Chapter Summary with Learning Objectives

Chapter 9

Development involves four questions: Where do states start in the process? What are the human measures of development? What are development’s environmental consequences? What are the values development serves, and what constitutes global social justice? The identity perspective focuses on the separate and common values of a globalizing world.

Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Subsaharan Africa have developed in different ways and differ in terms of domestic and regional stability, macro- and microeconomic policies, trade strategies, and domestic and regional values. Asia has been the most successful developing region since World War II, experiencing a so-called East Asian Miracle between 1965 and 2010. As a region, Asia is unstable and has experienced numerous conflicts, but its states’ domestic politics are relatively stable. It has followed sound domestic economic policies and has pioneered export-led development. It is possible that ethnic homogeneity and Asian values also played a key role in development.

Latin America, although the next-best performing region after Asia, experienced a period of economic stagnation called the Lost Decade from 1973 to 1987. Latin America experienced earlier decolonization than other regions, but its domestic politics have been characterized by military rule and instability (although most states are now weak democracies). Latin American states pursued import-substitution policies, as well as government-controlled economic policies; however, external shocks in the 1970s led to economic underdevelopment. Beginning in the later 1970s, Latin American states moved towards opening markets, leading to more development; however, the region is still characterized by social inequality, perhaps associated with a tradition of paternalism.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the poorest developing region, compared to the others. It is politically and ethnically divided, and it experienced the full weight of European colonization. Since decolonization in the 1950s and 1960s, its states have been embroiled in internal and regional conflicts, and their political systems have been characterized by “strong man” and one-party rule. Political and economic reforms have made some impact, but states in Sub-Saharan Africa still deal with problems of human development – poverty, disease (including HIV/AIDS), poor sanitation and health, and gender inequality. The international community attempts to deal with these development problems through foreign aid.

The Middle East and North Africa is rich in resources, has a young and highly educated work force, and receives a large amount of foreign aid; however, it is poor in jobs, skilled manufacturing and service industries, trade, foreign investment, and technology. This disparity may be a result of the resource curse, or the distortion of the economy by reliance on a resource sector like oil. Successful development will likely depend on domestic political reforms and regional peace settlements, the opening of markets to trade and investment, and a more egalitarian and tolerant social order.

Development can both improve and stress the global environment. Population growth and stagnation, as well as demographic transitions, puts stress on land and resources. Such resources include fossil fuels, water, cropland, and lumber; furthermore, many resources are related to biodiversity, which can be threatened by population growth and resource use. Pollution – such as smog, acid rain, river and ocean pollution, and toxic and hazardous waste – threaten the environment. Perhaps the greatest international problems are the destruction of ozone layer and the onset of global warming, which the international community has tried to deal with through negotiations and agreements. Finally, pandemics threaten populations with the ability to potentially spread worldwide.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter students should be able to understand:

  • The basic nature of development.
  • How, in general, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa have developed.
  • What opportunities for and obstacles to development each region faced, and what policies they adopted to meet those opportunities or obstacles.
  • What the major dimensions of environmental issues are and how development affects them.