Why do Poor Countries Remain Poor?
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Published: Mon, 10 Jul 2017
How can those developing countries promote their development?? The poverty has so long and gravely sparked concern to the world because many people are experiencing hardship, misery, starvation, and so on. Those people are largely found in developing countries or third world. As far as we could see, the developing countries themselves are working collectively with developed world and international organizations in an aim to alleviate then ultimately eradicate poverty. However, there are a few reasons that could disrupt such cooperation from achieving its goal.
The causes to poverty in developing countries are various and dependent on different countries. But the most common cause that is pervasively found in every developing world is corruption. The corruption has negatively and greatly influenced the growth and welfare of the country and been also one of the most important matters that developing countries are struggling to deal with. It is mostly spotted in a wide range of different organizations and levels starting from government, private sector, judicial system, education and so forth. It is not difficult to understand why the corruption is so dreadful for a country. The corruption has drained out a large sum of money from national income and international aids. For instance: the BBC news showed that approximately $32 billion dollar of aid used to help solving problem in Afghanistan have not improved the livelihood of the people as yet, for many Afghans are still very poor. The corruption that is prevalent in the government largely receives the blame (BBC news, 2010). The amount of money lost in corruption activities is absolutely enormous. The money could instead be used to help the poor by improving the infrastructure, agriculture, health care system or to build more schools. It is not surprising that many developing countries have worse record of corruption if compared to other parts of the world. Like a survey produced by Transparency international has indicated that many developing countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, Somalia and many others ranked at the bottom which mostly scored around 2 point out of 10. If compare to other rich countries which mostly scored around 9 points such as Singapore, Ireland or UK (Transparency International, 2010). We can assume that the least corruption a country has, the better, in term of the wealth, it will be. Furthermore, the corruption could seriously discourage foreign investments. The investment is very crucial in boosting country economy. It does provide a countless jobs for local people and enlarge the tax income. However, the investors become greatly reluctant to run their large scale business in a country that is marred by corruption. According to Johnson, he claims that corruption exists in different type of form. They hold responsibilities in slowing down and damaging the pace of economic progress. In order for international investors to open business regardless of the size in most developing countries, they have to pay certain amount of money to accelerate the process of paper works to obtain legal license or permission. (Jonhson, 2009).
The corruption could be a major factor that could lead to social inequality because it is only advantageous to the rich and the suffering of the poor persists. When enduring inequality exacerbates, the helpless might start to choose war or revolution as an option to narrow down the social gap. Taking the case of Lon Nol administration during the 1970s for example, according to Global security it states that the widespread of corruption in Cambodia during the Republican regime worsen the government and the military. There was a large increase of insurgency. Major fighting against the government commenced in 1973 spearheaded by Pol Pot and Ieng Sary (Global security, 2010). Church shared the same facts. He claimed that the money aided by the largest supporter, the United States, to Lon Nol government could only contributed to larger form of corruption in administration and army (Church, 2006).
Another factor that keeps holding back the developing countries to success is mismanagement of government. The government is deemed a steering wheel of a country. A nation could either succeed or fail is partially contingent upon government. Many countries in the third world remain in poverty is also because of the improper management such as ineffectiveness in monitoring the income and resource of the country and failure in diplomacy and anti-corruption campaign. First, the national income is generated from many sources. For example: tax collection, tourism, import and export etc. It is required very competent bodies and systems to supervise the process to make a best use of the revenue collected. Unfortunately for developing countries, it is still a big problem that they are facing. A large sum of collected money is not poured directly into state; however, it ends up in individual pocket, usually the powerful and dishonest tax collectors and officials. The irregularity of tax collection in India could exemplify the case. Pasricha concludes that India suffers the loss worth billion of dollars of tax invasion and corruption. The estimated amount of $462 billions dollar in illicit money was extracted from India sixty years ago. He claims that the major source to the problem is from the private sector( Pasricha, Like tax, resource management is a vitally important in helping improve the standard of living in developing countries. The mismanagement in handling the resource could pay a costly price for country economy. Dike suggests that ineffectiveness in managing the natural resource could lead to conflict in the developing countries society he made his point become more convincing by raising up the Niger Delta Crisis. He also points out that the mismanagement demands “committed and courageous leadership” to resolve the problem (Dike, 2006). Zutt from World Bank has shown us how valuable of proper management of resource could help the countries such as in Kenya, where many people are living in extreme poverty, to overcome the climate change. Prof Maathai cited in World Bank report said that planning a various crop types and quality soil management and “greenbelting” plan comprised with local tree types could broadly further development Kenya agricultural sector. However, Zutt said the lack of seriousness in control the natural forest in Kenya leads to the problem of soil erosion, threat to diversity and inability to regulate the rain. These problems impact the lives of Kenya people (Zutt, 2009). Unsuccessful diplomacy conducted by the government to beef up strong relationship with foreign countries in international community is also a barrier to strengthen economy. Put simply, good relationship between countries could spur and attract investments and aids. A few countries in developing world have taken the lead in doing so but others still retain unfriendly and strict international policies with their neighbors and the world as a whole. North Korea would be a perfect example to show why weak diplomacy would drag the country down. According to news analysis made by Park in Economy watch, a report shows that North Korean is the country that has the smallest proportion of foreign business running compared to other 157 countries. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il wants to economically alienate his country from foreign investments that is why North Korean still remain poor and mainly relies on foreign aids from China, South Korea and the United States. The last problem in mismanagement area is unsuccessful attempt to reduce corruption. As mentioned above, corruption is like a cancer. The disease that is unlikely for developing countries to weed out. Many countries governing bodies are taking steps to fight corruption at a very gradual pace. It remains too slow that the consequences stemmed from corruption is yielding faster. For this reason, people still cannot escape from the poverty line once the unproductive management in slowing down corruption is not completely fixed.
Civil wars have also largely contributed to poverty in developing country. In world annals, as its wont, countries namely Cambodia, Somalia wrecked by destruction of civil wars and conflicts are prone to underdevelopment. Such countries had been altered from stabilized states to states full of terror and violence and the development of the countries underwent an unwanted distraction. It is absolutely not an easy and short process for a country to get back on its feet after the war. The post-war government usually faces many challenges and expensive reconstructions. Additionally, civil wars oust foreign investors and also put a halt to existing and potential development projects. It might take years for the government to bring back the confidence of the investors to reestablish their business. That is why private sector in countries suffered from civil war is increasing slower. Not only private sector is being hit but also many other sectors such as tourism. For example, according to an opinion expressed by Phillips in The Phnom Penh Post concerning the turmoil took place in Thailand last year has shown that the bloody protest ignited the 20 percent drop of hotel occupancy rate in Bangkok and 2 percent decrease in total foreign tourists in Thailand (Phillips, 2010).
The increased amount of debt cannot help the people from developing country to escape poverty either. Many developing countries demands for loans from the rich in a hope to use to money to develop their countries. Many loans were borrowed during the period of wars to buy weapons and food supply. When the debt become greater, the government might be forced to extract the money targeted to enhance different sectors such as education, food supply or rural development from government budget in order to pay the loan and interest. Cambodian government has long asked its counterpart to settle debt borrowed by Lon Nol government during the civil war in Cambodia.
Overpopulation is also a big concern that preventing the developing country to flourish. Actually, over population happens also in developed country such as the United State and many parts of Europe. However, these countries are highly equipped with technology and abounds in abundant resource and wealth. So they are capable enough to keep their over populated residents from starvation and poverty. It is not really the case in developing countries where millions of people can earn just to get by. According to Fight Poverty, many people in developing countries survive by agricultural practice, or doing small scale farming in a subsistence form which produces a very limited amount of food supply. So the food security is always at risk. Based upon the report, such country like Bangladesh whose population densities is 1,078 persons per square km depends broadly on family agricultural cultivation finds poverty very common throughout the country. In African continent, land for cultivation is arid and accessibility to economic resource and technology is rare. Overpopulation for this country would mean a burden contribute to poverty (Fight Poverty, 2010). On the contrary, Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world with a strict limitation to resource even clean water, but since their population is very small so the government can securely supply the foods.
Another factor that is believed to keep the third world in extreme condition is lack of education. The governments in developing countries fail to provide accessible education that enable people to find lucrative job in the future. Illiteracy is truly pervasive in developing countries particularly in rural regions. Base on Fight Poverty statistic, there is 60 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa were sent to elementary school (Fight Poverty, 2010). Without qualified education, many people might become vulnerable to exploitable by profiteers or underemployed and unemployed. The increase of unemployment would mean the increase of poverty. The lack of education could also contribute to the increased of crime rate throughout the country. People who are able to find job or earn too less might choose to rob or steal other people for money in order for them and their families to survive. Moreover, the understanding of health care is extremely poor when people are not being able to read and write. The media that works to educate people about health will encounter difficulties since many people find most of the information not understandable. Therefore, the expense on health care becomes an expensive problem for the government to solve.
Government and other factors are, of course, leading roles in keeping the developing countries remain poor. But it is debatable that many individuals are not trying hard enough to seek for betterment for themselves. A lot of people decide to quit seeking for jobs while some others voluntarily involve in drug abuse or become alcoholic. “70% of drug users are unemployed”, claimed an article by MQI. They also points out that factors that encourage drug usage are poverty, unemployment both short and long (MQI,2006). Some others still bear the opinion of remaining poor because their parents or older generation were also poor. According to Fight poverty, many people who receive unemployment pension and other assistances have no willingness to find jobs simply because of the money provided is sufficient to survive (Fight Poverty, 2010). In this circumstance, the individuals should be blamed for their behavior not the government agencies because they only want to render support to the unemployed.
The other observable factors lead to poverty in developing countries are diseases and natural catastrophe. The spread of HIV/AIDS is one of the most major concerns for developing country. The fatality rate from HIV/AIDS in developing countries such as in Africa, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and so on is running high. In the past few years, HIV/AIDS is the number one killer in Cambodia. A lot of money has been used to treat patients with HIV positive by providing medicines and care service. A big part of the money received from government and international organisations. Similarly, billions of dollars is being inserted to international aids to alleviate the problem caused by this fatal disease and to stop the further widespread in African nations where the total victims account for 70 percent of worldwide HIV population (AIDS in Africa). According to Boseley, the budget plan for 2010 to 2031 to tackle HIV/AIDS will rise up to $88 billion dollars for South Africa alone ( Boseley, 2010). The fund divided for HIV/AIDS treatment programs could surely be used to develop other sectors. Unpredictable natural calamity could wreck havoc to the developing countries. Money had to be spent on repairing infrastructure including roads, bridges and buildings, treating the victimized people, security and other services to restore the stability. After deadly Tsunami hit a lot of countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, a large amount of money had to be spent to take a full control of the situation. In Thailand alone, according to UN report on impact of Tsunami, shows that Thai government used around 1.06 billion US dollar to compensate and another 38.3 millions aided by UN recovery program to help the victims (United Nation Thailand, 2008). The extreme earth quake in Haiti putting hundreds of people to death, yield a fruitless impact to the government. They had to spend the money mainly on services to keep victims from starving to death and to stop the widespread of cholera. According to Mckay and Dugan, the earthquake displaced 1.3 millions people from their home and killed 300000 people (Mckay & Dugan, 2010).
I personally think that in a bid to make developing countries a better place to settle in with a minimum rate of poverty, the government should first of all eliminate all form of corruption either in government or private sector. The corruption has so far consumed a lot of money from the developing countries, if we could succeed in preventing the money flow into individual pocket we would be able to save a large amount of money to achieve short and long term goals. In addition, the reduced size of corruption can really help to attract more investments into the countries because investors are highly discourage particularly international cooperation to invest in the countries where they have to spend money in bribing the government or other agencies. To do that the government has to first establish effective anti-corruption law. Set good examples by penalizing powerful and rich figures who infringe the law and especially increase the income of workers. The prevention a civil war from taking place is also a must for developing countries. To achieve that the countries must provide good services in every sector to ensure the freedom and peace of the people. If conflicts happen try to settle the conflicts by peaceful means. If needed the conflicting parties could seek international mediation to guaranteed the peace rather than the violence settlement. Proper management is important. The government of the countries must be wise and flexible to in managing different areas in government. Creating a good relationship with neighboring countries and the world could be a very good start. Government also needs to work collectively with international friends in managing a certain areas which are new for example: the management of oil resource in Cambodia. The management include the close monitoring of population by introducing more effective birth control program to limit the growth of population. If possible provide incentive for small family. Education is also crucial. To develop an effective educational system, countries must increase the salary of educators to avoid corruption in the system, also introduce plans to builds more schools in remote areas as much as possible.
In conclusion, in order to achieve the goal in alleviating poverty, the developing country must involve engagement of three important parties: government, international society and the people. As mentioned earlier the change from developing country to developed one is not easy and short process but if these three parties have no firm commitment and willingness to change developing countries will always remain poor or even poorer.
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