POSC 102, Section 003
April 16, 2013
American scientist Jared Diamond published a novel, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies in 1997 in attempt to explain the discrepancies in human development since the beginning of time. Diamond addresses regional differences in global development, how and why the Western world – known as the global North or developed states – became modernized before other parts of the world, still viewed as “developing” – known as the global South or developing states. It has been a common ideal throughout history that the states of the global South would socially, economically, and politically “catch up” to the global North. However, many states have been unable to establish such stable socio-economic constructs. International development – also known as globalization - is the process that, ideologically, will alleviate the gaps between states. Scholars only disagree on how effectively and efficiently make globalization a reality. Global inequality stems from lack of uniform progress throughout history. It has become a worldwide objective to close the gap between the rich and the poor countries and to involve all nations in what is referred to as a “global market”. In a global market, all countries (regardless of stage of development) play a role in international trade. The major debate is how the gap should be closed and the priorities involved. The majority of scholars concur that foreign aid is not enough to inflict permanent change. In order to change the economic condition of a nation, social and political reforms need to occur simultaneously. Bruce Scott published an article “The Great Divide in the Global Village” in Foreign Affairs magazine in 2001 focusing on economic inequality worldwide. Scott asserts that though average income throughout the world is increasing, so is the income gap between the rich and poor. The article focuses on the “self-serving world-view” (Scott, 2001) implying globalization assumes the way the Western world developed will be effective for countries attempting to undergo economic reform. Furthering economic development requires a change in the way we approach it. Foreign aid from the Western world to “third-world”, or developing, countries is usually more detrimental than beneficial because of the conditions the lending country implements. Foreign investment is also not practical as 70% occurs between rich countries (Scott, 2001). Renovation of institutions and economic situations in developing nations can only occur in combination with social and political reform. Scott backs his theory with evidence of the development of the Western world. Capital-rich countries today had to undergo an arduous route to achieve their current status, which focused on a transition to complete government liability. Scott also notes capital-rich countries did not develop with the pressures and competition the global market offers today. He concludes by saying economic reform should take a “country-by-country approach” (Scott, 2001).
Moíses Naím approaches the condition of global economics by addressing the misconceptions of international inequality in his article “Our Inequality Anxiety”. Naím believes The focus of the global economy should not be on the discrepancies between developed and developing countries because that percentage has not changed significantly enough in the past several decades. The more prominent issue is lowering the poverty level by helping provide higher standards of living – education, health care, clean water, job opportunities, etc. (Naím, 2006). Yasheng Huang presents on the question “Does Democracy Stifle Economic Growth” in a TED Talk aired in 2011. Huang compares Asian countries – primarily India and China – to observe the effects of government style on economic conditions. Huang testifies democracy can be a hindrance because growth is always delayed compared to Authoritarian governments,