The West Indies Population Problem: Dimensions for Action

The West Indies Population Problem: Dimensions for Action

The West Indies Population Problem: Dimensions for Action

The West Indies Population Problem: Dimensions for Action

Excerpt

About ninety million people were added to the world's numbers during 1957 and 1958. That increment is comparable to the population of Japan, and twice that of France. Such growth is unprecedented in human history.

One demographic trouble spot is the new West Indies Federation, a cluster of ten British islands struggling haltingly toward political autonomy under the sympathetic, guiding hand of Whitehall. At current growth rates, these Caribbean peoples, mainly Negroid, will double their numbers within a generation, from three to six millions. Like the world itself, they are caught in a demographic dilemma; modern low death rates have made their traditionally high birth rates anachronistic. No one, however, would suggest a return to the death rates of only a few years ago. But the hope of these island peoples for joining together in the solving of their economic and population problems is clouded. At this writing, the Federation is being dissolved through inter-island disagreements concerning the principle of free movement of people and goods, the right of the federal government to tax incomes and profits, and the full operation of a customs union. Jamaica and Trinidad have proclaimed their autonomy. However, the premier of Barbados and the chief ministers of the Leeward and Windward Islands are advocating a second start. The need of Barbados' bursting population to find living space stands at the core of the dissension, with more prosperous Trinidad and Jamaica standing firm against any mass invasion from their neighbor.

The world's masses, of which the West Indies is but a tiny proportion, have yet to come to grips with the task of bringing births and deaths into some kind of balance. In fact, the technical aid programs of the United States, Britain, and the United Nations, are abetting a world revolution in death control as they carry modern medicines, wonder drugs, miracle-working insecticides, and the best of public health methods to the most remote communities of the globe. While laboring to reduce the death rate of the world's less fortunate people, they seldom pause to consider the ultimate consequences. Yet, while it took 200,000 years for the world's human population to reach 2,500 million, it will now take a mere thirty years to add another 2,000 million. If nothing happens to prevent it, in 600 years the number of human beings on earth could be such that there will be only one square meter for each to live on. Just how a reduction in births is to be achieved in our less advantaged nations, is open to wide differences of opinion. But that some simple, inexpensive and generally accepted way must be found is . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.