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The Extent to Which the Development Gap Occurs within Countries as Well as Globally

Updated on July 19, 2016

The development gap is extremely prevalent in all countries, but in particular, those that have recently had economic booms, such as China and India, where the positive effects may still not have reached rural communities.

The gap is perhaps most evident in Brazil, where the rich are taxed at a much lower rate than the poor; favelas, e.g. Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro, grow from undesirable areas, such as steep hills, on the outskirts of economic hubs. IT is common to see traders taking cheap goods along the road with a donkey, whilst sports cars drive past.

A similar situation is present in India; Dharavi, a slum containing over 1 million people, is situated on the edge of Mumbai – one of the key cities in India's rapid economic development, which will one day rival the USA and China for superpower status.

Dharavi, Mumbai.
Dharavi, Mumbai. | Source

India's caste system has, and continues to, hold a significant proportion of its population in the poverty cycle, and South Africa's development gap is caused by racism initiated by historical colonialism. The resources are distributed unevenly in South Africa, with coastal areas receiving more economic benefits than the northwest. South Africa has one of the highest Gini coefficients, illustrating a similar wealth distribution inequality to Brazil.

The development gap also exists in developed countries, but not to the same extent. For example, many people in the United Kingdom live on minimum wage, but the very existence of a minimum wage adequate for survival, and the existence of a welfare system, shows that the poorest people are helped out of poverty.

Some areas of the USA have low wages and high unemployment, e.g. Detroit, and some states' education systems have been ranked as equivalent to those in developing countries.

California illustrates the development gap in a more economically developed country (MEDC); California alone has a gross domestic product (GDP) which would place it amongst the top 10 countries, yet some areas of Los Angeles have relatively high poverty levels. The minimum wage is not suitable for the cost of living, and people who work in catering and cleaning for Silicon Valley companies often have to resort to sleeping in vehicles, whilst the CEOs of said companies are among the richest people in the world.


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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I've been to both 'rich and poor' countries and the first thing I'd ask here is "So, what's the solution?"

      I agree with you that there's a widening gap with wealth and poverty, but I'm not so sure I'd agree about the welfare system really helping, at best all it really does is to stop the people falling any lower. At worst (and I've seen this with my own eyes) it robs the people of the ability to think for themselves.

      Why would you need to think for yourself, or challenge yourself to 'better things' when the state will give you all that you need?

      I think that the real answer lies in a mix of the two.


    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I applaud you for writing this story. Many people do not believe in this day and age that people are still living as if we were still in the stone ages. It is so easy for those that are doing "okay" to turn a blind eye. Poverty and hopelessness is a horrible feeling and many people treat others who have these as if the have a disease. Corrupt politicians, corrupt government and people who are heartless.

      When I try talking to others about this their response is to get angry and say it is not their responsibility but it is our responsibility to care for our brother and sisters on this earth. Homeless people did not start out being homeless, no child said, I want to grow up to be a drug addict, these are the end results of people who've grown tired.

      I am very passionate regarding the "plights" of human suffering because I have been on both sides of the fence. I know what its like to be doing well and then literally have the rug snatched out from under you and that type of devastation breaks your spirit.


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