Here’s a question that needs to be addressed – why are some countries poor? Often our answers seem to fall into one of two camps. We either believe the rich countries exploit the poorer ones and it’s the fault of the west, or we believe the poor countries are corrupt and pretty much deserve what they get. So we end up thinking of the third world as either helpless victims or money-grabbing scroungers. Neither of these extremes does justice to the third world and the predicament it is in.
In our modern world, wealth depends on trade, in goods or services. Trade depends on infrastructure, and infrastructure in turn depends on investment. This is the essence of development. The more ‘developed’ a country is, the more money it is capable of making. So in talking about poor countries, we are talking about Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs – This is a better term than ‘the developing world’, as some poor countries may not actually be developing, but standing still or even shrinking.) In asking ourselves why some countries are poor, what we need to work out is why they are not developing. And there are several reasons, with geographical, political, and cultural factors all coming in to play. I was going to do one entry here, but that would be huge, so I’m going to let this serve as an introduction and you can click on each of these sections to find out more.