North–South divide

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World map showing a traditional definition of the North-South divide North South divide.svg
World map showing a traditional definition of the North-South divide
World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2017 data, published in 2018). 2018 UN Human Development Report.svg
World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2017 data, published in 2018).
Countries described as high-income by the World Bank High-income economies 2019.png
  Countries described as high-income by the World Bank
World map showing countries above and below the world GDP (PPP) per capita in 2010, which was US$10,700. Source: IMF (International Monetary Fund).
Blue above world GDP (PPP) per capita
Orange below world GDP (PPP) per capita Average GDP PPP per capita 2010.svg
World map showing countries above and below the world GDP (PPP) per capita in 2010, which was US$10,700. Source: IMF (International Monetary Fund).
Blue above world GDP (PPP) per capita
Orange below world GDP (PPP) per capita

The North–South divide is a socio-economic and political division of Earth popularized in the late 20th century and early 21st century. Generally, definitions of the Global North include the United States, Canada, almost all the European countries, Israel, Cyprus, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The Global South is made up of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and the developing countries in Asia, including the Middle East. It is home to the BRIC countries (excluding Russia): Brazil, India and China, which, along with Indonesia and Mexico, are the largest Southern states in terms of land area and population.

Contents

The North is mostly correlated with the Western world and the First World, plus much of the Second World, while the South largely corresponds with the Third World and Eastern world. The two groups are often defined in terms of their differing levels of wealth, economic development, income inequality, democracy, and political and economic freedom, as defined by freedom indices. Nations in the North tend to be wealthier, less unequal and considered more democratic and to be developed countries who export technologically advanced manufactured products; Southern states are generally poorer developing countries with younger, more fragile democracies heavily dependent on primary sector exports and frequently share a history of past colonialism by Northern states. [1] [1] Nevertheless, the divide between the North and the South is often challenged and said to be increasingly incompatible with reality. [2]

In economic terms, as of the early 21st century, the North—with one quarter of the world population—controls four-fifths of the income earned anywhere in the world. 90% of the manufacturing industries are owned by and located in the North. [1] Inversely, the South—with three quarters of the world population—has access to one-fifth of the world income. As nations become economically developed, they may become part of definitions the "North", regardless of geographical location; similarly, any nations that do not qualify for "developed" status are in effect deemed to be part of the "South". [3]

History

The idea of categorizing countries by their economic and developmental status began during the Cold War with the classifications of East and West. The Soviet Union and China represented the East, and the United States and their allies represented the West. The term 'Third World' came into parlance in the second half of the twentieth century. It originated in a 1952 article by Alfred Sauvy entitled "Trois Mondes, Une Planète." [4] Early definitions of the Third World emphasized its exclusion from the East-West conflict of the Cold War as well as the ex-colonial status and poverty of the nations it comprised. [4] Efforts to mobilize the Third World as an autonomous political entity were undertaken. The 1955 Bandung Conference was an early meeting of Third World states in which an alternative to alignment with either the Eastern or Western Blocs was promoted. [4] Following this, the first Non-Aligned Summit was organized in 1961. Contemporaneously, a mode of economic criticism which separated the world economy into "core" and "periphery" was developed and given expression in a project for political reform which "moved the terms 'North' and 'South' into the international political lexicon." [5] In 1973, the pursuit of a New International Economic Order which was to be negotiated between the North and South was initiated at the Non-Aligned Summit held in Algiers. [6] Also in 1973, the oil embargo initiated by Arab OPEC countries as a result of the Yom Kippur War caused an increase in world oil prices, with prices continuing to rise throughout the decade. [7] This contributed to a worldwide recession which resulted in industrialized nations increasing economically protectionist policies and contributing less aid to the less developed countries of the South. [7] The slack was taken up by Western banks, which provided substantial loans to Third World countries. [8] However, many of these countries were not able to pay back their debt, which led the IMF to EXtended further loans to them on the condition that they undertake certain liberalizing reforms. [8] This policy, which came to be known as structural adjustment, and was institutionalized by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and Western governments, represented a break from the Keynesian approach to foreign aid which had been the norm from the end of the Second World War. [8] After 1987, reports on the negative social impacts that structural adjustment policies had had on affected developing nations led IFIs to supplement structural adjustment policies with targeted anti-poverty projects. [9] Following the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union, some Second World countries joined the First World, and others joined the Third World. A new and simpler classification was needed. Use of the terms "North" and "South" became more widespread.

Defining development

Being categorized as part of the "North" implies development as opposed to belonging to the "South", which implies a lack thereof. According to N. Oluwafemi Mimiko, the South lacks the right technology, it is politically unstable, its economies are divided, and its foreign exchange earnings depend on primary product exports to the North, along with the fluctuation of prices. The low level of control it exercises over imports and exports condemns the South to conform to the 'imperialist' system. The South's lack of development and the high level of development of the North deepen the inequality between them and leave the South a source of raw material for the developed countries. [10] The north becomes synonymous with economic development and industrialization while the South represents the previously colonized countries which are in need of help in the form of international aid agendas. [11] In order to understand how this divide occurs, a definition of "development" itself is needed. Northern countries are using most of the earth resources and most of them are high entropic fossil fuels. Reducing emission rates of toxic substances is central to debate on sustainable development but this can negatively affect economic growth.

The Dictionary of Human Geography defines development as "[p]rocesses of social change or [a change] to class and state projects to transform national economies". [12] This definition entails an understanding of economic development which is imperative when trying to understand the north–south divide.

Economic Development is a measure of progress in a specific economy. It refers to advancements in technology, a transition from an economy based largely on agriculture to one based on industry and an improvement in living standards. [13]

Other factors that are included in the conceptualization of what a developed country is include life expectancy and the levels of education, poverty and employment in that country.

Furthermore, in Regionalism Across the North-South Divide: State Strategies and Globalization, Jean Grugel states that the three factors that direct the economic development of states within the Global south is "élite behaviour within and between nation states, integration and cooperation within 'geographic' areas, and the resulting position of states and regions within the global world market and related political economic hierarchy." [14]

Brandt Line

The Brandt line, a definition from the 1980s dividing the world into the wealthy north and the poor south. The Brandt Line.png
The Brandt line, a definition from the 1980s dividing the world into the wealthy north and the poor south.
Countries' average latitude and GDP per capita according to The World Factbook (2013). The Brandt Line is shown in bold. Brandt line 2013.png
Countries' average latitude and GDP per capita according to The World Factbook (2013). The Brandt Line is shown in bold.

The Brandt Line is a visual depiction of the north–south divide, proposed by West German former Chancellor Willy Brandt in the 1980s. It encircles the world at a latitude of approximately 30° North, passing between North and Central America, north of Africa and the Middle East, climbing north over China and Mongolia, but dipping south so as to include Australia and New Zealand in the "Rich North".

Digital and technological divide

Map showing internet usage by country InternetPenetrationWorldMap.svg
Map showing internet usage by country

The global digital divide is often characterised as corresponding to the north–south divide; however, Internet use, and especially broadband access, is now soaring in Asia compared with other continents. This phenomenon is partially explained by the ability of many countries in Asia to leapfrog older Internet technology and infrastructure, coupled with booming economies which allow vastly more people to get online.[ citation needed ]

Theories explaining the divide

The development disparity between the North and the South has sometimes been explained in historical terms. Dependency theory looks back on the patterns of colonial relations which persisted between the North and South and emphasizes how colonized territories tended to be impoverished by those relations. [8] Theorists of this school maintain that the economies of ex-colonial states remain oriented towards serving external rather than internal demand, and that development regimes undertaken in this context have tended to reproduce in underdeveloped countries the pronounced class hierarchies found in industrialized countries while maintaining higher levels of poverty. [8] Dependency theory is closely intertwined with Latin American Structuralism, the only school of development economics emerging from the Global South to be affiliated with a national research institute and to receive support from national banks and finance ministries. [15] The Structuralists defined dependency as the inability of a nation's economy to complete the cycle of capital accumulation without reliance on an outside economy. [16] More specifically, peripheral nations were perceived as primary resource exporters reliant on core economies for manufactured goods. [17] This led the Structuralists to advocate for import-substitution industrialization policies which aimed to replace manufactured imports with domestically made products. [15]

Uneven immigration patterns lead to inequality: in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries immigration was very common into areas previously less populated (North America, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Australia, New Zealand) from already technologically advanced areas (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal). This facilitated an uneven diffusion of technological practices since only areas with high immigration levels benefited. Immigration patterns in the twenty-first century continue to feed this uneven distribution of technological innovation. People are eager to leave countries in the South to improve the quality of their lives by sharing in the perceived prosperity of the North. "South and Central Americans want to live and work in North America. Africans and Southwest Asians want to live and work in Europe. Southeast Asians want to live and work in North America and Europe". [18]

New Economic Geography explains development disparities in terms of the physical organization of industry, arguing that firms tend to cluster in order benefit from economies of scale and increase productivity which leads ultimately to an increase in wages. [19] The North has more firm clustering than the South, making its industries more competitive. It is argued that only when wages in the North reach a certain height, will it become more profitable for firms to operate in the South, allowing clustering to begin.

Challenges

Countries by total wealth (trillions USD), Credit Suisse Countries by total wealth (trillions USD), Credit Suisse.png
Countries by total wealth (trillions USD), Credit Suisse

The accuracy of the North–South divide has been challenged on a number of grounds. Firstly, differences in the political, economic and demographic make-up of countries tend to complicate the idea of a monolithic South. [4] Globalization has also challenged the notion of two distinct economic spheres. Following the liberalization of post-Mao China initiated in 1978, growing regional cooperation between the national economies of Asia has led to the growing decentralization of the North as the main economic power. [20] The economic status of the South has also been fractured. As of 2015, all but roughly the bottom 60 nations of the Global South were thought to be gaining on the North in terms of income, diversification, and participation in the world market. [19] Globalization has largely displaced the North–South divide as the theoretical underpinning of the development efforts of international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, and various United Nations affiliated agencies, though these groups differ in their perceptions of the relationship between globalization and inequality. [9] Yet some remain critical of the accuracy of globalization as a model of the world economy, emphasizing the enduring centrality of nation-states in world politics and the prominence of regional trade relations. [17]

Future development

Some economists have argued that international free trade and unhindered capital flows across countries could lead to a contraction in the North–South divide. In this case more equal trade and flow of capital would allow the possibility for developing countries to further develop economically. [18]

As some countries in the South experience rapid development, there is evidence that those states are developing high levels of South–South aid. [21] Brazil, in particular, has been noted for its high levels of aid ($1 billion annually—ahead of many traditional donors) and the ability to use its own experiences to provide high levels of expertise and knowledge transfer. [21] This has been described as a "global model in waiting". [22]

The United Nations has also established its role in diminishing the divide between North and South through the Millennium Development Goals, all of which were to be achieved by 2015. These goals seek to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve global universal education and healthcare, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development. [23]

See also

Heads of State at the 1981 North-South Summit in Mexico. Heads of State Cancun Summit 1981.jpg
Heads of State at the 1981 North–South Summit in Mexico.

International North–South divide

National North–South divides

Other

Related Research Articles

Third World category of countries on socio economic base

The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Communist Bloc. The United States, Canada, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Western European nations and their allies represented the First World, while the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and their allies represented the Second World. This terminology provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on political and economic divisions. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term Third World has been used less and less. It is being replaced with terms such as developing countries, least developed countries or the Global South. The concept itself has become outdated as it no longer represents the current political or economic state of the world.

Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. As a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, globalization is considered by some as a form of capitalist expansion which entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market economy. Globalization has grown due to advances in transportation and communication technology. With the increased global interactions comes the growth of international trade, ideas, and culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of interaction and integration that's associated with social and cultural aspects. However, conflicts and diplomacy are also large parts of the history of globalization, and modern globalization.

South One of the four cardinal directions

South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of North and is perpendicular to the East and West.

Developing country Nation with a low living standard relative to more developed countries

A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agreement on which countries fit this category. A nation's GDP per capita compared with other nations can also be a reference point. In general, the United Nations accepts any country's claim of itself being "developing".

International relations Relationships between two or more states

International relations (IR) or international affairs (IA)—commonly also referred to as international studies (IS), global studies (GS), or global affairs (GA)—is the study in interconnectedness of politics, economics and law on a global level. Depending on the academic institution, it is either a field of political science, an interdisciplinary academic field similar to global studies, or an entirely independent academic discipline in which students take a variety of internationally focused courses in social science and humanities disciplines. In all cases, the field studies relationships between political entities (polities) such as sovereign states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs), and the wider world-systems produced by this interaction. International relations is an academic and a public policy field, and so can be positive and normative, because it analyses and formulates the foreign policy of a given state.

In the economic study of the public sector, economic and social development is the process by which the economic well-being and quality of life of a nation, region, or local community are improved according to targeted goals and objectives.

First World conceptual country classification

The concept of First World originated during the Cold War and included countries that were generally aligned with NATO and opposed to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the definition has instead largely shifted to any country with little political risk and a well functioning democracy, rule of law, capitalist economy, economic stability, and high standard of living. Various ways in which modern First World countries are often determined include GDP, GNP, literacy rates, life expectancy, and the Human Development Index. In common usage, as per Merriam-Webster, "first world" now typically refers to "the highly developed industrialized nations often considered the westernized countries of the world".

Second World geopolitical classification

The Second World is a term used during the Cold War for the industrial socialist states that were under the influence of the Soviet Union. In the first two decades following World War II, 19 communist states emerged; all of these were at least originally within the Soviet sphere of influence, though some broke with Moscow and developed their own path of socialism while retaining Communist governments. But most communist states remained part of this bloc until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991; afterwards, only five Communist states remained: China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. Along with "First World" and "Third World", the term was used to divide the states of Earth into three broad categories.

Global South Neologism used by the World Bank to refer to developing countries

The Global South is an emerging term, used by the World Bank and other organizations, identifying countries with one side of the underlying global North–South divide, the other side being the countries of the Global North. As such the term does not inherently refer to a geographical south, for example most of the Global South is within the Northern Hemisphere.

Development economics is a branch of economics which deals with economic aspects of the development process in low income countries. Its focus is not only on methods of promoting economic development, economic growth and structural change but also on improving the potential for the mass of the population, for example, through health, education and workplace conditions, whether through public or private channels.

International development Concept concerning the level of development on an international scale

International development or global development is a broad concept denoting the idea that societies and countries have differing levels of "development" on an international scale. It is the basis for international classifications such as developed country, developing country and least developed country, and for a field of practice and research that in various ways engages with international development processes. There are, however, many schools of thought and conventions regarding which are the exact features constituting the "development" of a country.

Dependency theory is the notion that resources flow from a "periphery" of poor and underdeveloped states to a "core" of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former. It is a central contention of dependency theory that poor states are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the "world system". This theory was officially developed in the late 1960s following World War II, as scholars searched for the root issue in the lack of development in Latin America

Underdevelopment condition when resources are not used to their full socio-economic potential

Underdevelopment, relating to international development, reflects a broad condition or phenomena defined and critiqued by theorists in fields such as economics, development studies, and postcolonial studies. Used primarily to distinguish states along benchmarks concerning human development—such as macro-economic growth, health, education, and standards of living—an "underdeveloped" state is framed as the antithesis of a "developed", modern, or industrialized state. Popularized, dominant images of underdeveloped states include those that have less stable economies, less democratic political regimes, greater poverty, malnutrition, and poorer public health and education systems.

Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. Modernization refers to a model of a progressive transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. Modernization theory originated from the ideas of German sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920), which provided the basis for the modernization paradigm developed by Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902–1979). The theory looks at the internal factors of a country while assuming that with assistance, "traditional" countries can be brought to development in the same manner more developed countries have been. Modernization theory was a dominant paradigm in the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, then went into a deep eclipse. It made a comeback after 1991 but remains a controversial model.

Development geography Gauteng

Development geography is a branch of geography which refers to the standard of living and its quality of life of its human inhabitants. In this context, development is a process of change that affects people's lives. It may involve an improvement in the quality of life as perceived by the people undergoing change. However, development is not always a positive process. Gunder Frank commented on the global economic forces that lead to the development of underdevelopment. This is covered in his dependency theory.

The New International Economic Order (NIEO) represents an alternative worldview of the global political economy to emerge during the 1970s. More specifically, this worldview included a reconsideration of existing relationships, structures, and processes that were dominant in the global political economy of that time, and advocated for the universal integration of classical liberalism in the global economy.

Development theory

Development theory is a collection of theories about how desirable change in society is best achieved. Such theories draw on a variety of social science disciplines and approaches. In this article, multiple theories are discussed, as are recent developments with regard to these theories. Depending on which theory that is being looked at, there are different explanations to the process of development and their inequalities

Brandt Report

The Brandt Report is the report written by the Independent Commission, first chaired by Willy Brandt in 1980, to review international development issues. The result of this report provided an understanding of drastic differences in the economic development for both the North and South hemispheres of the world.

New international division of labour

In economics, the new international division of labour (NIDL) is an outcome of globalization. The term was coined by theorists seeking to explain the spatial shift of manufacturing industries from advanced capitalist countries to developing countries—an ongoing geographic reorganisation of production, which finds its origins in ideas about a global division of labor. It is a spatial division of labor which occurs when the process of production is no longer confined to national economies. Under the "old" international division of labor, until around 1970, underdeveloped areas were incorporated into the world economy principally as suppliers of minerals and agricultural commodities. However, as developing economies are merged into the world economy, more production takes place in these economies.

The anthropology of development is a term applied to a body of anthropological work which views development from a critical perspective. The kind of issues addressed, and implications for the approach typically adopted can be gleaned from a list questions posed by Gow (1996). These questions involve anthropologists asking why, if a key development goal is to alleviate poverty, is poverty increasing? Why is there such a gap between plans and outcomes? Why are those working in development so willing to disregard history and the lessons it might offer? Why is development so externally driven rather than having an internal basis? In short why does so much planned development fail?

References

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