40 years of efforts towards development have produced tremendous
effects. From 1950 to 1985 the wheat production in the world
rose from 131 to 520 million tons, the rice production during
the same period from 94 to 484 million tons, whereas the population,
in comparison, increased from 2,5 to 4,5 billion inhabitants.
The observer ascertains that there has been an incomparable
improvement in education, in supply of consumer goods, infrastructure
etc. in many countries.
However, poverty has not been overcome. Considering the formerly
unimaginable wealth that exists in the world at the same time,
this is the scandal of the century.
The review of 40 years of efforts towards development shows
that new attempts have constantly been made, but today's wisdom
is tomorrow's mistake. The most important realization is,
perhaps, that societies cannot be developed but that they
develop themselves. Help from outside can be given by providing
knowledge and funds, and by not disturbing nor hindering these
countries' development, e. g., by trade restrictions or inappropriate
ideologies of development. However, many changes in the societies
in developing countries are indicated as well. It is the large-scale
projects and programmes that often exceed the economic and
social absorptive capacity of the receiving country. Every
society only copes with a specific amount of socio-economic
change in a unit of time. If, 40 years ago, development appeared
to be a task that could be performed rapidly, today, we have
become more modest.