less spectacular, cases the population of developing 
countries has doubled in about 30 years. This rapid increase could only be of 
benefit to a few sparsely populated areas, but for the majority of the developing 
countries such a rapid population increase poses an almost insurmountable 
problem. The only possible solution is to open up large virgin areas and also 
to make more intensive use of the existing cultivated land. 
Enlargement of the acreage of subsistence farm land is certainly no answer 
to the problem, and the impetus for the economic development will have to 
come from industry and mining. This is even more so because it is the aim of 
the national governments not only to cope with the population increase, but 
also to raise substantially the standards of living in their countries. Improved 
nutrition and sanitation, better education facilities and housing, and many other 
improvements, will be necessary for this purpose. 
The much smaller growth of the more industrialized countries, where a 
similar population boom occurred at an earlier period, is best demonstrated 
by the fact that the doubling of the population of England will take about 230 
years. This discrepancy in the growth of the world population has the effect 
that the industrialized countries will have about 1 /5 of the world population 
in the year 2000 instead of the ^3 of 1950. Most of the investments for the afore 
mentioned development schemes come from these countries, and it is therefore 
evident that the per capita financial burden on them will become increasingly

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