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Third-world Debt

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In 1957, Ghana, a promising and growing African country, had a higher gross national product than the East Asian country of South Korea. Presently, however, South Korea is an industrial powerhouse- one of the 'four dragons' of Southeast Asia, while Ghana's development is on a landslide- its gross national product is lower than it was at independence. This sort of economic development discrepancy between Asia and Africa is unfortunately a common theme, even though the two continents became independent at roughly the same time. Asia continues to gain steam and grow economically, while Africa remains stagnant, continually battling severe poverty and atrocious living conditions. The horrendous economy in Africa is mainly due to impractical and illogical economic policies, government ideologies and corruption, and the legacy of colonialism. Conversely, East Asia, although suffering from similar problems, has managed to develop various strategies that have been enormously successful in improving their economic state. Debt control and regulation is essential in encouraging economic confidence and growth. With high debt, the government and individuals devote their funds to merely paying interest expenses, compromising growth. This is the case in Africa, where dictatorial governments have been ignorant to debt maintenance, resulting in a rapid escalation in debt levels. ...read more.


These problems were further complicated with the continuing issue of government corruption and a lack of discipline. Dictators and tyrants often ran African countries, and these individuals were most concerned with improving their own bank accounts, as opposed to improving the lives of their impoverished peoples. Tyrants such as Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda ran their countries' economies into the ground. Combining the socialist ideology with corrupt leaders proved to be deadly and paralyzing to African development. Conversely, Asian governments had a completely different outlook towards their countries and economies. Most countries were run using the ideology of state-centered capitalism. This system provided that the government could intervene in the economy, but in a positive way, supporting large corporations, and negotiating and settling economic disputes. East Asia was also able to open up trading relations with economic powerhouses like the United States because of similar capitalistic beliefs, and the joint effort to thwart communism from the Asian regions. This was instrumental to improving life in Asia. However, like Africa, East Asia does have government corruption. In Thailand, politicians and military officials are often involved in the black market and illegal activities. ...read more.


Upon gaining independence in the post-colonial era, Africa and Asia have taken completely alternate routes in development. Asia successfully controlled its debt and diversified its economy; Africa's debt continually grows and national economies are dependent on one specific good or service. Asia is predominately capitalist and has used government corruption to actually improve the economy; Africa is governed by tyrants and dictators in a socialist system, and corruption has increased income inequality and poverty. Lastly, colonialism in Asia did not eradicate ancient traditions like Confucianism; in Africa, European colonialism set out and successfully destroyed African culture, replacing it with the values and beliefs of European countries. Because of the distinct differences between these two continents in terms of development, Asia has grown into a viable and powerful economic area, whereas Africa continues to fall into despair. If there is any hope of improving life in Africa, a complete reworking of the governing structure must begin. It is impossible for an economy to run successfully when the authorities remain completely oblivious and ignorant to the needs of the people. The African people do not deserve the endless suffering and pain that they have endured, they have the right to be living in a comfortable and developing environment. ...read more.

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