The Development Gap

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Different Ways of Dividing the World

  • First, Second Third and Fourth Worlds
  • North/ South Divide
  • The Five-Fold Division Based on Wealth
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First, Second, Third and Fourth Worlds

  • Created from Western European perspective
  • First: Europe
  • Second: North America and Australia (communist countries)
  • Third: Poorer countries
  • Fourth: Poorest countries (standing still/ declining in economic growth)
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North/South Divide

  • 1971 -> The Brandt Report (state of world development)
  • North: economically wealthy and industrialised
  • South: poorer, less mature, largely agricultural
  • Use GNP as indicator (measures country's wealth)
  • Decreased in popularity -> too simple, more varied economies
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  • Before: economic, social and cultural (LDC/MDC)
  • Now: only economic 
  • NICs: countries developing the fastest
  • Becoming less useful
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The Five-Fold Division Based on Wealth

1. Rich industrialising countries (e.g. UK, USA)

2. Oil exporting countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela)

3. NICs (e.g. India, China)

4. Former communist countries (e.g. Russia, Brazil)

5. Heavily indebted poor countries (e.g. Chile, Madagascar)

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Measuring Development - Part 1

  • Birth Rate: number of live births per thousand per year
  • Death Rate: number of deaths per thousand per year
  • Infant Mortality Rate: number of babies born who die under 1 year old per 1000 born
  • Access to Safe Water: percentage of people who can get clean drinking water
  • Life Expectancy: average age a person can live to 
  • People Per Doctor: average number of people per doctor
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Measuring Development - Part 2

  • Gross Domestic Product (GNP): total value of goods and services a country produces in a year (US$)
  • Gross National Income (GNI): total value of goods and services people of that nationality produce in a year (US$)
  • GNI Per Head: GNI divided by the population of that country
  • Human Development Index (HDI): calculated using life expectancy, literacy rate, education level and income per head
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Multivariable Indicators

Human Development Index (HDI):

  • Life expectancy at birth
  • Level of education (including literacy rate and time spent in school)
  • Income adjusted for purchasing power (how much it will buy)

Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI):

  • Literacy rate
  • Life expectancy
  • Infant mortality
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Quality of Life vs. Standard of Living

Quality of Life:

How good a person's life is, measured by things such as quality of housing, how safe they feel access to education, etc. Subjective view, cannot be measured.

Standard of Living:

Economic level of a person's daily life, measured by things such as income. Quantitative measurement.

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Environmental Factors that Affect Development

  • A poor climate
  • Poor farming land
  • Limited water supplies
  • Lots of natural hazards
  • Few raw materials
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1. Poor Climate

  • Poor climate = can't grow much
  • Food production reduces
  • Can lead to malnutrition
  • Leads to lower quality of life
  • Fewer crops means less income to spend on goods and services
  • Government get less tax money (less trade) -> less money spent on developming the country e.g. improving healthcare
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2. Poor Farming Land

  • Steep land, poor soil or no soil means less food production
  • This has same effect as a poor climate
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3. Limited Water Supply

  • Some countries have little water (e.g. Egypt)
  • Less water makes it harder to grow successful crops
  • This has same effect as a poor climate
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4. Natural Hazards

  • Natural hazard: event that has potential to affect people's lives or property (e.g. earthquakes)
  • When natural hazards do effect this, it's a natural disaster
  • Countries that have many natural disasters (e.g. Bangladesh) have to spend more money rebuilding
  • They reduce quality of life
  • Reduce amount of money available to spend on development projects
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5. Few Raw Materials

  • Countries with little raw materials (e.g. coal) tend to make less money -> fewer products to sell
  • Less money available to spend on development 
  • Some countries with lots of raw materials are still underdeveloped -> little money to develop the infrastructure to expoit them (e.g. roads)
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Political Factors Slowing Development

1. Unstable government: may not invest in things like healthcare and education. Leads to slow development.

2. Corrupt government: some people in country get richer (by breaking the law) and others stay poor and have low quality of life.

3. War: country loses money that could be spent on development. E.g. expensive equipment, destroyed buildings, less workers. It also directly reduces quality of life of people in the country.

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Economic Factors That Affect Development

  • Poor trade links
  • Lots of debt
  • An economy based on primary products
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1. Poor Trade Links

  • Trade: exchange of goods and services between countries
  • World trade patterns affect a country's economy and their level of development
  • Poor trade links = little profit, so less spent on development
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2. Lots of Debt

  • Very poor countries borrow money e.g. to help cope with aftermath of natural disaster
  • Money has to be paid back (sometimes with interest)
  • Any money that country makes is used to pay back the money -> none left to invest in development
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3. An Economy Based on Primary Products

  • Countries that export primary products (raw materials e.g. wood) tend to be less developed
  • Little profit made by selling primary products
  • Prices fluctuate - sometimes price falls below prodcution cost
  • Little money to spend on development
  • Countries that export manufactural goods tend to be more developed
  • Can make a decent profit by exporting manufactural goods 
  • Wealthy countries also force down price of raw materials that they buy
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Social Factors That Affect Development

  • Drinking water
  • The place of women in society
  • Child education
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1. Drinking Water

  • A country will be more developed if it has clean drinking water available
  • Dirty water leads to illness -> this reduces their quality of life
  • Ill people can't work -> don't add money to economy and cost money to treat
  • Less money available to spend on development
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2. The Place of Women in Society

  • A country will be more developed if women have an equal place with men in society
  • Equality -> more women become educated so can work
  • Better quality of life for educated women 
  • More money to spend on development due to more people contributing to economy
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3. Child Education

  • The more children that go to school (as opposed to work), the more developed a country will be
  • More people get an education and so will get a better job
  • This improves a person's quality of life
  • Increases the amount of money available to spend on development
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Global Inequalities Case Study: Hurricane Mitch

Hit in 1998


  • 3000 killed
  • High agricultural impact (crops and livestock killed)
  • 70% roads unusable
  • 23,900 houses destroyed
  • 340 schools and 90 health centres damaged or destroyed


  • 7000 killed
  • 70% crops destroyed
  • 70-80% infrastructure severely damaged
  • 35,000 houses destroyed
  • 20% schools, 117 health centres and 6 hospitals damaged
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Reduced Development in Nicaragua

  • 1998: GDP only grew by 4%, rate of growth also slowed after hurricane
  • Exports of rice and corn went down -> crops damaged
  • People earnt less money, so were poorer, and government had less to spend on development
  • Total damge after hurricane was $1.2 billion -> cost of repairs took money away from development
  • Education of children suffered -> no. of children who worked instead of went to school increased by 8.1% after hurricane
  • Children had lower quality of life and found it harder to find good jobs later in life
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Reduced Development in Honduras

  • Between 1998 and 2000, money from agriculture that made up the country's GDP decreased by 9% -> damage to crops reduced quality of life for agricultural workers as they made less money
  • GDP increased by only 3% in 1998 due to hurricane -> less money for development
  • Cost of repairing and rebuilding houses, schools and hospitals: $439 million -> this money could have beeen spent on development
  • Hunduran President claimed hurricane destroyed 50 years of progress
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Improving Quality of Life

Some people are trying to improve their own quality of life instead of relying on others (self help) by doing the following:

  • Moving from rural to urban areas -> things like food, water and jobs are easier to find in urban areas
  • Improving their environment -> e.g. their houses
  • Whole communities working together -> e.g. some build and run services like schools
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Increasing Money From Trade: Fair Trade

  • About getting a fair price for goods produced in poorer countries
  • Companies who sell fair trade products have to pay producers a fair price
  • Buyers also pay extra on top of the fair price to help develop the area where the product came from e.g. building schools
  • Only producers that treat their employees well can take part in the scheme e.g. aren't allowed to discriminate, safe working environment -> improves quality of life of employees
  • Producers often produce a lot due to good prices -> can produce too much
  • Excess will make world prices fall and cause producers not in the scheme to lose out
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Increasing Money From Trade: Trading Groups

  • These are groups of countries that agree to reduce barriers to trade e.g. import taxes -> increases trade between members of the group
  • When a poor country joins, amount of money received from trading increases -> more money for develpoment
  • Not easy for poorer countries not part of trading groups to export goods to countries that are part of a trading group -> reduces export income of non-trading group countries so slows down their development
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Reducing Debt of Poorer Countries

  • Debt abolition: when some or all of a country's debt is cancelled -> can use this money to develop rather than pay back debt
  • E.g. Zambia had $4 billion of debt cancelled in 2005 -> allowed them to start a free healthcare scheme for people in rural areas to improve quality of life
  • Conservation swaps: when part of a country's debt is payed off by someone else in exchange for investment in conservation
  • E.g. In 2008, USA reduced Peru's debt by $25 million in exchange for conserving its rainforests
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