The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.
BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.
Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.
It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.
All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.
It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”
The 2013 World Population Data Sheet lists all geopolitical entities with populations of 150,000 or more and all members of the UN. These include sovereign states, dependencies, overseas departments, and some territories whose status or boundaries may be undetermined or in dispute.
More developed regions, following the UN classification, comprise all of Europe and North America, plus Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
All other regions and countries are classified as less developed.
The least developed countries consist of 49 countries with especially low incomes, high economic vulnerability, and poor human development indicators; 34 of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, 14 in Asia, and one in the Caribbean.
Some 9,000 activists took to the streets of Tokyo on Sunday to protest nuclear power. The march comes as Japanese authorities are considering restarting the country’s nuclear reactors, which were shut down in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
When I first heard of terminator seeds I hoped that farmers and populations would rebel against this greedy unnatural manipulation of the cycle of life that has allowed self-sufficiency and small farms to prosper year after year. I love the image of the green giant standing with the farmers against the chemical giant Monsanto that has done so much harm.