Baylor College Medical School

157 3. The Challenges of Development

157 3. After World War II, a central goal in Africa, Asia, and Latin America was development, or creating a more advanced economy and higher living standards. Nations that are working toward this are referred to as the developing world. They are also called the global South, because most of these nations are south of the Tropic of Cancer. Most industrialized nations are north of the Tropic of Caner, so they are sometimes called the global North. Nations of the global South have tried to develop economically by improving their agriculture and industry. They have also built schools to increase literacy.

TO PAY FOR DEVELOPMENT, MANY COUNTRIES IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH PROCURED LARGE LOANS FROM INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS. For centuries, most people in the global South had lived and worked in traditional economies.

After gaining independence from European colonists, some of these countries experimented with government-led command economies. However, when these countries had trouble paying off their loans, lenders from the global North required many of them to change to market economies. Now many developing nations depend on the global North for investment and exports.

Beginning in the 1950s, improved seeds, pesticides, and mechanical equipment led to a Green Revolution in many parts of the developing world. This increased agricultural production, feeding many people. It also benefited large landowners at the expense of small farmers. These farmers sold their land and moved to cities.

The global South still faces many challenges. Some developing nations produce only one export product. If prices for that product drop, their economies suffer. Also, the population in many of these countries has grown rapidly. Many people are caught in a cycle of poverty. When families are forced to move to cities, they often find only low-paying jobs. As a result, many children must work to help support their families. With so many moving to cities, many people are forced to live in crowded and dangerous shantytowns.

Economic development has brought great changes to the developing world. In many countries, women have greater equality. However, some religious fundamentalists oppose these changes and have called for a return to the basic values of their faiths.


3. What is development?

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The idea of development in this context is to advance a beginning economy through different economic stimulants.