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Development is about improvements in standards of living and quality of life.  A two-fold distinction is usually made between countries at different stages of development:

  • MEDC, developed world, 'the North', rich world, first world
  • LEDC, developing world, 'the South', poor world, third world

Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs) are inbetween.  Examples are South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, China and India.

There are many different ways to measure the development of a country:

  • Life expectancy
  • Nutrition
  • Adult literacy rates
  • Infant mortality rates
  • Rate of natural increase
  • Urban population%
  • Cell phones per 100 000
  • Energy consumption
  • Doctors per 100 000
  • Employment structure
  • GNI
  • Access to clean water


In 1990 the UN relaced GDP as their measure of development with the HDI.  The Human Development Index is a social welfare index measuring three variables: life expectancty, educational index and real GNP per capita.  The score is from 1 (the best) to 0 (the worst).  In 2013 the country with the highest rated HDI was Norway, followed by Australia and the USA.


The Brandt Line used GDP per capita as the basis to divide the world in half.  To reflect the global economic variations in development, German Chancellor Willy Brandt drew a single line to divide the world into the 'Rich North' and the 'Poor South'.  95% of the North have enough food, shelter and a functioning education system.  5% of the South have enough food and shelter.  The North contains 25% of the world's population, but controls 80% of the world's income.  90% of the manufacturing industries are owned by and located in the North.


Physical geography -

Landlocked countries developed more slowly than coastal ones.  Landlocked countries are poor for trading.  Tropcial countries developed less slowly because the land isn't good for agriculture. A lack of natural resources has an impact on industrialisation and economic growth.  Natural hazards also limit development.

Economic factors - 

Wealth is increased through the sale of manufactured goods.  Countries that can import exhausted or unavailable resources develop quicker than those that can't.  High rates of saving and low rates of spending will limit development.  Investment in infrastructure and new technologies will increase development.

Political factors -

A stable government and avoidance of civil war will aid development.  Colonial powers developed at the expense of their colonies. Countries that welcome foreign investment and do not impose trade restrictions will develop faster.

Social factors -

Money must be spent on education, health services and shelter.  These are non-profitable sectors.  High birth rates impede economic development.


International aid is support provided by one country to another.  It can take the form of money or resources such as food, doctors and temporary housing.

Aid is needed to help the development of a country's economic growth and to improve the quality of life.  It could also be needed to support a country during a time of need.

International aid - the giving


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