Development and Underdevelopment

Focuses around " Different definitions and explanations of development and under-development;"

Includes definitions of development, ways to measure development, Marx, Weber and Durkheim, Modernisation and Dependency Theory, neo-liberalism and World Systems Theory.

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  • Created by: Natalie
  • Created on: 21-05-09 10:25

Defined in these ways

Development is defined in three main ways;

  • Usually means economic growth, industralisation and > living standards. e.g. > high life expectancy & universal education.
  • Countries that have achieved this are called MEDCs - MEDCs is developed, means it is endowed with nat resources that have been used to create wealth. < Incomes are high > After fulfilling basic human needs, most have money left over. > A large, productive service sector develops.
  • Countries that haven't achieved this are called LEDCs - LEDCs - great dependence on farming (not been modernized and output is low), for many constant struggle to achieve even the bare neccessaties of life. Health suffers, medical care is sparse, education is limited
  • (see top), this is ethnocentric. Defines Development in terms of "Western Ideals" which may not be 100%.
  • Underdeveloped coutnries aren't developed yet. UC haven't developed as much as other countires with the same resources.
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Measured in different ways

  • Most widely used as an indicator of a countries developed is GNP. (Gross National Product).
  • Calculated by adding up the values of all goods and services produced in that country during the year; the total is divided by its pop. to give the GNP per head.
  • More valuable to MEDCs for two reasons;
  • Stats - more readily available and more accurate
  • Only the values of products sold are included in its calculation. In many LEDCs farming remains the main occup so it's likely that the GNP represents an undervaluation for poor countries.
  • For some countries GNP is hard to be estimated cause' of wars or Government secrecy. Other countries are omitted because their total pop is so low, that the GNP has literally no meaning.
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Development measured cont...

Highest GNP - Population The estimated population for each country in 2006 is shown within brackets.

EU Countries From Richest to Poorest*

  1. Luxembourg (pop. 474,413) ... $61,610
  2. Ireland (pop. 4,062,235) ... $32,930
  3. Austria (pop. 8,192,880) ... $31,800
  4. Denmark (pop. 5,450,661) ... $31,770
  5. Belgium (pop. 10,379,067) ... $31,530
  6. United Kingdom (pop. 60,609,153) ... $31,430
  7. (bottom three) Poland (pop. 38,536,869) ... $12,730
  8. Lithuania (pop. 3,585,906) ... $12,690
  9. Latvia (pop. 2,274,735) ... $11,820


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Other ways development is measured

Other ways development is measured - definitions of

  • HDI (Human Development Index)
  • The HDI combines normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita for countries worldwide
  • HPI (Human Poverty Index)
  • The Human Poverty Index is an indication of the standard of living in a country, developed by the United Nations (UN). For highly developed countries, the UN considers that it can better reflect the extent of deprivation compared to the Human Development Index
  • PQLI (Personal Quality of Life Index)
  • The physical quality-of-life index (PQLI) is an attempt to measure the quality of life or well-being of a country. The value is the average of three statistics: basic literacy rate, infant mortality, and life expectancy at age one, all equally weighted on a 0 to 100 scale.
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Foundations in Marx, Weber and Durkheim

  • Marx Said that capitalism and industrialization were about obtaining the max amount of profit. Capitalists in develop countries exploit underdevelop countries to get raw materials, & to get a wide market for the goods produced by capitalism. Marx thought capitalism would give way to communism. ....
  • Durkheim argued that societies would progress through industrialization and that the most developed nations were those who were industrialized first. Durkheim saw the West as the most advanced society, and thought underdeveloped countries could improve their progression by taking on characteristics of Western countries.
  • Weber society becoming more rational and bureaucractic - people need to make more choices and scientrific ideas to solve problems like deprivation. LEDCs need to copy WAt in order to allow prog and economic develop.
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Summary of Modernization & Dependency Theory, Neo-


Says that all countries move towards liberal capitalism. UD are seen as inferior to developed countries that have achived a higher rate of production, consumption and wealth.

Rostow (1971) Five stages of development.

1. Traditional Stage 2. Pre-conditions for take off 3. Take off 4. The Drive to Maturity 5. Age of mass consumption

Dependency theory says developed countries exploit underdeveloped ones (Frank, 1967)

Neo-liberalism believes in using Free Trade to help countries develop

World systems theory says there is one global economy

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World Systems Theory

  • Wallerstein (1974) suggests WST treats the entire world as one economy, rather than looking at development country by country. WST divides the world into core (developed countries), semi-periphery e.g. SA, Mexico and periphery (e.g. Ethiopia).
  • Core couuntries make full use of the global economy, and can affect any other country - in other words, they have global "reach". Takes up all the surplus profits generated by the whole world -P and SP.
  • SP are exploited by the core countries, but also exploit the P countries. In theory because they exploit and are exploited , they aren't fully "on the same side" as the P countries.


  • too deterministic
  • doesn't allow individual countries' characteristics, and it still holds up the core countries as the model for perfect development.
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