Global Inequalities and Interdependence
Outline, and discuss the value of some of the indices which
geographers have used in attempting to define 'a developing country'
Measures of development are defined using a multitude of theories.
Some focus on economic indicators, others on the quality of life. The
economic indicator uses figures from GDP and GNP, which stand for
Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product respectively. GNP is
the total value, or output of goods and services which become
available during a period of time for consumption or saving within a
country, plus income from foreign investors. This is then measured per
head of the population, which gives GNP per Capita.
This indicator of development is often very difficult to obtain
accurate information about the economy of a country. This especially
would apply to a developing country where much exchange of resources
and tender is difficult to track due to black markets and illegal
trade. Also in the developing countries there is a large amount of
subsistence agriculture. However this agriculture is used for domestic
consumption and so does not get included in GNP. There is a problem as
GNP and GDP are calculated in US dollars and so conversion of
currency, as some countries have artificially high or low currencies.
Finally apart from showing the monetary value of goods and services
produced in a country alone it doesn't tell us anything about the
living standards in the country.
A second indicator is the Physical Quality of Life Index, this has
compiled life expectancy, infant mortality and adult literacy. This
ranges from 0 to 100, and a country with an index greater than 77
suggest that the minimum requirements for well being are satisfied in
The final indicator used to define whether a country is developed or
developing, is the Human Development Index. It is used as income
growth alone is not a good indication of development and that human
development should lead to greater and more sustainable economic
growth. Therefore the HDI consists of many factors. The real incomes
per capita, taking into account what a person is actually able to buy
with a given income. Adult literacy combined with the mean number of
years of schooling, which is given a measure of educational attainment
and the life expectancy at birth.
Therefore there are many indicators used to define whether or not a
country is developing, but this can cause problems in comparison as
different countries use different indicators.
Describe, and comment on the differences, which exist in the
distribution of gross national product, across the countries of the
From the map it is visible that compared to the North the South is far
less developed in terms of Gross national product. The south has