After reading and studying this chapter, you should be able to:
LO1. Explain why defining development can be problematic.
LO2. Discuss the various explanations for underdevelopment.
LO3. Explain the core-periphery argument.
LO4. List and explain economic variables that can be used to measure development.
LO5. Compare Rostow's model of economic advancement to other ideas.
LO6. List and explain noneconomic measures that can be used to gauge development.
LO7. List and explain common aggregate measures of development and well-being.
LO8. Discuss the role of women in development using specific examples.
Chapter 10: PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT AND CHANGE
Economic development implies a fuller and more productive use of human and natural resources to achieve improved conditions of economic and social well-being. An unsatisfactory and inconsistent terminology has emerged to define and describe stages along the continuum of development, including contrasts between North and South and the recognition of an economic and social Third World.
There are great spatial contrasts between and within countries and world regions in attained levels of “development.” Core–periphery models contrast advanced economic heartlands and subordinate, less developed peripheral areas. Circular and cumulative causation presumably assures continued growth and prosperity of cores, though trickle-down or spread effects work to reduce core–periphery contrasts.
Economic core regions are the modern counterparts of culture hearths, creating the technology—tools and methods—of modern economies. Inevitably, a technology gap separates advanced from developing societies. Some may interpret this gap as evidence of a dependency theory. Technology transfer is a developmental goal of developing countries seeking an improvement in their economic circumstances and prospects.
Development is not measured by a single statistic. It implies a multifaceted condition requiring different measures to assess. Each indicator likely places a country among a different set of peers on the continuum of development. Each, however, tends to document the existence of a global North–South division.
A few single indicators can be revealing about general summaries of national economic circumstances. They include gross national product per capita, purchasing power parities, per capita energy consumption, percentage of the work force engaged in agriculture, and caloric intake per capita. In general, there is a high but not perfect correlation among them.
The spatial patterns revealed by the indicators emphasize the core position of northwestern Europe and its earlier mid-latitude colonial outliers: Anglo America, Australia, and New Zealand. In a middle position are many of the countries of Latin America and southern and eastern Europe. The least developed areas include large sections of Africa and Asia. Japan and newly industrializing countries of Asia (the so-called “tigers”) and Latin America (led by Brazil) are becoming part of the established developed world.
Rostow's stages of growth model predicts a regular sequence of development through which all national economies should pass. The inevitability of such a progression has been disproved by events. Many less developed countries remain trapped in one of the model’s early stages, unable to progress to a condition of self-sustaining growth and prosperity. “Big push,” dependency theory, and other explanatory concepts have been devised to address stage of growth contradictions.
Noneconomic measures of well-being have also been advocated. In general, the relationship between economic and social indicators is direct and proportional: economic growth yields improvement in quality-of-life circumstances as measured by education, the provision of public services (water and sanitation), and conditions of health.
Composite rather than single measures of economic and social condition have been proposed. Some purport to be able to measure not only current comparative rankings of countries but also changes over time in their relative status.
National indicators of development commonly fail to measure distinctions in sex relationships and gender role assignments among different societies. Spatial variation in the status of women is largely a cultural variable only partially affected by national technological and economic levels.
Discussion Questions (1-7, typed responses please – Due on Tuesday, April 2nd.) (pp. 308-312)
How does the core-periphery model help us understand observed contrasts between developed and developing countries?
In what way is circular and cumulative causation linked either to the perpetuation or the reduction of those contrasts discussed above?
How does the concept of trickle-down effects, or spread effects, explain the equalization of development and incomes on a regional or international scale?
Describe the reasons that have been given to explain why some countries are developed and others are underdeveloped? (Latitudinal Explanation, Resource availability, Overpopulation, Colonial Past, Core-Periphery)
Describe the following different ways and measures we have to indicate degrees of development of particular countries or regions. What does it measure, and how does it reflect development?
Which do you believe is a better measure of development? Why?
What is PPP? How and why is it employed
Based on GDP and GNI what are the significant trends in development?
GDP and GNI percapita
Energy consumption per Capita
Percent of workforce engaged in agriculture
Why should any country concern itself with technology transfer or with the technology gap? What do these concepts have to do with either development or societal well-being?
Why is energy consumption per capita considered a reliable measure of level of national economic development?
If a country has a large per capita production of energy, can we assume that it also has a high level of development? Why or Why not?
Have both males and females shared equally in the benefits of economic development in its early stages?
What are the principal contrasts in the status of women between the developed and developing worlds?
What regional contrasts within the developing world are evident in the economic roles assigned to women?
What kinds of material and non-material economic and noneconomic contrasts can you cite that differentiate more developed from less developed societies?
Critical Thinking Questions
1. Do developed countries have a responsibility to help underdeveloped countries? What are the pros and cons?
2. What measures of development can you think of that were not mentioned in the text? In other words, how else might we gauge a country's level of development?
3. How should the international community deal with governments that squander international aid money without helping its citizens?
4. What region of the world should your government officials be most dedicated to helping? Why?
5. How might racism or cultural biases affect international aid?