Ever wondered why the developed countries always seem to be saturated with everything while the underdeveloped ones
remain impoverished and with malnutrition? It’s because they represent two extremes of a condition. If you want the
middle path – developing countries can be the best option! They provide you with the best of both worlds.
So what are developing countries?
Developing countries are predominantly those that have a below average living standard, an underdeveloped industrial
segment, poor per capita income as well as rampant poverty (although it’s not as extreme as the underdeveloped countries)
(Wikipedia 2007 [online]). So, with so many aspects that are still undeveloped,
don’t you think there’s bound to be a negative perception surrounding the term?
To make the term developing countries sound a little less negative, modern geographers have defined new terms to describe
the same thing – just that these sound way better! New terms such as less developed country (LDC) or less economically
developed country (LEDC) etc. are still nascent (Wikipedia 2007 [online]). In fact the term developing countries is quite
misleading. It’s because if you look at statistics and the general progress of some of these developing countries, you’ll
find that many of them haven’t experienced any real economic development – for a really long time! So, they aren’t
really developing countries – instead, they have stagnated in economic development for quite some time.
How do you measure it?
If some countries are called developing countries and others developed, you might wonder what sets one apart from the
other! To make it easier to differentiate, specific factors are evaluated between nations. Things such as per capita income,
literacy rate, life expectancy etc. (Wikipedia 2007 [online]) are all used for measurement. The combined result of these factors
is called HDI or Human Development Index (Wikipedia, 2007 [online]). Most of the developing countries are mainly located in
the lesser industrialized countries. Even their population has a lower standard of living in general.
How do developing countries benefit from underdeveloped countries?
WTO is the organization which confers the status of developing countries. If a country has previously been underdeveloped
as per definition and now gets a developing status, it implies a benefit of certain rights (WTO 2007 [online]). The developing
countries get more technical assistance and help from the developed countries and also get access to certain preferences,
as laid down in sections of the WTO agreements.
A hub of activity
If recent activities in US trading are noted, you’ll find that the developing countries are currently accounting
for the largest share of US exports as well as imports (Open CRS 2007 [online]). You can look at it from either way –
the half full or half empty glass perspective. If you look at the upside, more imports from developing countries means that
US citizens have more choices at lesser costs (Open CRS 2007 [online]). This will also eventually mean that the US
standard of living will rise. On the flipside, with so much competition from developing countries, the country will be forced
to reduce its own costs, outsourcing their manufacturing or even shutting down factories (Open CRS 2007 [online]).
Wikipedia (2007). Developing country. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Developing_countries. Last accessed 24 October 2007.
Wikipedia (2007). Human Development Index. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Human_Development_Index. Last accessed 24 October 2007.
World Trade Organization (2007). Who are the developing countries in the WTO? Available from http://www.wto.org/english/ tratop_e/devel_e/d1who_e.htm. Last accessed 24 October 2007.
Open CRS (2007). U.S. Trade with
Developing Countries: Trends, Prospects, and Policy Implications. Available from http://opencrs.cdt.org/ document/RL33945. Last accessed 28 March 2007.