Traditionalism is the maintenance of traditional attitudes and a traditional way of life against modernization. It constitutes a barrier to the success of development programmes in developing countries. In developed countries it may create a generation gap and general lack of adaptation of social attitudes to technological changes. In either case it leads to a waste of human resources.
In many rural areas in Africa, ridging, furrowing, sowing and planting seldom follow rectangular patterns. This has many disadvantages when an attempt is made to introduce modern farming machines which require straight line formation. Even animal draught at the most rudimentary level, with an improved hoe, requires a straight line. Yet it may be found extremely difficult to convince farmers that they should adopt the straight line in planting if they wish good yields. For the illiterate farmer, all the natural shapes that evoke wonder and admiration are round or circular: the moon, the sun, etc, so he thinks nature can hardly yield up its riches if its fundamental laws are flouted, the basic law being that all significant things are round.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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