Features of Less Developed Countries


1 (a) Predominant poverty
1 (b) An extreme difference between absolute poverty and great wealth
1 (c) An extreme minority holds the wealth and a huge majority are in abject poverty


2 (a) Rapidly rising younger unproductive population
2 (b) High birth rate compensating for high infant mortality
2 (c) Children seen as an economic asset able to work soon (developed countries have children as economic liabilities)
2 (d) AIDS pandemic is undermining the economically viable workforce


3 (a) Predominantly agricultural (70 - 90% of the labour force)
3 (b) Predominantly rural population (80% urban in UK, less than 20% in LDC)
3 (c) Subsistence or cash crop based poverty


4 (a) Insufficient quantity of food for a daily diet
4 (b) Insufficient quality of food for a daily diet
4 (c) Poor diet leaves openness to disease, poor growth, early death and childhood mortality

Climate and Environment

5 (a) Most LDCs tend to be outside the temperate climate comfort zone
5 (b) Environmental disasters tend to be more frequent and extreme, reverse development and sap will and energy for development
5 (d) Climactic extremes (and human misuse) lead to low agricultural output and soil erosion
5 (e) Cash crop intensive agriculture also leads to deforestation, soil erosion, loss of wildlife (including food supplies) and pollution
5 (f) Lack of natural resources is more critical for LDCs although advanced economies overcome lack of resources by trade

Education and Resistance through Custom

6 (a) Educational provision is very low or inadequate for economic or information needs
6 (b) Open to disease through lack of knowledge, e.g. sexually transmitted diseases
6 (c) Over reliance on custom, ancient laws and magical religion from a standpoint of ignorance
6 (d) Inability to produce educated workforce for technological growth
6 (e) Inequality and absence of women's rights undermine essential birth control, education, resistance to custom and good health.
6 (f) Authority held by elders holds back change as they hang on to custom, magical religion and power
6 (g) Networks of corruption siphon off funds and reduce economic efficiency

Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism

7 (a) Colonial past produced raw materials and agricultural production for the use of colonialists' industries
7 (b) Neo-colonialism and economic traditions retain old economic exploitative structures
7 (c) Colonial boundaries cut across tribes and ethnic groups and ex-colonial countries produced internal divisions and wars for superiority
7 (d) Conflict leads to military purchases, waste of personnel and death thus causing economic decline


8 (a) An LDC economy needs to invest 10 to 15% of net income to grow and many cannot manage this
8 (b) Rates of return less than population growth
8 (c) Debt for growth badly financed, and not invested wisely (e.g. in grandiose projects of little benefit)
8 (d) Low rates of return frustrate future investment and leave debt unpaid
8 (e) Loans and grants from Developed Countries often come with strings attached, benefiting the Developed Country, maintaining neo-colonial economic relationships
8 (f) Consumer purchasing power is too low to generate a domestic market
8 (g) Infrastructure (roads, drainage, sanitation, fixed telecommunications) is too weak to sustain social and economic development
8 (h) Multinationals act as monopsonists, paying too little for raw materials and cash crops and charge much to the Western consumer

Ways out

Intermediate sustainable (Gandhi type) model

Note that this model has now been rejected by China and India


1 (a) Appropriate intermediate technology (e.g. spinning wheel)
1 (b) Co-operatives and small scale businesses
1 (c) State and international assistance but to help produce
1 (d) Less attachment to world economic system and neo-colonialism
1 (e) Removal of (or default on) debt


2 (a) Subsistence agriculture plus small surpluses
2 (b) Rejection of cash crop economy
2 (c) Food crops directly for humans (replace animal husbandry)


3 (a) Appropriate education for economic needs
3 (b) Education for literacy and birth control
3 (c) Maintenance of customs, religion and culture of society
3 (d) Political agreements and also autonomy for ethnic groupings

Take off model


1 (a) Large scale attitude changes with removals of laws, customs and dogmas (including communist) that threaten economic activity
1 (b) Adaptation of people to factory system and trading


2 (a) Foreign investment welcomed
2 (b) Market based laws established
2 (c) Shift of manufacturing from expensive West to cheap labour LDCs
2 (d) Bypass infrastructure problems by jumping directly to mobile telephones, satellite communications, Internet access
2 (e) Cancellation or refinancing debt
2 (d) Overcoming financial crashes through world banking system (e.g. property booms and crashes)
2 (e) Multinationals supporting small cottage businesses (on the Japanese model)
2 (f) Development of financial structures and information economy


3 (a) Specific education and training for business and financial use
3 (b) Use of ex-colonial education systems to tie into world economy (e.g. computer use, call centres)
3 (c) Equality of men and women through education tackling birth control, population growth
3 (d) Turning children into economic liabilities subject to schooling
3 (e) Either autocratic direction of investment (corruption likely) or movement to democratic participation
3 (f) Liberal economic systems of decision making
3 (g) Marginalisation of religion from economic, social and political decision making (replaced by more direct ethics)


4 (a) Investment in agriculture to become less labour intensive and more mechanised
4 (b) Nevertheless there is no alternative to environmentally sustainable agriculture
4 (c) Less reliance on cash crops, less monoculture (single crop) requiring chemical fertilisers
4 (d) Shift of population to the towns and cities


Note: it is by no means clear that the world economic system can contain and spread the levels of debt under which both developed and developing countries now function, and capitalism may well crash as did socialist countries in the 1990s (from overbearing economic, nationalist and military pressures). The Western financial system is highly complex but open to a domino effect of collapse (needing liquidity and debt shifts).


Either a or b:

a) Outline two general features of Less Developed Countries. Referring to these features, describe the alternative methods of overcoming poverty.

b) To escape from a cycle of poverty and under development, Less Developed Countries must withdraw from the world economic system that has served them so badly and concentrate on developing viable subsistence economies using intermediate technology."
  Do you agree? Assess the arguments and come to a conclusion having considered another opinion.