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Development and globalisation main concepts

Learn all about the important concepts related to Development and Globalisation and their social, cultural and political effects with our selected essays.

Changes associated with development

As countries develop they undergo significant change. The changes they experience will be economic, political, demographic, social and cultural. Countries develop at different rates and there are a range of reasons for this. The history of development of the UK shows a very different rate of progress than a country experiencing development now. Countries that are currently developing do not have to go through any ‘discovery’. External factors are more important than the ‘natural’ process of development. For example, Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) may be helped by, or learn from More Economically Developed Counties (MEDCs). This help may be in the form of charity or aid or it could be from MEDCs investing in LEDCs which will develop their infrastructure.

Changes in demographics mean differences that the population structure goes through. This is closely related to population and the Demographic Transition Model (DTM). As countries develop they tend to follow the pattern of the DTM. Death and birth rates fall, the rate of population growth slows and the age profile changes so that eventually there may be an ageing population. If a country receives medical help then its death rate may decrease very quickly. The birth rate may fall at a slower rate as attitudes to family size and education about family planning takes time.

In terms of political change, democracy is seen as ‘the way forward’ in terms of development and developing countries are often influenced by global politics. Foreign investment or trade agreements between countries may mean that there are contracts between governments affecting political systems. The role of politics in the process of development can be important for example where communism has been in place and slowed down progress. Political freedom is usually associated with increased economic development but not always. In China for example, there are low levels of political freedom but development is rapid and most Chinese citizens experience a better quality of life than other LEDC’s (China is an NIC – see below).

When development of a country is influenced by others it is inevitable that there will be changes in social and cultural traditions. People see how others live, mix with non-indigenous people and they are exposed in a variety of ways to how others in the world live their lives. The emancipation of women is one example that is seen as a key influence in the rate of development. However, in come cultures, development is taking place without women’s status in society increasing. The change in the status of women is important in the process of development. As women are entitled to an education, become more independent and have equal rights they enter into the job market as workers or as business leaders which increases a country’s workforce and productivity.

Arguably the most important aspect of a country being able to develop is economically. Exporting more than is imported (in terms of value) is the way to make a profit. Making a profit allows a country to invest in its infrastructure, building roads and other transport networks. In conjunction with political decisions, a country can educate its population and invest in the workforce of the future, helping to secure its economy.

Factors and dimensions of globalisation

Globalisation is essentially concerned with the increasing interconnection of countries across the world. This is increasing continuously and few would argue with the idea that the world is ‘getting smaller’. People, products, information and money move around the world with ever increasing ease. The biggest single influence is undoubtedly the Internet which has broken down almost every barrier to exchanging information and services.

Although globalisation has brought the world closer together, the role of the process in narrowing the development gap is fiercely debated. One side would claim that globalisation has enabled greater trade to occur between countries, benefitting those that have been held back previously. The other perspective is that the gap has widened as globalisation has allowed richer countries to take advantage of poorer ones. This exploitation may be in the form of resource extraction, operating industry in a way that would not be allowed in an MEDC (disregarding the environment in the interests of maximising profit for example).

Global patterns

The pattern of development across the globe is changing all the time but there are still some patterns of distribution of LEDCs and MEDCs. The location of richer and poorer countries is difficult to generalise and the previously used ‘North-South Divide’ idea is no longer really applicable. Geographers refer to the difference between rich and poor countries as ‘The Development Gap’. As countries may be well developed culturally but not economically, it is important to consider which measure of development is being used to look at distribution.

The North-South divide has been re-drawn more than once and the latest revision was completed in response to the division of the Soviet bloc countries as many of them fall into the developing category. The Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) are developed, and other countries classified and ‘Newly Industrialising Countries’ (NICs) will be developed in a matter of time.