Comparative Development in International Perspective - Lecture_2_Notes

Comparative Development in International Perspective - Lecture_2_Notes

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LECTURE 2: Understanding Underdevelopment I. The“Third World” Defined II. Theories of Development III. Causes of Underdevelopment _______________________________________________________________________ _ I. The “Third World” Defined What should we call the group of continents we are talking about in this course? Should we lump them all together in a single category, and if so, which countries and regions should be included? The term “Third World” was coined in the post world war two era when the world was polarized between the First World and the Second World. First World: The first countries to develop advanced industrial economies and liberal democracies (Japan, Western Europe and North America—excluding Mexico) Second World: The bloc of former communist nations (Soviet Union and Eastern Europe) Third World: Everybody else In this usage of the term “Third World” it is purely a residual category. It is the non- aligned world, neither first nor second. Other terms include: Global South; Emerging Areas; Developing Countries; Non- industrialized Countries; Underdeveloped Countries; Non-aligned countries; less developed countries (LDCs) When we talk about this category of countries we are referring to the continents of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Generally speaking, the “Third World” includes very large areas of the earth and many peoples. It encompasses over 160 countries and accounts for three-quarters of the world’s population. Even though developing countries share some common features, they have many more differences. In terms of commonalities, countries of the Global South for the most part, were ruled by Europeans for a long time. Also, their economies are largely agricultural based and their levels of industrialization, while varying widely, are relatively low. In general, their peoples are poorer than those of the Developed World (or the North). They tend to have shorter life spans, lower literacy rates, and less urbanization. 1
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In terms of the political characteristics shared by Third World states in general that distinguish them politically from the developed nations, we can group them into 3 categories. Political Characteristics of the “Third World” a) politics and government are shaped by scarcity, inequality and a weak position in the international system. Government leaders in less developed countries simply have fewer options available in resolving problems or in responding to demands from various groups for a bigger piece of the economic pie. Economic conflicts therefore are more likely to lead to violence or repression (vicious circle). b) the political legitimacy of many states is very weak Citizens often lack faith in their political leaders and perhaps even in the entire political system of their country. There are various causes of weak state legitimacy in the Third World. For instance, the government may be seen as favoring one ethnic, religious or economic group over another. In addition, economic failure, political repression,
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POL B91 taught by Professor Rice during the Fall '08 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Comparative Development in International Perspective - Lecture_2_Notes

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