Under Developed Countries Literally

Under Developed Countries Literally

Under-developed Countries, literally countries capable of economic development. Countries well endowed with resources not yet fully utilized could then be described as under-developed; but this would include wealthy countries like the U.S.A., Canada and Australia. Normal usage confines the word to poor countries. The currently accepted economic meaning is countries in which the income per head falls below a more or less arbitrary stated level, such as one quarter of incomes per head in the U.S.A. It is thus a synonym for poor, undeveloped or economically backward nations.

The term is strictly economic, implying nothing about political or cultural standards. The under-developed include most of the countries of Latin America. Africa, the Middle and Far East. Their chief common feature is extreme poverty. In 2005 the income per head in the United States was ,864; in Brazil, ; in India, ; in Egypt, 2; in the Belgian Congo, ; in Nigeria, .

Other characteristics of under-developed countries are a high proportion of the population engaged in agriculture, often over 70 per cent compared with around 'z per cent in the U.S.A., or 5 per cent in Britain (an extreme case), or about 22 per cent in an advanced agricultural nation like Denmark; very little capital per head; practically no savings per head: agricultural output mainly in cereals and primary raw materials, with a low output of protein foods; heavy dependence on exports of a small number of primary products; high fertility rates and high mortality rates giving rise to risks of a population 'explosion' if death rates are checked, as by improved medicine. These characteristics can be demonstrated by statistical measurement

Other features are less easily shown and more controversial. Thus widespread under-employment of labour, especially in subsistence agriculture, is often said to be prevalent in such countries. Many economists have challenged this view. It seems to imply that some labour can be removed from its present occupations without causing a fall in output there and without a change in techniques. But much of the apparent idleness is due to seasonal swings in the demand for labour which may be fully occupied at sowing and harvest times. To use labour in new occupations that is free only at some seasons may be impracticable or expensive.


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