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Environmental Science

The North-South Global Communities comparison

The north-south divide in global communities can be defined as the socio-economic and political differences between developed countries and those that are yet to be developed. This definition brings forth the global north, which is made up of such countries as the United States of America, Canada, most of Western Europe, and some parts of Asia, notably Japan, Brunei, and Israel.

On the other hand, in the Global South, there are countries found in Africa, and most of the countries are in the Middle East and Latin America. This paper aims to find justification for the say that rather than a single global community, there actually exist two completely different global communities: the North, characterized by knowledge, prosperity, and power, and the South, with ignorance, poverty, and weakness as its defining characteristics.

Originally, the idea to categorize nations based on the north-south divide began during the Cold War era, first as the west or east. At the time, the East comprised China and the Soviet Union, while the United States and its political, ideological, and economic allies comprised the West. Meanwhile, other countries were neither in the West nor the East, for whom the phrase ‘third world’ was coined. This third-world country later began to be referred to as the Non-aligned movement. And these third-world countries have some characteristics that define them even now. They were generally economically underdeveloped compared to the West and East countries. Later on, there came first-world countries, which were mostly considered developed and in more control of the world resources, and another category, which called itself the second-world class, ranking between the developed and the underdeveloped. As these two countries scrambled for the first class rank, two major groups emerged: developed north global communities and the underdeveloped developing south (Mimiko, 2012).

These two extremes are said to be in co-existence. This is because there are no physical boundaries between these countries, such that in the Americas, for instance, there are both north-divided countries just as well as there are in the south. This is the very case in Africa, where, for instance, South Africa, though in a generally underdeveloped continent, is one of the most developed nations in the world. The United Arab Emirates enjoys good economic prosperity and political stability, though it’s found in the Middle East. Just as well as many nations in the largely developed Americas are in economic depression, among them Paraguay and Uruguay. Also, though the relationship between these two extremes is not necessarily symbiotic, the two regions are such that there are occurring exchanges between them through such things as export of raw materials, import of finished goods, and even discussions on sustainable utilization of world resources.

According to the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, a country is said to be in the north if it is developed, while it will be in the south if it is underdeveloped or still developing. The South is characterized by such things as insufficient technology, political instability, a divided economy, and a great dependence on primary product export to the North. The North, the opposite of the South, enjoys a robust economy, import of raw materials, and well-developed technology. Also, the North enjoys a stable political cycle and has a lot of time and resources, which they use to develop themselves economically.

Another distinctive difference between the north and south divides is the control these two regions exercise over the world. The North, being more industrialized than the South, has managed to control the resources in the South, all to their advantage. The South’s little control over its own resources, therefore, leaves it at the mercy of the North, and it therefore only remains conformed to the capitalistic imperialist system such that it only serves as a source of raw materials and an importer of the developed North’s product. It is worth noting that the North, with as little population as it has, directly or indirectly possesses and controls over four-fifths of the world’s resources

Another basis for comparison between the North and South is global digital. This seeks to categorize countries based on their ability to access and properly utilize technology, particularly the Internet. It was originally thought that the North had better access to the internet than the South. However, in the recent past, Asia, which is in the south of the global divide, has been found to be leading in internet access and utilization.

Many theories have been brought forward to explain the north-south divides. One such theory has been based on colonialism in various parts of the world. Notable in these regions is Africa, where, after and during colonization by the Europeans, many of its resources were exploited and/or destroyed by the colonial masters. As well, the colonialists, for ulterior motives, sought to destroy the stability of the global south to ensure underdevelopment. It is now established that the global communities in the North were originally in the South and vice versa. Initially, the countries in the global south had about four-fifths of the world’s resources, which is now the reverse, since the north, which makes up less than a quarter of the world population is now in possession and control of these resources (Mimiko, 2012).

Besides colonization theory, uneven immigration patterns in the world have also contributed to the existence of the north-south divide. These patterns lead to economic inequalities. For instance, many people have decided to leave their countries to settle in the more developed countries to partake of the perceived wealth of these developed nations. This causes brain drain in the countries where the people migrate and a gain to the recipient countries. Given what resource education is, those countries that suffer from brain drain remain disadvantaged in many ways, most notably economically.

The situation of the north-south divide is thought to change in the near or far future. This is because it is thought that the free trade between the northern and southern countries is likely to end the gulf between these countries automatically. However, the leaders of the countries in the south, being skeptical of the sentiments, have come up with alternative opinions. Key among them are the demand for a link between the prices of manufactured imports and commodity exports, the rational transfer of enabling technology from the North to the South, and the cancelation of debts of the countries in the South. Also, the leaders have called for proper representation of underdeveloped and developing countries in international institutions such as the United Nations Security Council (Therien, 2010).

All these efforts—representation at international institutions, efforts to stabilize world economies, government aid given to third-world countries by developed countries, and many more—show a dependence on each other between countries. Though some countries appear to be disadvantaged, coexistence still exists between countries. This is because, for instance, third-world countries are sources of raw materials for developed countries and a great market for the developed countries’ products. However, this relationship may not be exactly symbiotic.

Work Cited

Mimiko, Oluwafemi (2012).

Globalization: The Politics of Global Economic Relations and International Business. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic. p. 47.

Therien, Jean-Philippe (2010). “Beyond the North-South divide: The two tales of world poverty.” Third World Quarterly . 20 (4): 723–742.doi : 10.1080/01436599913523 .JSTOR 3993585

Mimiko, Oluwafemi (2012).Globalization: The Politics of Global Economic Relations and International Business . Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic. pp. 48–54.



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