The structure of Third World/developing Countries will be evaluated by considering the
(1) size of the county, (2) historical back-ground of the country, (3) resource endowments of the country, (4) relative importance of public and
private sectors in the country, (5) nature of industrial sector in the
country. (6) degree of dependence on external economic and political forces,
(7) distribution of power in a country, (8) ethnic and religious
Now we consider each of the component which will show the similarities and
dissimilarities amongst the countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Characteristics of Developing Countries:
(1) Size And Income Level: The physical size of a country, its population and its GNP per capita are the
important determinants of the economic position of a country. Moreover, these
factors also differentiate. The Third World countries from one another. Out of
160 UDCs (UN Classification) 87 had fewer than 5 million people, 58 fewer than
2.5 million. There were 38 countries whose population was less than 5 lac. In
Third World nations there are large and populated nations like Brazil, India,
Pakistan, China, Egypt and Nigeria as well as the small countries like Paraguay,
Nepal, Jordan, and Chad. The large and high countries have more resources,
extended markets and they have lesser dependence on foreign sources and material
etc. But the large sizes also create the problems regarding regional imbalances,
national cohesion and of administration.
Thus in the "Third World Scenario"
one finds the most populous nation 'India' with the population of approximately
1016 million in 2000 and GNP per capita level of $460; and sparsely populated
country. Singapore having the population of 4 million people and GNP per capita
of $24740 in 2000, while US population was 282 million and GNP per capita was
$34260 in 1998.
(2) Historical Background: Most of Asian and African Third World
been the colonies of England, France, Germany, Spain and Holland etc. The
economic, social educational and institutional structures of the poor countries
have been molded by their former colonial rulers. These rulers introduced three
important and tradition-shattering ideas: (i) private property, (ii) personal
taxation, (iii) money taxation, rather taxation in kind. These ideas helped in
eroding the autonomy of local communities, and they also developed certain other
ways of exploitation.
The Latin American countries are furnished with a longer history of political
independence and Spanish and Portuguese Colonial heritage. This shows that
though the Latin American countries differ in their size and resources, yet
these countries are similar in respect of economic, social and cultural
institutions and face similar problems. As far as India and Pakistan are
concerned the colonial heritages from Britain have been combined with local
traditions. It means that in case of Pakistan and India we find 'Left Hand
Drive', the British System of education, and of administration. While in case of
Indonesia one finds "Dutch" influence; and in case of Vietnam one can easily
observe the "French" ways and modes of life.
(3) Physical and Human Resources: The economic potentialities of any country
depend upon its physical and human resources. The Third World Countries differ
in respect of physical resources. As the Gulf States are rich in oil, heavy
endowments of natural resources. While the countries like Bangladesh, Haiti,
Yemen, Ethiopia, Chad
etc., are highly deficient in natural resources, oil and fertile lands.
In respect of human resource endowments not only the quantity and quality of
people counts, but also the cultural outlooks of the people, their attitudes
toward work and their desire for self-improvement. Again, the administrative
skill also determines the ability of public sector to alter the structure of
production. In case of developing countries the traditions, religions, ethnic
and sectarian setup differ which affect the human resources. Thus the
differences in physical and human resources also differentiate themselves.
(4) Relative Importance of the
Public and the Private Sectors: Most of the UDCs have "Mixed Economic Systems" i.e., they depend upon a
mixture of public and private sectors in respect of allocation of resources and
production of goods. The historical and political circumstances would determine
their role in an economy. Generally, one finds the greater role of private
sector in Latin American and South East Asian countries as compared with African
and South Asian Countries. Again, in certain UDCs there is a greater role of
foreign investment like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Gulf-States
etc. While in case of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Chad and other African
countries the foreign private investment has never been attractive.
countries of Africa like Ghana and Kenya where there is shortage of skilled
personnel the greater dependence was Iaid upon public sector, though now a days they are reverting towards
The different role of public and private sector lead to pursue different
economic policies in different countries of Third World. The economies which are
biased towards public sector stress upon more employment and rural development
program. While in case of private oriented economies the tax holidays and
greater concessions to the investors will be deemed more appropriate policies.
Again, despite the existence of unemployment in ail of the UDCs the methods to
tackle this menace will be different. Such all above mentioned confirm the
diversity even in case of Third World Nations.
(5) Industrial Structure: In case of most of LDCs the main occupation is
agriculture. Thus the people's economic, social and cultural life is highly
influenced by agrarian set-up. The agriculture in these countries, is not just an
occupation, it is also a way of life. The Asian agriculture system is close to Latin
American's. However, the culture of Asia and Latin America differs. Again, as
far as industrial structures are concerned they also differ in the developing
countries. The Latin American countries which have a long history of
independence and their incomes are higher than African and Asian countries
follow advanced techniques of production in their industrial structures.
However, in 1970s and 1980s the NICs like Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore
etc. have shown marvelous growth in manufacturing. India has the largest
manufacturing sector in the Third World countries.
However, it is small in
relation to the country's big rural population. In 1996, in India, 65% of total
labor force was engaged in agri. and 13% in industry. While in US 2% of manpower
was engaged in agri. and 25% in industry. The share of US agri. in GDP was 2% and that of industry it was 29%. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Bhutan and
Chad lack the industrial set-ups.
Despite so many common problems, the developing countries follow different
development strategies depending on the nature, structure and degree of
interdependence among its primary, secondary, and tertiary industrial sectors.
In such state of affairs the growth rates and performance of industrial sectors
would be different in most of the developing countries.
(6) External Dependence on Economic, Political
and Cultural: The external
dependence of a country is related to its size, resource endowments, and
political history. In case of UDCs, this dependence is substantial. They are
bound to export their raw material to the DCs, and they have to import finished
products as well as technologies from them. Such technologies are hardly
appropriate for the LDCs. In such situation, the growth of UDCs is highly
dependent upon the behavior of DCs. The UDCs not only depend upon foreign goods
and technologies, but they are highly influenced by the foreign values, patterns
of consumption and attitudes towards life, work and self. This
transmission phenomenon brings mixed blessings to most LDCs, especially which
are highly ambitious for self-reliance. But it has also been observed-that the
degree of such dependence also varies from country to country in case of Third
(7) Political Structure, Power and Interest Groups: The national approaches
and strategies followed in UDCs are based upon political structures, vested
interests and allegiances of ruling elites like landlords, urban industrialists,
bankers, foreign investors, the military rulers and trade unionists etc., in
addition to economic considerations. The constellation of interests and power
among different segments of the populations of most
developing countries is itself the
result of their economic, social and political histories and they differ from
country to country in developing world. In Latin American countries there are
the landowners; there are bureaucrats in Pakistan; there are money lenders in
India; there are wealthy sheikhs of Gulf-States which play their role in the
politics of their respective countries. Such de-fecto and de-jure rulers of these Third World countries are consisted of
a few but powerful elites. It also means that there exist class conflicts and
class rivalry in case of most of developing countries. The rich industrialists
wish to join politics to safe-guard their interests. While the feudals involve
in politics for the sake of prestige and power. In short in case of UDCs people
come to power to get their interests, though these interests differ from country
(8) Ethnic and Religious Composition: There was a time when there existed a
cold war between two super powers USA and USSR and two economic systems like
capitalism and socialism. But after the disintegration of USSR and Eastern
Europe, so many developing countries curtailed their defense expenditures. But
quite against it, within and outside countries, the conflicts and enmities rose.
As after the incident of 11th September 2001, an era of terrorism is being
observed. It is said that the countries which suffer from religious , ethnic and
cultural differences, they will also face political instability. As a result,
the development efforts will suffer.
The development of South Korea, Taiwan,
Singapore and Hong Kong is attributed to their cultural homogeneity. While
during 1990s, and then from 2000 to present, one finds the riots, terrorism,
ethnic and linguistic tensions, civil war and conflicts in Afghanistan, Rwanda.
Sri Lanka, Iraq, India, Somalia, Ethiopia, Liberia and Zairect etc.
Again the development efforts have
been always suffered due to regional differences, caste system and ethnic groups
and development remained confined to a few areas. No doubt, the differences do
exist in US regarding culture, races and religion, but here such discrimination
has been used for creation and innovations. But in case of developing countries,
the racial, cultural, ethnic and religious differences have often sabotaged the
developmental efforts. As a result, they remained backward.