Sunday 24 May 2009

Geography - the rich and the poor

(Download version avilable for this post!) Geography – the rich and the poor There are varies degrees of wealth of country existing in this world and it depends on how they’re developed. Countries can be classified into more developed countries (MDCs) and less developed countries (LDCs). Here are the following indicators: 1) Gross National Income per capita (GNI per capita) refers to GNI divides by the total population of the country. It gives the average income of a people in a country, and can accurately measure how rich is the people in that country averagely, therefore it’s useful for comparison among countries. (more than US$9266→MDCS, otherwise LDCs.) 2) Urbanization level – percentage of urban population in the country, higher percentage means higher urbanization level. (MDCs have a higher %.) 3) Life expectancy give out the expected average years that a people can live in that country, and shows the general health condition and quality of medicine service in that country. (MDCs’ life expectancy is higher.) 4) Age structure shows no. of population in different age groups in that country, (MDCs → lower birth and death rate, and smaller proportion in younger people.) 5) Literacy rate -- the percentage of people which can write and read (basically) in that country, and this reflects the general education level of the country. (MDCs↑) 6) Food consumption – measured by per capita daily calories intake. MDCs have higher food consumption than LDCs, and most people in LDCs suffer from hunger and malnutrition. 7) Energy consumption shows the living standard and industrial level of the country, MDCs’ energy consumption is much higher because of their high living standard and industrial level. We can roughly draw a line to classify the “Rich North” and the “Poor South”, Rich North includes MDCs such as US, Canada, European countries, and Australia (but it’s in the South hemisphere). Poor South includes China, Africa, but also HK (although HK should be more developed.) Some countries are wealthier because of the following reasons: 1) Resources – it’s very important for making useful products (for example, curde oil→plastics) and making energy. Countries which have more natural resources are usually richer, because they can use their resources to make many things to earn money, and those surplus resources can again sell into money. 2) Technology level – this affect the speed of development in the country. In MDCs, government and enterprises is willing to invest to do researches and improve the technology, this can improve the agricultural and industrial productivity (better qualities and higher quantity) and bring them more money, the surplus commodities can also bring them foreign exchange. 3) Population growth – the triangular-shaped population structure for LDCs hinders their development, because their high birth rate and decreasing death rate bring them a high population growth, then resources for each people become less, and this will slower the speed of development for LDCs. (The population structure of MDCs is bell-shaped, and they have both low birth and death rate.) 4) Political stability is important for a country to development. Corruption and change of government (abnormally) happens frequently in the LDCs, and damage the well-being of people and the economic development. But all humans are equal and should have human rights; therefore we should help those LDCs. The following is what those MDCs can help the LDCs: 1) Emergency relief – MDCs provides food, medicines and clothing to LDCs if they encounter with natural disaster or war. Some organizations such as Oxfam, the Red Cross and World Vision also provides these emergency relieves. 2) Loans is a common form of aids to LDCs. Many governments and organizations such as World Bank provide loans to them. They use those loans to solve their financial problems and to build large facilities such as dam, railways and estates. 3) Transference of technology -- The technology level of LDCs is low, so that MDCs provide technology and machinery to them, and give them technical assistance to them. All these can improve the productivity of LDCs. 4) Develop long-term projects such as improving infrastructure, farming methods, education and children health can also help them. Some countries or organizations assist or provide loan to them to complete such projects. But sometime those aids can’t help the LDCs because of some reasons. The corruption among government or warfare blocks the aids from people in need; some MDCs want to control those LDCs through aids so that LDCs may refuse to receive aids, and some transference of technology is restricted because of some reasons. On another way, those LDCs can’t rely on those short-term aids, and some poorly panned aids can’t help LDCs properly. Therefore, the best way to help them is to encourage them to self-help. MDCs improves their education and nutrition level to let them can self-help in long-term. Also, MDCs start to consider local needs instead of money-only helping in recent years. They try to design development programme that local people can accept and manage, this can ensure the progress of the plan. To protect local industries, they impose import restrictions such as tariffs and import quotas. As a result, LDCs can only import primary commodities to MDCs such as agricultural products and their income is low, and they can benefits from international trade. Some organizations put force on the MDCs to make them to remove the trade restrictions so they have a fair trade relationship and they can benefits from it.

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