Poverty, Aid and Development

Poverty, Aid and Development

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  • Created by: Ben
  • Created on: 19-05-10 17:49

Nature of poverty

Absolute poverty - below a set international standard (likely to be measured in $ per day)

Relative poverty - defined in terms of the society in which an individual lives so can vary (likely to be measured as percentage of average income)

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Other measurements of poverty


Public health (e.g. 40% of people living in the global South have no sanitation)

GDP per capita

Life expectancy

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North-South divide

Socio-economic divide between developed wealthy countries and poorer developing countries.

With the exception of New Zealand and Australia, all countries in the North are located in the Northern hemisphere.

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Challenges to the North-South divide

Development of Saudi Arabia from the 1960's

Rise of the "Asian Tigers" (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, HK, Indonesia) in 1970s/80s

Brazil, India and China from the late 1990s

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Theorists' interpretations of North-South divide

Liberals believe that the divide is closing due to globalisation

Realists believe that the divide still exists due to huge disparities, because the world economy is a "zero sum game".

Structuralists recognise the existence of the divide but believe that the countries in the South are being oppressed by the North.

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Globalisation HAS reduced poverty.

Foreign direct investment has accelerated growth in many countries

Many MNCs have adopted "workplace standards" which provide workers with reasonable standards for labour and wages. Wages paid by MNCs are on average twice the average wages in those countries.

More jobs provided and the prospect of training and skills development for workers in LEDCs.

Improved technology has reduced the basic costs of living.

Economically prosperous countries are able to improve living standards and reduce poverty. India has halved its poverty rate in the past 20 years

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Globalisation HAS NOT reduced poverty.

MNCS are only interested in cheap labour and have no long-term commitments.

Growing "cash crops" leaves farmers vulnerable to fluctuations in global prices.

LEDCs are often exploited by richer states for their export markets.

Increased trade and travel has facilitated health problems such as the spread of AIDS.

Poor states and communities can be kept in poverty by a "brain drain" of skilled workers in search of higher wages.

The level of agricultural protection for rich countries is estimated to be 5 times that of developing countries.

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'Orthodox' theory of development as economic liberalism, free market and free trade.

Linear development from traditional (e.g. subsistence agriculture) to 'advanced'.

This can be inhibited by internal obstacles such as "backward" culture that discourages enterprise or autocratic and corrupt rule.

External obstacles also exist, for example,

Neocolonialism and the so-called resources curse.

Impact of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) imposed by IMF/World Bank.

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Dependency theory

This is a theory developed by structuralists/Marxists.

Poor nations provide natural resources, cheap labour and markets to the wealthy nations.

Wealthy nations actively maintain the LEDCs state of dependence.

The "core" industrialised states of capitalism exploit and oppress "peripheral" states, who mostly rely on agricultural and exporting raw materials.

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"Oxfam" model

Also known as "bottom-up development model".

Aid is given to local communities who then develop skills that can be passed on.

Avoids corruption and financial mismanagement of recipient governments.

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Aid Campaigns

Prominence of NGOs and "make poverty history" movement.

UN Millenium Development Goals - autonomous agencies under UN umbrella such as UNICEF

G8 agreement at Gleneagles to tackle world debt

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Arguments for international aid

A moral duty to provide aid to those in poverty regardless of nationality.

Provides humanitarian relief.

Counters dependency.

Infrastructural changes increase long-term economic capacity.

Aid can contribute to movements of reform, e.g. democracy.

Counters crime as a means of providing basic needs.

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Arguments against international aid

Risk of creating dependency.

Can support oppressive or anti-democratic regimes.

Funds can be misapplied or abused by corruption.

Donor self-interest.

It is difficult to ensure and monitor exactly where and how aid is being used.

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huxdelux? seriously? that's worse than jadders

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