Development of nations

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Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 2nd, 2021, 12:53 pm 

Here is a question that has come up from time to time.
What is meant by a 'developed' country? In what aspects of civilization is 'development' defined? By what metrics is it measured? What is the standard to be met? On what scale?

If we have a clear understanding of development, we might have a basis for judgments of
what countries are 'developing' and 'underdeveloped'. Are there any 'undeveloped' countries left? Have any countries become 'overdeveloped'?

If we understood what 'development' entails, we'd have a solid basis for discussing what any particular nation requires in order to develop further.
Assuming that's a desirable goal.
And, if so, what direction such development can/should/will take.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Forest_Dump on January 2nd, 2021, 1:40 pm 

Sorry but I tend to operate under the impression that "developed" is pretty close to or synonymous with industrialized. Of course personally, while I may neither agree or disagree with such a definition, that does not affect my opinion as to whether part of all of the process of development or industrialization is a good or bad thing. Most often there is both.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby charon on January 2nd, 2021, 1:43 pm 

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Re: Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 2nd, 2021, 2:32 pm 

Charon, could you expand on that in your own terms?
Or at least paste the passages you consider most relevant?
I'm not at all convinced that the wiki or UN definition is what everyone means who uses the expression "underdeveloped countries". I suspect most people mean either "insufficiently unindustrial", just as Forest_Dump suggests, or technologically underendowed.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Forest_Dump on January 2nd, 2021, 5:03 pm 

While I live in a country that is usually considered to be developed and industrialized (Canada), I live in a part of it that might be considered somewhat less so (you could check out the YouTube movie "Third World Canada" to get some idea). While some do advocate for increased "development" not everyone does in parts because it draws into the global economy, which is certainly fragile and also would inevitably result in costs with debatable gains. Of course I have to admit I have a preference for traditional societies, small communities, etc, and definitely know there are costs that come with that and definitely would not want all the problems that come with increasing development, industrialization etc.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 2nd, 2021, 6:08 pm 

That's a very valid point of view. I tend to share it - with some reservations and caveats. But I don't think it's a widely held view in N. America. I don't know about Europe, which is obviously 'developed' and wonder about Asia, where the 20th century saw such enormous effort expended on industrializing and modernizing.

My suspicion is that most people who use the term "underdeveloped" have a vague picture in their minds, which may be a challenge to describe and explain. And I think it's important to be clear on what we think it means.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby charon on January 3rd, 2021, 1:11 am 

Serpent » January 2nd, 2021, 7:32 pm wrote:Charon, could you expand on that in your own terms?
Or at least paste the passages you consider most relevant?
I'm not at all convinced that the wiki or UN definition is what everyone means who uses the expression "underdeveloped countries". I suspect most people mean either "insufficiently unindustrial", just as Forest_Dump suggests, or technologically underendowed.


I don't know too much about it so I looked it up in a variety of places, as is my wont. Virtually every place I looked said the same. Which is:

Development can be measured by economic or human factors. Developing countries are, in general, countries that have not achieved a significant degree of industrialization relative to their populations, and have, in most cases, a medium to low standard of living.


So I don't really see what's wrong with that. Seems to sum it up. I mean, a more amateur view, I suppose, would be that such countries are poor, not very educated, have bad or ineffectual governments, are stuck in their poverty, not much hope, and so on. Also, of course, like any poverty trap, they also don't have the resources to better their lot even if they wanted to.

Probably there are other factors like the country not having enough natural resources to become industrial. You need to invest to build, etc, but if it's not there or not being used properly, then what?

And, like any place that's poor and without many prospects, there's going to be crime, war, conflict, and so on; it goes with the territory.

Apparently the US is the best developed and Mali is the worst. India is now regarded as developed.

I think it's fairly obvious what it means and I hope we're not going to get hung up on one of these definition things again. It's a flaw in this place, in my view, and wastes an awful lot of time. If you don't know what it means go and look it up, I say. There's really not that much confusion about what it means.

My suspicion is that most people who use the term "underdeveloped" have a vague picture in their minds, which may be a challenge to describe and explain.


They obviously have a 'vague picture in their minds' because they can't be bothered to investigate the subject properly. Or, more likely, they're simply not interested, which is fair enough. People have different interests.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 3rd, 2021, 1:55 am 

charon » January 3rd, 2021, 12:11 am wrote:[Development can be measured by economic or human factors. Developing countries are, in general, countries that have not achieved a significant degree of industrialization relative to their populations, and have, in most cases, a medium to low standard of living]

There are no metrics [significant degree?] or standards [low?] cited.

So I don't really see what's wrong with that. Seems to sum it up.

Yes, from a very particular POV. What's wrong with that is the unstated (and very probably unquestioned) assumption that standard of living is related to degree of industrialization. Is it?

... Also, of course, like any poverty trap, they also don't have the resources to better their lot even if they wanted to.

Why? What kind of resources does it take to better their lot? How did their lot become bad in the first place?

Probably there are other factors like the country not having enough natural resources to become industrial.

Living on top of natural resources doesn't make you rich. See South Africa and all its diamonds and gold. Who got rich? Not the natives!
You need to invest to build, etc, but if it's not there, then what?

Invest what? Build what? For whom? If it's not 'there', quite possibly the people who lived there were okay with not building. But it might be in a other countries - say England and the Netherlands - and they'll build something for somebody....
And, like any place that's poor and without many prospects, there's going to be crime, war, conflict, and so on; it goes with the territory.

Whereas, rich countries have no crime, war, conflict, etc?

Apparently the US is the best developed and Mali is the worst. India is now regarded as developed.

And yet the USA has the 14th highest rate of violent crime, while Mali is 54th. India makes it to #2, right below Brazil, which is rated as 'developing'. https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Violent-crime/Murder-rate Are you sure there is a direct correlation?

There's really not that much confusion about what it means.

I respectfully disagree.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby charon on January 3rd, 2021, 9:48 am 

Well, you might be confused but I'm not!

I'm sure the answers to your questions can be gained very simply by looking at the conditions and structure of some of those countries. Something which, I'm afraid, I'm not to get involved with. Takes too long and it's not my subject.

Why are you so intent on questioning the prevailing explanations and definitions of what an underdeveloped country is? Do you think they can all be that wrong?
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 3rd, 2021, 11:47 am 

I do think they may be wrong, yes.
More importantly, I think they may be perpetuating a popular misconception, which can (and I believe does) lead to support of misguided government policies. I think people use words carelessly, without reflection, and that any two people using the same word might have quite different notions, while assuming that the other person understood their version, which they consider obvious. I think that people repeat words they hear from officials and news broadcasters without questioning the meaning or intent of those words, and thus gradually distort public perception of political, economic and social reality.
I think this cavalier attitude to language eventually results in mass mis- and disinformation, revision of history, jingoism, voting for slogans rather than policies... Newspeak and the collapse of responsible citizenship.

In this instance, the word is significant. We're on the brink of a massive shift in human affairs. It would be nice if we had a clearer idea of the direction we ought to take.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Forest_Dump on January 3rd, 2021, 12:30 pm 

I certainly think there is a lot of ideological bias that goes into the idea of "development". Improved access to better water, medicine, more stable food supplies, more opportunities of some kinds may well be better, at least for some but there are always costs. Development usually includes increased exploitation of resources which certainly has an environmental impact. There is also typically differences in the distribution of resources and the proceeds which results in a more uneven distribution of wealth. There is typically a large impact on traditional cultures and lifestyles often with increased poverty but greater demands on time with wage labour. We certainly see lots of immigration and emigration which is not often good for the indigenous peoples even if it appears that there are increased opportunities for some. By their own metrics, places like the US or UK appear to many to be highly developed and therefore "good". However, for many others this is not true and at best the result of a long history of exploitation of other countries and peoples.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby charon on January 3rd, 2021, 12:31 pm 

I think that people repeat words they hear from officials and news broadcasters without questioning the meaning or intent of those words, and thus gradually distort public perception of political, economic and social reality.


Well, I've no doubt you're right. They heard Trump, they've heard the priests, they've heard advertising, they've heard... everything! And they've been affected by it because maybe that's all they've heard.

On the other hand, let's not go too potty about it. Some, maybe a great many, will doubtless swallow whatever is out there because they know no better. But there is such a thing as intelligence. We're not all dumb.

If we choose to swallow and repeat then you know how it goes. But if we choose to listen with a sharp eye and ear then we don't need to be fooled. We might be, but the chances are dramatically reduced. And we should so listen.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby BadgerJelly on January 3rd, 2021, 12:51 pm 

The same misconceptions in anthropology caused confusion for some time with the use of ‘primitive’ to define certain cultures. Due to dumbed down attitudes terms like these are often misrepresented to suit some biased view or political ideology.

I think it was Levi-Strauss who made efforts to distinguish between primitive and more developed cultural structures - that said the investigation into the ideas of pluralism and monism do counter this.

Terms like these are also prone to morph into different common usages simply because they carry a lot of political clout for soothsayers and propagandists.
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Re: Development of nations

Postby Serpent on January 3rd, 2021, 2:00 pm 

Right now, we are faced with the effects of climate change on a scale that will displace millions of people in the near future. It was largely caused by industrial activity - development.
At the same time, we should be facing the probability or at least possibility of economic collapse. Since the economies of all nations are at the mercy of the richest (most developed) few, that collapse will be global. Attempts by the most powerful to resuscitate the world order that grew in the wake of WWII will cause more damage to the less powerful.
It's vital for the smaller nations, which have not yet committed to industry, to consider their options and choose a direction that is appropriate to their own circumstances.
Consider the human and ecological cost of how China and Russia went about their accelerated development programs and maybe learn from their mistakes.
And it would be helpful for the developed, rich and powerful nations to consider what direction and by what methods they should be nudging, encouraging, assisting, pushing or coercing the weaker ones.
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