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Rich world vs Poor world: Challenges to development

What is development?

  • Development is about improving people’s lives .
  • To ensure better quality of living.
  • Promoting human dignity and respect.
  • Positive change for betterment.
  • More equal society and justice for everyone.
  • Chance to earn a good living and ability to meet the basic needs of life in terms of access to food, water, sanitation, quality education, health services.
  • Development is about finding ways to live sustainably.

Village life in Ghana

Life of an average American teenager

Life in Nepal

Daily struggle in Bolivia

Generalized divisions of countries at different stages of socio-economic and political development 

  • More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs)- Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Norway etc (all of these countries have high Human Development Index score (more than 0.9).
  • Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs)- Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar etc.
  • Least developed countries (LDC) are poor countries, having very poor HDI ranking. They are the most merginalized countries in the world that are relatively unaffected by the global interactions. LDC were mostly the heavily indebted poor countries. 49 countries have been identified as LDCs in 2019 and majority of them (more than 30) are located in Africa.
  • Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs)- Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea (known as four Asian Tigers),  Thailand,  Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Malaysia, Argentina.


Comparison between MEDC and LEDC
Development Indicators MEDCLEDC
Birth RateLow
Less than 10 babies born per 1000
On an average 20-45 people born per 1000 people
Death RateLow due to good health careHigh due to poor health care and widespread diseases
Natural increase of populationLow (below 1%)
Many of the MEDCs have high elderly population causing shrinking population.
High 2-3.5% or more
High youthful population.
Infant MortalityThe number of babies who don't survive to the age of 1 (infant) per 1,000 live births.
Very low in MEDS.
A high proportion of children die before the age of 5 in LEDCs due to poor health care. WHO has estimated that around 14 children die per minute due to poor health care and lack of food in the world.
People per doctorA majority of people in MEDCs have access to a doctorFew people in LEDCs have access to a doctor unless they are wealthy
Life ExpectancyThe average age that a person is expected to live from birth.
Life expectancy is high in MEDCs due to good medical care and quality of life
Life expectancy is low in LEDCs due to poor medical care and quality of life
HousingHousing in MEDCs is adequate for the majority of people. Most people have access to clean water and electricityHousing in LEDCs is often inadequate with no access to clean running water or electricity
LiteracyThe percentage of adults who can read and write with understanding.

Literacy rates in MEDCs are high because a majority of children have access to a free education.
Literacy rates in LEDCs are low because people cannot afford to send their children to school and some areas may not even have schools due to a lack of teachers
GDP Gross Domestic Product (GDP)High
Is the total economic output of a country in a year. GDP per capita of the MEDC countries is more than 10000 dollars on an average.
GDP per capita of the LEDC countries are generally less than 10000 dollar. LDC country may have even less than 500 dollar GDP per capita.

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