A number of issues are responsible for poverty and underdevelopment in poor countries. These issues vary from country to country. In most cases, ineffective policies and dependency upon developed states are the main contributors to poverty and underdevelopment in poor countries. These causes of poverty and underdevelopment depict the ‘not enough’ integration of poor countries into the global economy.
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A developed state has high standards of living because of its high-levels of income and per capita income among citizens. Many European nations have achieved this status because they can generate high capital, achieve high rates of productivity, and provide high standards of living to their people. On the other hand, poor states experience aggravated poverty due to ineffective policies and a lack of resources.
According to dependency theory, resources come from underdeveloped nations in order to enrich and maintain the growth of industrialized nations at the expense of the former. The dependency theory affirms that underdeveloped nations continue to sink in poverty as their rich counterparts continue to enrich themselves through integration into the global economy or other world systems. This theory emerged as a reaction to modernization theory and other debates about development and modernization (Baylis, Smith and Owens, 2011).
Modernization debates posit that developments in society have similar patterns. This suggests that poor nations are in similar situations that today’s developed nations experienced in the past. As a result, developed nations can only enhance developments in poor nations by assisting in common areas, which can facilitate poverty eradication. These include investments, integration into the global economy, and technology transfer.
However, dependency theory does not support this notion. It claims that poor states have their unique characteristics and structures, and they are versions of their developed counterparts. These conditions have led underdeveloped states to be the weak partners in the integrated global economy.
Therefore, the dependency theory maintains that underdevelopment results from dependence on developed nations. In this case, unique attributes of underdeveloped nations are irrelevant, facilitate dependency and some of these attributes emanate from dependency. Underdeveloped nations are dependent countries. In most cases, the political and economic interests of developed nations may influence aid to underdeveloped states. Poor policies and integration into the global economy have been the major contributing factors.
Anup Shah provides an account of poor policies and articulation of early warning signs about the food crisis in East Africa (Shah, 2011). Stakeholders in the region had maintained that the food crisis in the region was inevitable and man-made because there were clear early signs and predictions about the impending situation. Shah noted that critics had pointed out that the international community and governments were not doing enough to avert the crisis. The most important indicator of the integration of the poor nations into the global economy is the massive funding shortfall. Oxfam noted that if funds were available on time, preventive measures could have averted the food crisis.
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Attempts to eradicate poverty in underdeveloped countries require proper integration of poor nations into the global economy, technology transfer, and the development of appropriate infrastructures (modernization). However, Anna Ridout, a spokesperson of Oxfam notes that international partners have not done enough to integrate poor nations into the global economy. For instance, there are no convenient investments in “irrigation systems, vaccination of people, especially children, against anticipated diseases, and proper infrastructure to be used in case there is a need for food supply” (Shah, 2011).
Another instance of poor integration of underdeveloped states into the global economy is the failure of the international community and governments to support efforts to avert the food crisis in East Africa. The UN had appealed for an overall humanitarian aid of $1.87 billion. However, it could only raise 45 percent of the required funds. Pledges were slow in coming. The UK, the EU, Spain, and Germany had made their contributions and significant pledges.
However, countries like France, Denmark, and Italy cited a lack of significant funds for the crisis. Governments of the affected regions also failed to provide funds for the crisis. In other words, they lack clear policies and resources for crisis management.
Shah noted that the international media coverage of the food crisis in underdeveloped nations was spotty despite the fact that this was the worst crisis in recent time. He also observed that the international community was able to mobilize military resources quickly against Libya while the situation only affected a few people in relation to the famine crisis in East Africa. This shows how developed nations have poor policies about the integration of underdeveloped nations into the global community.
The main factor for underdevelopment and poverty is ‘not enough’ integration of underdeveloped states into the global economy because both the international community and governments of underdeveloped nations have not formulated sound policies and allocated enough resources to facilitate modernization. However, effective policies and proper allocation of resources can facilitate modernization in underdeveloped nations. The international media have also failed to play their roles in society by providing spotty coverage on the humanitarian crisis in underdeveloped states.
Baylis, J, Smith, S and Owens, P 2011, The Globalization of World Politics: An introduction to international Relations, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Shah, A 2011, East Africa Food Crisis 2011. Web.