"Dynograph" of World Industry


By DR. GRIFFITH TAYLOR, Professor of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Delivered at the New York Herald-Tribune Forum, New York City, November 17, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 144-147.

EVERY one in New York is familiar with the idea of town planning. It is carried out by a group of experts, who study the inevitable mistakes made in the early development of a city, show how they may be remedied and perform their chief function in planning for the future. This is just what the modern geographer tries to do, primarily for his own land but also for the rest of the world; especially for those areas where there is room for future population. Thus he has some claim to be called a "nation planner." A good local illustration is the similar work done by the dozen young geographers under the Tennessee Valley Authority.

When historians in the future look back on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries they will note a great contrast between them. The nineteenth century was unique, since it was the time of the industrial revolution. An unprecedented increase in the world's population resulted. Workers for the first time crowded into huge cities, and were supported by foodstuffs brought from new grazing lands across the seas. At the same time the rich grazing lands were occupied and were becoming fairly saturated by the beginning of the twentieth century.

For this present century a quite different role is apparent. The birth rate is dropping in almost all civilized countries, and the rush to pioneer lands is no longer outstanding. The second and third-class lands will be filled relatively slowly, one hopes in accord with definite and scientific planning on the part of the authorities. Industrial expansion, based on fuel and metal resources, very largely will account for much of the future growth. Wide areas at first used for ranching will be cut up for farm lands where the environments are favorable. Everywhere the key to progress will be "planning in accord with the environment," as we have seen in Soviet Russia.

One country which presents opportunities for future settlement is Australia. There, as you all know, the chief problem is how to settle the two million square miles of rather arid, hot and almost entirely empty two-thirds of Australia. There were two rather popular ideas current when I was working there; the first to the effect that Australia, being a young country exactly the same size as the United States, was likely to support over 100 millions in the near future. The other idea was that irrigation would suffice to water most of those vast, empty lands.

Challenged Both Ideas

Both of these ideas seemed to me to be quite erroneous. As an Australian geographer I carried out an extensive study of those foreign lands where the climate was the same as thatof empty Australia, but where the population pressure was greater, since they had been longer settled. For instance, no Australian thought that Calcutta, in India, and the mouth of the Congo River in West Africa were suitable places for rearing white families. But it was news to them to hear that Townsville had the same climate as Calcutta, while Broome, in northwest Australia, in this respect resembled the mouth of the Congo.

About that time I devised a technique which showed how the emptied lands of the world compared in their environments with the various regions of Europe—which might be considered "saturated" with its 500,000,000. This research seemed to snow that Australia might support 60,000,000 at the same standards of living as in Europe (though if the Australian standards were maintained, the figure would perhaps be halved). For other new lands the figures were: United States of America, about 500 millions; Canada, 100 millions; South Africa, 75 millions; Argentina and the associated countries, 100 millions, and Siberia, 100 millions. (This last figure is too low, in view of the coal and metal discoveries made of late years.) However, the figure assigned for Australia by no means pleased Australian boosters, and certain newspapers often invited me to migrate to lands where my views would be more appreciated.

Another great region which will support further settlement is Canada. Here is a subcontinent, again with two million square miles almost devoid of settlers; but the adverse conditions here are too low temperatures and often too much water. It is rather amusing, but also rather disconcerting, to find that I am considered a dangerous optimist in certain Canadian circles, because I believe that Canada will support forty or fifty millions before it is saturated, even if we keep our high standard of living. I think I can say that my figures for Australia are now accepted and I hope that twenty years hence my views as to Canada will be found to be reasonable.

(The suggested settlement will, of course, take well over a century.)

It seems to me that the wishful thinking of the Australian authorities encouraged wild hopes as to the potentialities of empty Australia. They dreaded the population-pressure of 600 million Asiatics just to the north. In Canada, on the other hand, the authorities are wiser. It is hard to place even a few thousand immigrants quickly today; and so they tend to discount the possibilities somewhat, since there is no obvious need to fill our empty north. It is, however, important to remember that our empty Arctic lands lie on the air route from the Pittsburgh factories to the teeming millions of the southeast of Asia.

The long-range prophecy of the geographer regarding Canada is largely a question of considering what other settlers in Europe and Siberia have done under similar conditions. The northern boundary of agriculture is usually placed near the temperature line of 56 degrees Fahrenheit in July. This line runs across Newfoundland to James Bay, and then swoops to the northwest to the mouth of the Mackenzie on the Arctic Circle. From here it runs due south along the edge of the Rockies but, owing to the high mountains of British Columbia, not much of this latter province is favored with warm summer conditions. Present-day agriculture reaches little beyond Edmonton, so that the promising triangle containing about 500,000 square miles lies to the north of the city. It extends along the whole length of the Mackenzie, where potatoes ripen and where barley and oats do well in most seasons, while meadow hay can be grown where the soils are suitable. The Alcan route is helping to open up the western edge of this area.

We cannot, of course, be sure of the crop possibilities until adequate soil surveys are carried out, but there is no reason to believe that soils are worse here than in the similar marginal country of Finland and Russia. The Russian area is about twice the extent of the Canadian, but, while many Canadians seem content with our population of 11,000,000, the Russians expect about 100,000,000 to settle in or near similar country in Siberia.

Tar Sands Important

We all know that the wealth and prosperity of Britain, Germany and the United States depend largely on the enormous resources of coal in those countries. The estimated coal resources of the Canadian province of Alberta total some 600,000,000,000 tons. This is the second largest deposit in the world, the largest being the huge deposits of the northern Rockies and near by, in the United States. If the Russians (in Siberian lands like those in or north of Alberta) can develop huge industrial towns based on Kuznetsk coal and distant Magnitogorsk iron, why cannot we do the same thing in Alberta at a later stage of our geographical development?

We hear a lot about the Norman oil field on the lower Mackenzie, from which pipe lines are being built to the military stations in Alaska. But of far greater significance are the Tar Sands of McMurray, some 300 miles northeast of Edmonton. Here are resources of bitumen in which oil enough to supply the whole world for more than a century is known to occur. Extraction is not difficult, but it is, of course, cheaper to use liquid petroleum at present.

There are large areas of Ontario and southern Quebec which lie on the warmer side of our 56-temperature line. Here in general is the great Shield, a vast expanse of lakes and muskeg covered with coniferous forest. The current belief that it is largely bare granite is wrong, for less than 10 per cent is devoid of soil and forest. Here, then, we have a great contrast with empty Australia. In empty Canada there is unlimited water, widespread fur and fish, plenty of water power, and also unlimited forests for fuel and, with wise conservation, a good deal of timber and paper pulp. The summer is hot enough for potatoes, barley and grass; so that in the distant future we shall see a scattered but in the aggregate large population in this zone.

It is, however, not satisfactory country for unassisted immigrants in its present condition. Lack of drainage is a greater drawback than the short duration of summer, and the drainage of these huge areas of rather swampy soil can only be carried out by vast government expenditure. The present is not the time to do this, but it will be done when the better parts of newly settled Canada are saturated. The Chinese manages to raise his family on the crops of less than an acre of land; the Silesian fanner needs forty acres; at present the prairies farmer requires over 400 acres. We may be sure that a century or so ago the Silesian farmer, who lives in a climate not unlike that of the prairies, found it necessary to farm a much larger holding. Now, with large populations near at hand, he finds a ready market for his produce, whereas in marginal lands all over the world the costs of transport tends to swallow all the profits.

Before considering the empty lands in the Southern Hemisphere let us now turn to another branch of geography, that which we may term legitimate, as opposed to German, geopolitics. Can geographers give us some idea as to the probable industrial powers of the nations in the future?

First the climatic factors, which determine human energy, are important. The eminent geographer Ellsworth Huntington has shown that the temperature line for 40 degreesFahrenheit accompanies the best mental work. This line runs a little north of the international boundary in Canada. It just missed the United States. It passes through Scotland, south Sweden, Moscow, and so to Vladivostock. He has decided that the best conditions for physical work are near the temperature-line of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which runs parallel to the other through Los Angeles, Savannah, Lisbon, Athens, Persia and Shanghai. Clearly in the broad zone between these two lines we have "the best of both worlds," the mental and the physical—the brain and the I brawn.

However, large and flourishing populations cannot develop in arid lands, and this cuts out much of the central part of Asia. The three areas which are left, and which the speaker (who is somewhat of a determinist), believes will always continue to lead the world, are the United States, Europe (with U. S. S. R. much the dominant member,) and China.

What about the material resources, which undoubtedly are even more important as regards heavy industry? They are iron ores, coal resources, water power and petroleum. I have prepared graphs of these resources for the chief Axis and Allied countries, and the results are very interesting. Under present conditions of industry, it is a case of "U. S. A. first and the rest nowhere." These graphs of power (which I have termed dynographs), show that the U. S. S. R. is likely to be the sole rival of U. S. A. and may even surpass her in the future. Germany comes next, a long way behind the two giants; then close behind are Britain, France and Japan, with Italy much lower. I know no illustration which better brings home the irremediable mistake which Hitler made, when Germany and Italy (with France under Hitler's feet), left Britain unattacked, and, in a sense, wantonly provoked the giants, U. S. A. and U. S. S. R.

We may now turn to South America in our Century Plan for the New Lands of the World. It is easy to reach almost any part of the continent by airways, but how about the roads? What is the present condition of the 13,000 miles of the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Buenos Aires? The greater part of it in the southern continent is ready, from Medellin (near Panama) to Valparaiso and Buenos Aires. Only south of Quito is there about 200 miles of bad trail. In Central America there are rather long gaps in Costa Rica and south of Oaxaca, but most of the remaining 2,000 miles between Laredo and Panama is ready. North of the main roads of Canada, this road is continued as the Alcan Route on to Fairbanks, an additional 1,600 miles. But this great road is likely to be more useful in promoting Pan-American friendship and knowledge than for extensive trade, since it is parallelled by adequate shipping routes most of the way.

South America's Outlook

South America is' the hot-wet continent. Here is a great expanse of tropical jungles which so far have resisted close settlement. The soils on the whole seem poor, and even though they produce some tree crops like rubber, nuts, timber and oils, they have not been found suitable for exploitation by large numbers of progressive peoples.

On the polar side of the Brazilian jungles, as in other continents where there is a long "winter season without rain, we find a belt of warm grasslands. This location is the world's chief grazing and grain area, so perhaps it offers the chief field for future progressive settlement. The humid, uncomfortable, wet season is the chief drawback though I look to "central cooling" to remove some of the grave disadvantages of such climates in the near future.

The temperate portions of South America, found chiefly in Argentina and South Brazil, have a fairly satisfactory environment; but in many cases the control of all the land is in the hands of the hacienda (ranch) owners, who will only rent their land to farmers. In the true marginal lands of southern Brazil, conditions of permanent tenure are better; but lack of communications, distance to markets, etc., as in Canada, have resulted in the failure of many promising settlements. Here, as elsewhere, the pioneer regions will only be settled slowly. A stable, enlightened government will in the future carry out improvements beyond the means of the individual—as has been done in western United States. However, certain German estimates of from 300 to 1,000 million progressive inhabitants in the Brazil of the future seem fantastic in my opinion.

In Africa we have a continent which extends equally each side of the Equator, and just reaches into those vine and wheat regions which have a "Mediterranean" environment. Unlike the lands so far discussed, there is already a large primitive population (132 millions out of 135 millions) of Africa which is quite experienced in warm-climate agriculture of a sort. Elevation is the key to future white settlement here; for much of the east and south of Africa is plateau land, and so the temperatures are cooler than their latitudes would suggest.

Southern Rhodesia Open

It seems to be generally accepted that only elevations above 4,500 feet are suitable for European settlement in the relatively empty lands of Kenya, Tanganyika and Rhodesia. Unfortunately the tropical diseases carried to man and beast by the tstse fly are grave disabilities in much of this wide expanse, though luckily they are not prevalent on the higher ground. Profitable crops which will pay for the long transport to lands of consumption are hard to find Coffee is succeeding in parts of Kenya, but a plantatior system (using Negro labor) is not likely to lead to important white settlement. That is being used in part, but is being discouraged, of course, by the authorities. Moreover the trade of the country is largely in the hands of natives of India, of whom 300,000 live in Kenya alone. In Tanganyika and northern Rhodesia the same disabilities occur so that the total white population of these two elevated territories is only about 19,000, after several decades of colonization.

Southern Rhodesia has a belt of highlands across the center which is available for Europeans, and here are about 53,000 folk of that type. Maize and tobacco are the chief crops. Here, as in South America, we may be sure that the population will increase considerably in the future, but it will be a slow process, not much resembling the earlier settlement of the American, Canadian, Siberian and Manchurian prairies.

I would like to emphasize that point, that there have been two very well marked stages in this development of the future that we are interested in today: The first, relatively easy settlement which tackled these great, rich prairie lands which are found in America, in Canada, in Manchuria and Siberia, but unfortunately are not found in large areas in any other part of the world. And I said a little earlier, we are beginning now to settle the third and the fourth-class lands a longer process, a much more difficult one, but one which in the long run, will produce important populations, just as we have seen, for instance, in Finland, in northern Russia and in plenty of places in the older regions of settlementwhich seemed very hopeless, I am sure, when they first started.

There is a "new land" (without an inhabitant) with which I have some familiarity. What is the future of Antarctica? Apart from some widespread seams of coal, in the sole ridge of extensive mountains projecting above the ice cap, it has no economic possibilities. Nor is it, like the Arctic area, athwart some of the main flying routes. To every type of scientist it is full of interest, but as a field for settlement these five million square miles of ice are useless.

My rapid survey of the "new lands" is ended. Our statesmen have declared that the resources of the world—especially in the unexploited regions—will be shared among the various nations more equably after the war. It should be apparent that specialized geographical research in the distributions and comparative values of various resources will contribute greatly to international harmony.