THE DEVELOPING WORLD
Read the text below. Match the headings i-viii to the paragraphs A-E in the boxes 1-5 below.
A. THE DEVELOPING WORLD – the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia. Africa. Oceania and Latin America – is considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birth rates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries. Until recently, the developing world was known as ‘the third world’. The French demographer Alfred Sauvy coined the expression (in French) in 1952 by analogy with the ‘third estate’ – the commoners of France before and during the French Revolution – as opposed to priests and nobles, comprising the First and second estates respectively. ‘Like the third estate’, wrote Sauvy, ‘the third world is nothing, and it wants to be something’. The term, therefore, implies that the third world is exploited, much as the third estate was exploited and that, like the third estate, its destiny is a revolutionary one. It conveys as well a second idea, also discussed by Sauvy – that of nonalignment, for the developing world belongs neither to the industrialised capitalist world nor to the industrialised former communist bloc. The expression ‘third world’ was used at the 1955 conference of Afro-Asian countries held in Bandung. Indonesia. In 1956 a group of social scientists associated with Sauvy’s National Institute of Demographic Studies, in Paris, published a book called ‘Le Tiers-Monde’. Three years later, the French economist Francois Perroux launched a new journal, on problems of underdevelopment, with the same title. By the end of the 1950s, the term was frequently employed in the French media to refer to the underdeveloped countries of Asia. Africa, Oceania and Latin America. Present-day politicians and social commentators, however, now use the term ‘developing world’ in a politically correct effort to dispel the negative connotations of ‘third world’.
B. Countries in the developing world have a number of common traits: distorted and highly dependent economies devoted to producing primary products for the developed world; traditional, rural social structures; high population growth and widespread poverty. Nevertheless, the developing world is sharply differentiated, for it includes countries on various levels of economic development. And despite the poverty of the countryside and the urban shanty towns, the ruling elites of most third world countries are wealthy.
C. This combination of conditions in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America is linked to the absorption of the developing world into the international capitalist economy, by way of conquest or indirect domination. The main economic consequence of Western domination was the creation, for the first time in history, of a world market. By setting up sub-economies linked to the West throughout the developing world, and by introducing other modern institutions, industrial capitalism disrupted traditional economies and, indeed, societies. This disruption led to underdevelopment.
D. Because the economies of underdeveloped countries have been geared to the needs of industrialised countries, they often comprise only a few modem economic activities, such as mining or the cultivation of plantation crops. Control over these activities has often remained in the hands of large foreign firms. The prices of developing world products are usually determined by large buyers in the economically dominant countries of the West, and trade with the West provides almost all the developing world’s income. Throughout the colonial period, outright exploitation severely limited the accumulation of capital within the foreign-dominated countries. Even after decolonisation (in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s), the economies of the developing world grew slowly, or not at all, owing largely to the deterioration of the ‘terms of trade’ – the relationship between the cost of the goods a nation must import from abroad and its income from the exports it sends to foreign countries. Terms of trade are said to deteriorate when the cost of imports rises faster than income from exports. Since buyers in the industrialised countries determined the prices of most products involved in international trade, the worsening position of the developing world was scarcely surprising. Only the oil-producing countries – after 1973 – succeeded in escaping the effects of Western domination of the world economy.
E. No study of the developing world could hope to assess its future prospects without taking into account population growth. While the mortality rate from poverty-related diseases continues to cause international concern, the birth rate continues to rise at unprecedented levels. This population explosion in the developing world will surely prevent any substantial improvements in living standards, as well as threaten people in stagnant economies with worsening poverty and starvation levels.
List of Headings
i. The great divide between rich and poor.
ii. The status and destiny of the developing’ world follows a European precedent.
iii. Economic progress in the developing world slowed down In political unrest.
iv. More people, less food.
v. Western countries refuse to acknowledge their history of colonisation.
vi. Open trade is the main reason these countries become impoverished.
vii. Rivalry in the developing world between capitalist and former communist bloc countries.
vii. Prices and conditions set by outsiders