The North/South Gap Essay

The North/South Gap

The North/South gap is a divide that separates the poor (less developed countries) from the rich (more developed countries). The idea of categorizing countries by their economic and developmental status began during the Cold War with the classifications of East and West. The Soviet Union and China represented the developing East, and the United States and their allies represented the West. The term ‘Third World’ (less developed countries) came from the United States hoping to navigate between the North and the South poles of the Cold War. When Second Word countries joined the First World, and other countries joined the Third World, a newer, simpler classification was needed. The First World became the North and the Third World became the South.

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The North, which makes up for one quarter of the world population, controls four fifths of the world’s income. 90% of the manufacturing industries are owned and located in the North. The South, which makes up the other three quarters of the population, only has access to one fifth of the world income. The ‘North’ does not necessarily mean countries in the Northern hemisphere; it was coined because most of the Northern hemisphere is wealthier than the South. The same for the ‘South’, parts of Asia are considered in the Southern part of the divide because they are simply not as developed as other parts of Asia which are a part of the North.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a compile of many different statistics, including life expectancy, education, and income that implies weather a country is developed, still developing or underdeveloped. There is controversy over the fact that it isn’t an adequate way to measure human development. HDI is a better measurement than simply GNI (Gross National Income) but is not all together fair. It does not include gender inequality, child welfare or the economy of the countries. The HDI is basically a way of seeing which countries are part of the North and part of the South. Canada ranked 11th out of the world which to some may be surprising. Canada has a better economy than the United States and they ranked 3rd. Our government hasn’t shut down and we’re 9 countries away from them. 95% of the North has enough food and shelter and a functioning education system.

On the other hand only 7% of the South has enough food and shelter. In 1974 Southern nations called for a New International Economic Order (NIEO) to restructure the global economy. Some of NIEO’s demands included linking prices of commodity exports to manufactured imports, transferring of technology from North to South, canceling debts of Third World countries, improving representation in economic players such as World Bank and UN Security Council, standardizing prices for raw materials and solving food crises. The UN has also established its role in diminishing the divide between the North and the South Millennium Development Goals. These goals seek to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development all by the year 2015. If these goals are met then then hopefully in the future there will not be a North/South gap. Hopefully one day we will live in a world where counties in Africa have the same HDI as Norway (#1 on the 2013 HDI report). There are many other organizations that help with this cause, UNICEF, UNESCO and UNF.

“The North South Gap” 2012.Wikipedia. 14 October 2013.
“Human Development Index.” 2013. Wikipedia. 15 October , 2013. “HDI-Human Development Index” 2010. October 15, 2013


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