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Summary Statement

This brief statement of population problems indicates the pervasive and depressive effect that uncontrolled growth of population can have on many aspects of human welfare. Nearly all our economic, social, and political problems become more difficult to solve in the face of uncontrolled population growth. It is clear that even in the wealthier nations many individuals and families experience misery and unhappiness because of the birth of unwanted children. The desirability of limiting family size is now fairly generally, though not universally, recognized, particularly among the better-educated and culturally advanced segments of the population in many countries.

Effective voluntary control of family size essentially depends upon the successful interaction of two variables: level or intensity of motivation and the availability and utility of procedures. When motivation is high and sustained, difficult procedures for controlling fertility can be used successfully, but when motivation is weak and erratic, simple procedures that impose few demands are essential. Quite obviously any comprehensive program for solving population problems must work with both these variables, must seek to enhance motivation and also to improve procedures for voluntary control of fertility.

A broadly based effort to develop clearer understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of the reproductive process is a primary requirement. Work in this area can be effectively strengthened by expansion and coordination of the activities of the few existing laboratories now devoted to basic problems of human reproduction.



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OCR for page 37
The Growth of World Population: Analysis of the Problems and Recommendations for Research and Training Summary Statement This brief statement of population problems indicates the pervasive and depressive effect that uncontrolled growth of population can have on many aspects of human welfare. Nearly all our economic, social, and political problems become more difficult to solve in the face of uncontrolled population growth. It is clear that even in the wealthier nations many individuals and families experience misery and unhappiness because of the birth of unwanted children. The desirability of limiting family size is now fairly generally, though not universally, recognized, particularly among the better-educated and culturally advanced segments of the population in many countries. Effective voluntary control of family size essentially depends upon the successful interaction of two variables: level or intensity of motivation and the availability and utility of procedures. When motivation is high and sustained, difficult procedures for controlling fertility can be used successfully, but when motivation is weak and erratic, simple procedures that impose few demands are essential. Quite obviously any comprehensive program for solving population problems must work with both these variables, must seek to enhance motivation and also to improve procedures for voluntary control of fertility. A broadly based effort to develop clearer understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of the reproductive process is a primary requirement. Work in this area can be effectively strengthened by expansion and coordination of the activities of the few existing laboratories now devoted to basic problems of human reproduction.

OCR for page 37
The Growth of World Population: Analysis of the Problems and Recommendations for Research and Training There is a parallel need—no less important—for extensive, systematic application of new basic knowledge in the development of new techniques, procedures, devices, and medically active compounds for the regulation of fertility. Inherent in this requirement is the necessity for assurance of safety in techniques and procedures, and freedom from undesirable side-effects from compounds and treatments. These objectives require extensive studies in chemistry, physiology, and biochemistry, with large animal colonies and clinical facilities for large-scale animal and, subsequently, human tests. The limited field surveys and experiments reported upon in this document must be enlarged, and new projects of this kind undertaken on a continuing basis in many more parts of the world, making effective use of growing bio-medical knowledge and newly developed devices, techniques, and compounds. The objectives of these projects should be two-fold: (1) to determine the advantages and disadvantages of various techniques, procedures, and devices, and (2) to determine the degree and scope of their acceptability in various societies, cultures, and economies. To reach the objective, the means must be provided and they must be accepted and used. We believe that the implementation of the recommendations in this report will lead to substantial increases in our effective knowledge and will also encourage the use of this increased knowledge in a successful attack on the many problems of rapid and uncontrolled population growth.