Mobility of Developing Countries
The developing countries (or the Third World term used to distinguish these countries from both the capitalist and the communist countries) are .showing •.both upward and downward societal mobility ..Most of the nations in Africa, Asia,; and South America (Japan is an outstanding exception) are classified as "developing." ,This means that their industrial technology and economic organizations. Have not yet reached the level of industrialized countries such as Japan and . those in North America and Western Europe. Their per-capita income may be less than one tenth that in the industrialized countries (see Table 15-3). This difference is not quite as great as it sounds, since many people in these countries provide their own shelter, clothing, and food and it is hard to give a cash value to these- items. Recorded keeping 15 also far from perfect, and. some income may not be reported. After making due allowance for these statistical 'problems, the difference is still irnpressive., In two-thirds of the world, many people live in conditions of dire poverty. Hunger is common, and even a bicycle is an unattainable luxury. Our world has both a moderately prosperous area and an area in which malnutrition is routine and actual starvation is a constant threat. This breeds discontent each developing country, where the prosperous 'are envied by the poor, and poor countries envy the prosperous countries, whom they blame for their poverty. The demand of poor countries for more of the world's wealth" is the dominant theme of United ‘Nations debate. , Governments are aware of this problem and, in the, midst of much dispute as to proper methods, many, programs have been launched to increase trade, improve the commercial base, and promote more efficient agriculture and industry. These programs have had modest success, and developing countries have made ,some: gains, but most of the developing world still lives on the edge of poverty. Even with outside help and: the best possible type of economic system, can the developing countries ever reach the standard of living of the industrialized nations? One difficulty is that much of the economic improvement has been absorbed by population growth (see Chapter 17). Birthrates are falling now but must fall rapidly if prosperity. is ever to be attained, An even more difficult problem is that of the supply of necessary resources: Professor Kibitz expressed this in vivid fashion: There Is some hope that as present raw materials grow scarce, new substitutes. Unless it '.toes, there is no possibility that the industrialized nations can maintain their economic growth for very long. Without spectacular scientific breakthroughs that may never happen, there is no hope for the poor countries to catch up with the rich r countries.