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close this book Paper technology and the third world
View the document Acknowledgements
View the document Foreword
View the document Introduction
Open this folder and view contents I. Global Conditions of the Paper Market
Open this folder and view contents II. The State of the North American Paper Market
Open this folder and view contents III. Conditions for the Paper Market in the Third World
Open this folder and view contents IV. Effects of Paper Shortage on the Third World
Open this folder and view contents V. Alternative Paper Manufacture in the Third World
View the document VI. Results
View the document Selected Literature
View the document List of Tables
View the document List of Diagrams


Since its invention by T'sai Lun, an official of the imperial Chinese court, in the year 104 A.D., many different kinds of paper have been developed. Yet paperlike materials such as papyrus existed long before this date. The classical description of paper is as follows: "a leaf is made from a suspension of pulp and vegetable fibre which is stored in a sieve through which the suspension liquid is allowed to drain off until the fibres have interwined into a thick mass. This can then be taken from the sieve and dried." This present study is confined to examining so-called cultural paper, i.e. those sorts of paper which are, in general, for writing, painting and drawing, for educational purposes, trade and communication. This study should be seen as an attempt to strengthen the communication and educational sciences in the Third World. Thus it ties in with Recommendation No. 19 of the MacBride Report which stipulates that a greater amount of scientific attention should be paid to the acute problem of paper shortage in the Third World.

This study is divided into five chapters which cover every facet of the subject from the largest to the smallest detail. In chapters I and II the global condition of the paper-market is analysed with special attention to the role of the US/Canadian economy in this sphere. Chapters III and IV deal with conditions in the Third World: analysis of conditions pertaining to developing countries themselves, proceeded by a discussion of the effects of the paper shortage especially in the areas of education and communication. The last chapter discusses the various alternative technical possibilities available to the paper industry in the Third World. In this discussion the following criteria form the principal points of focus: self-sufficiency, minimalised capital and energy input, and the maintenance of an ecological balance. Two factors can be seen to emerge which are of particular importance for the creation of an alternative paper production. They are non-wood materials such as straw, bagasse (sugar cane) and bamboo, and small production units.

This study aims to be interdisciplinary, to be both theory and practice orientated as well as comprehensively structured. An interdisciplinary approach is taken in order to combine sociology

and the engineering sciences. The study must also be comprehensive in order to bring a variety of themes, such as energy, technology transfer, forestry and agricultural sciences, finance, consumption, education, chemistry and mechanical engineering, into focus within the framework of the approach. Finally it is the aim of the study to concentrate on certain sectors of state development policy, applying the practical findings derived from theoretical analysis.

Time and the research budget imposed a number of limitations so that certain problems could not be dealt with on an adequate level.

The statistics available on the paper situation in the Third World, particularly in relation to consumption, are completely unsatisfactory. Information on environmental pollution caused by the paper industry is difficult to obtain. This is also true for the technology transfer within the paper industry, for information on the kinds of paper used in the Third World, and on operational and economic cost calculations. The predictions used in this study must therefore be treated with a certain amount of scepticism as they are often based on questionable price and cost projections. The complexity of paper production and the lack of uniform conditions in the Third World counties do not allow for the possibility of general solutions. Thus this study shall endeavour to present a general framework of suggestions which must be modified to suit specific situations.

This study was completed in 1983 so much of the empirical data is derived from 1981/ 1982. Current statistics, be they on the Third World's debt crisis or forest destruction in the Federal Republic of Germany, confirm those tendencies evident from the older data. I would like to thank the following people who were involved in this interdisciplinary study: Lutz Meyer who is responsible for a large part of the overall conceptualizing as well as for compilation of chapter I; Frank-Michael Bahr for conceptualizing and wrting chapter II; Hans G. Prank for many technical contributions and

suggestions on the improvement of the manuscript; Max. F. Dippold for bibliographical assistance and Walfgang Schmidt for the graphics. Finally I would like to express my gratitude to Arthur W. Western. It is he who is primarily responsible for the development of the technical and practical dimension of this study. Without the possibility of drawing on his scientific experience this study would have "merely" concentrated on socio-scientific and theoretical questions. Thus it has attained a greater practical relevance for the realm of technical cooperation with the Third World counties than it would otherwise have had.

I should like to bring this introduction to a close with ten "aphorisms" which by an association of ideas should also prepare the reader for the problems dealt with in this study. These ten "aphorisms" are taken from the card index box of the research project. They are of no particular scientific use on the one hand, but on the other, are too nice and too expressive to be thrown away.

RAGS make paper,

PAPER makes money,

MONEY makes banks,

BANKS make loans,

LOANS make beggars,


18th century English proverb.

The interest and future involvement of the paper industry in Africa depends on the supply of vegetable fibre producing plants. The importation of finished paper can only increase slowly because the use of the paper is confined to the white population whose multiplication is confined to a limited number of areas owing to climatic conditions. Thus Africa is the least suitable of all continents for the use of paper.

German technical manual, published in 1926.

Newsprint Crisis: Size of newspapers to be cut next year. More paper mills urged.

Headline in a Nigerian newspaper 1973.

The French news agency AFP felt that the development warranted a 12 line feature in its world service: Ghana's press is threatened by starvation! AFP quotes the Ghanian 'Daily Graphic', according to which both it and its sister paper the 'Ghanian Times ' have neither enough paper, printer's ink nor photographic materials to continue production.

From a 1981 German radio commentary.

My name is Kipling Jiregari and I am going to talk about the land and the forest. When God created the world and Papua New Guinea He created our land. This is our home and no one has the right to intrude on our land. We of the Binandere people have laid out our gardens here. This Iand gives us food and everything we need. Money has no future. Money passes away. Only man and the land remain when all else has vanished. This is why I am standing up against the wood company. No company is going to destroy our land. If the workers from the wood company come here again we will kid them and eat them. Our money is made with a hole in the centre. Tell the people from the wood company they should take the money and stick their pricks through that instead of coming here and raping our land. (...) The forests, the land, the fishes, the swamp, the birds, we will protect all this, not just for our own good but for future generations as well. (. . .) I shall not permit either Prime Minister Somare or foreign companies to come onto our land, to take our forests away from us. I do not want to hear any more about it, tell that to the company. If anyone is killed it will not be my fault but the fault of the people who allow the foreigners to come here, to destroy our forests. This land does not belong to the government but to us who have lived here since time immemorial. The forests and the land belong to us. (...) The forest is our skin and without skin man dies. This is my final warning. This is the last word of our great chief Kipling Jiregari.

An excerpt from a television interview between the Swedish film director Sigrid Hedlund and Kipling Jiregari, Chief of the Binandere people of Papua New Guinea about the deforestation activities of the paper corporation "Japan New Guinea Timber Co." (JANGT), 1981.

New Delhi. Scientists in Hyderabad have manufactured paper from flowers. The project was financed by the UN. The material used was the leaves of the pale violet Water Hyacinth. These grow plentifully in Germany in acquaria and ornamental ponds in summer. In tropical countries the water hyacinth is considered a weed: Because it grows so quickly it is regarded as a hindrance to shipping and is a breeding ground for disease carrying insects.

From a German newspaper article, 1981.

Berlin. Given the fact that owing to the paper shortage in the GDR, a number of magazines have recently had to suspend operations or reduce the size of their circulation, a reader of the Communist Party newspaper 'Freie Erde' suggested that newspaper margins should be done away with. According to the Information Bureau West (IWE) the reader described newspaper margins as a waste of paper. The Party newspaper in a statement said that this was an "interesting idea. "

German newspaper feature, 1983.

Strategy and tactics of the Soviet publishing industry. Each minute 33 000 books. The greatest problem which the book trade faces is still the paper shortage. A headline in a German technical magazine, 1977.

The British Conservative Euro M.P. Edward Kellett-Bowman was the first to comment that the compilation of European Community documents, which at the moment comprise approximately 2 million pages per year, "accounted for about 13000 trees", and was far too voluminous. He stated that moderation was urgently required.

From a German newspaper article, 1982.

Today I was told by somebody from UNESCO that in the Soviet Union a method had been developed of producing paper from stone.

how nice I said and saw the officials who daily devour piles of paper in order, in the end, to turn to stone.

German poem, 1981.

Marburg, May 1985 Jorg Becker