Chapter 1 Summary

Chapter 1 Summary - Chapter 1 Understanding Development...

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Chapter 1. Understanding Development Media coverage is sporadic and tends to to concentrate on tragedies or disturbances of various magnitudes – a tsunami that kills many thousands, civil in Sri Lanka, ethnic conflict in Darfur, and political repression in Zimbabwe. Although serious problems also occur in the industrialized nations, it’s the scope and persistence of the developing world’s political, economic and social challenges that ultimately draw our attention. Understanding the nature/causes of underdevelopment is a complex task complicated by theoretical debates between scholars and a profusion of terminology. For many years, the number of so-called “developing countries” have shown few signs of political or economic development. There are numerous terms for the so-called “developing countries”; Third World, LDCs, and developing world. 3 rd World Commonalities: The Nature of Underdevelopment Despite the substantial differences among them, 3 rd world nations still share a number of common characteristics all of them suffer from aspects of political, economic or social underdevelopment. While some 3 rd world countries are underdeveloped in all major aspects of modernization (i.e. Somalia), others are far more advanced in some aspects of development than others (i.e. South Korea, Singapore). Economic, social and political underdevelopment are closely related but certainly not perfectly correlated. Economic Underdevelopment Perhaps the most salient characteristic of most developing countries is their poverty. This is manifested in the: o Low GDP per capita o Unequal distribution of income o Poor infrastructure o Limited use of modern technology o Low energy consumption Sometimes contradictions occur and for example, the US has a higher income ratio difference between the richest 20% and the poorest 20%. Also, Latin America is the region with the highest degree of income inequality. Several factors influence a country’s income distribution: o 1) Level of industrialization and economic development . Countries moving into the middle- and upper-middle levels of development generally experience a growing economic gap between classes, as a new class of industrialists, finance, business owners and professionals emerges. o 2) Pattern of land ownership . Regions or countries that were colonized by the Spanish/Portuguese concentrated land ownership in a relatively small number of hands. In contrast most Asian countries experienced less concentration of rural property. o 3) Government policies regarding land ownership, taxation, welfare programs, and the like can either reduce or intensify income inequality.
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Countries with large and open educational systems, agrarian reform programs and progressive taxation often reduced income gaps. In both models, welfare communism (i.e. pre-1989 Czech Republic) and egalitarian
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Chapter 1 Summary - Chapter 1 Understanding Development...

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