Account for the uneven nature of world development (25)
Development is when a country is improving. When a country develops it basically gets better for the people living there, their quality of life improves e.g. their wealth, health and safety. The level of development is different in different countries e.g. France is more developed than Ethiopia. There are many reasons for this uneven nature of world development.
There are a number of environmental factors which can affect a country’s development. Firstly, climate, if a country has an extreme climate, either really hot (Ethiopia) or really cold, this prohibits the growth of crops and subsequently food production. Therefore the majority of the population in countries with extreme climates are malnourished, which affects health and the quality of life. Furthermore, these types of countries don’t have any crops to sell and consequently less money than a developed country exporting lots of goods. With less exports, the government gets less money from taxes and therefore has less to spend on developing the country e.g. by improving health care and education. The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India, which has a hot climate, 15th, amongst leading countries with a malnourished population, consequently India’s population has a low, impoverished quality of life and subsequently India is ranked 134/187 countries on the HDI index. HDI is a quantitative measure of development which encompasses life expectancy, literacy rate, education level and income per head, into assessment. Evidently, India is not a developed country in these areas, due to the restrictive climate. Because some countries have a perfect climate for crop production, their development can excel beyond those with a poor climate, hence the uneven nature of development. Similarly, countries with limited water cannot produce a lot of food nor expand water fuelled industries e.g. cotton farming, having the same consequences for development as an extreme climate. For example, the North of China is extremely dry, which is affecting the expansion of coal mining; since most of the reserves are in the arid North and remain untapped. Despite China already being a leading country in development, the lack of water supplies are limiting further development in the mining industry, which requires water. Contrarily, countries with plentiful water supplies e.g. USA, can easily become affluent through the production of cash crops e.g. cotton (it takes 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton), then use this money to further development. Consequently, the uneven distribution of water causes uneven development throughout the world. Countries which are prone to natural disasters also tend to be less developed due to disruptions. Natural disasters reduce the quality of life for people affected and they reduce the amount of money that the government has to spend on development projects because money is diverted into rebuilding infrastructure. Hurricane Mitch which hit Nicaragua and Honduras in October 1998 set development back in both countries affected. GDP grew by 4% in Nicaragua in 1998 which was less than estimated. Similarly in Honduras, GDP was estimated to grow 5% in 1998 but it only grew 3% due to the hurricane. GDP (gross domestic product) is also an indicator of development, it shows the total value of goods and services a country produces in a year and measures the wealth of a country. The Honduran President claimed the hurricane destroyed 50 years of progress. Also, exports of rice and corn went down in Nicaragua because the crops were damaged by the hurricane, meaning that farmers lost their livelihoods and the government could spend less money on development. Furthermore, the total damaged caused was estimated at $1.2 billion, so development was seriously hindered. Since some areas are more prone to natural disasters than others, certain countries’ development is slowed by these phenomena whereas others’ are not.