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There are many terms used in respect to World Development, common terms include “Less Developed Countries”, “Third World” and “Developed Countries”. There is also the more recent and politically correct MEDC’s and LEDC’s, both being introduced as a sign of the growing awareness that poverty is not just about economic status. At one time it was strongly thought that a countries development was purely based on its wealth. This led to the North/South divide where the northern hemisphere was predominantly developed and the southern hemisphere mostly underdeveloped.
This relationship can clearly be seen in the diagram below, the main exception to the rule being Australia and New Zealand. World GNP 1997 It was however suggested that these underdeveloped countries would follow a route of economic growth as illustrated by Rostow’s 1960 model. The model was based on a study of 15 mainly European countries, the main prospective being on industrialisation and economic position. The model proposes that a country can break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment by following a succession of linear stages, five to be exact.
Rostow’s Model of Economic Growth Stage 1 – Traditional Society This stage of the model is dominated by subsistence economics where little if any productivity is consumed by those who produced it rather than being sold. Agriculture being the primary industry at this stage is produced with little capital and on a labour intensive basis. Stage 2 – Preconditions for Take-Off Also known as the transitional stage this is where people desire a higher standard of life and so change their aims and goals to increase production and begin to trade.
This process can also be triggered by external sources where forces help to aid the transition. * Stage 3 – Take-Off Industrialisation dramatically increases with the population’s attention shifting from farming and agriculture to manufacturing. This effect is normally concentrated and leads to an improvement in infrastructure and the initiation of rural to urban migration. * Stage 4 – Drive to Maturity The economic growth spurred in stage 3 starts to spread across the country, there is also a multiplier effect where the amount and diversity of industry increases.
The emphasis is now on technological advancement as rural populations and agriculture are further put in decline. * Stage 5 – High Mass Consumption Personal incomes grow and so the demand for tertiary industry intensifies. There will therefore be an increase in tertiary employment as manufacturing now begins to decline. Basic amenities are now common place and the country should have a stable infrastructure, political situation and a high GNP.
Rostow’s model would require substantial investment in capital, unless there is external intervention it would be very difficult for a country to leave stage 1. Barke and O’Hare who themselves made a development model were the first to publicly reject the ‘Rostow’ model, in 1984 they argued that the model was too ‘Eurocentric’ expecting all countries to follow the west (America and Britain etc. ). They agreed that yes a country can and some already had passed through the 5 stages, but it is unlikely for a country to take off without structural and social change.
Other criticisms of Rostow’s model include the model assuming all countries start off from the same level, and that it does not take into consideration the debt a country can gather from aid to help it transcend from stage 1 to 2. Africa is a perfect example of this, where the country’s debts have prevented it from further developing. By the 1990’s people were for the first time trying to redefine the term development, after the failure of the ‘Three World Model’ which was seen as an inappropriate way of viewing global development, the world bank identified and took up the challenge.
They believed that development should not just be about economic growth but it should have a more multi-dimensional prospective, they believed that development was also the challenge to improve quality of life taking into account the following factors: – The right to a better education. – Individual/Political freedom. – More equality of opportunity. – Higher standards of health and nutrition. – Strong culture. This brought about three core values of development, sustenance, self-esteem and freedom to choose.
This new prospective also resulted in many quotes, one that sums up this new way of thinking is by ‘Moorish’ written in 1998: “Development is not simply concerned with wealth, but with many other aspects of life such as health, education, housing and employment. ” However, as much as people wanted countries to develop there was also great concern about the cost it was having on the environment to fuel this process, and so a new approach was introduced, a ‘greening’ of development.
This meant that although a countries natural resources would still be needed for it to develop, it should be done so in a sustainable way as to not compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs. This ‘greening’ of development initiated numerous schemes such as in the Amazon Rain Forest, where for every tree that was to be cut-down another would be replanted. It is this sustainable approach to development that is still being implemented today, with concerns about global warming and a lack of crude oil to name but a few.
Although Rostow explained the development of western countries well he failed to consider the different cultures and traditions each country has. As quoted by Mark Tully in 1993, “Development is more than mere economics”, he was right, it is about much more than that. Social, economic and political factors need to be taken into account for a true projection of how much a country really is developed, and so the new meaning of development is defined as, ‘the progressive improvements in the standards of living and quality of life for an increasing proportion of the population’.