The Full Wiki

Underdevelopment: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Underdevelopment is the state of an organization (e.g. a country) that has not reached its maturity.

or for under-developed please see the word 'northener'

Most Sub-Saharan African countries remain largely underdeveloped - street in Dakar, Senegal.

It is often used to refer to economic underdevelopment, symptoms of which include lack of access to job opportunities, health care, drinkable water, food, education and housing.



Underdevelopment takes place when resources are not used to their full socio-economic potential, with the result that local or regional development is slower in most cases than it should be. Furthermore, it results from the complex interplay of internal and external factors that allow less developed countries only a lop-sided development progression. Underdeveloped nations are characterized by a wide disparity between their rich and poor populations, and an unhealthy balance of trade.[1]

Extended overview

The economic and social development of many developing countries has not been even. They have an unequal trade balance which results from their dependence upon primary products (usually only a handful) for their export receipts. These commodities are often (a) in limited demand in the industrialized countries (for example: tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, bananas); (b) vulnerable to replacement by synthetic substitutes (jute, cotton, etc); or (c) are experiencing shrinking demand with the evolution of new technologies that require smaller quantities of raw materials (as is the case with many metals). Prices cannot be raised as this simply hastens the use of replacement synthetics or alloys, nor can production be expanded as this rapidly depresses prices. Consequently, the primary commodities upon which most of the developing countries depend are subject to considerable short-term price fluctuation, rendering the foreign exchange receipts of the developing nations unstable and vulnerable. Development thus remains elusive.[2]


The world consists of a group of rich nations and a large number of poor nations. It is usually held that economic development takes place in a series of capitalist stages and that today’s underdeveloped countries are still in a stage of history through which the now developed countries passed long ago. The countries that are now fully developed have never been underdeveloped in the first place, though they might have been undeveloped. [3]

Examples of Underdeveloped Countries and Regions

Political map as the Human Development Index.


Africa is the second-largest continent on the planet (after Asia) in both land area and population—with more than 800 million people living in fifty-four countries. With a total land area of more than 30,221,532 km2 (11,668,598.7 sq mi), Africa accounts for 20% of the land on the planet; its population accounts for one-seventh of the population of earth. It is also the most underdeveloped continent. [4]

Third World

The Third World refers to the technologically less advanced, or developing, nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They are generally typified as low income, having economies dependent on the export of major products to the developed countries in return for finished products. These nations also tend to have high rates of illiteracy, disease, and population growth, and unstable governments. Many are at the bottom of the league in terms of human development, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.[3]


Historically, there has been a deficiency of information and dependable statistics about Afghanistan's economy. The 1979 Soviet invasion and consequent civil war destroyed much of the country's limited transportation infrastructure and disrupted normal patterns of economic activity. Gross domestic product had fallen significantly because of loss of labor and capital and disruption of trade and transport. Continuing internal conflict disadvantaged both domestic efforts at reconstruction as well as international aid efforts. The country today however is beginning to make some progress. [5]


Though Nigeria is seen as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s burgeoning economies, it is also one of the countries with the vastet level of inequality as a consequence of it’s underdevelopment. According to the 2002 World Development Report, Nigeria’s GDO/capita dropped by 18.5% from 1980 to 1988, and its rate of change in GDP was negative 0.7%. In addition, the poorest 20% of the population had acess to 4.4% of the national income, compared to the richest 20% that consumed 55.7%, and 70.2% of the population earned less than $1.00 a day, putting at least 43% below the poverty line. [6] . Currently Nigeria is one of China’s major trade partner (due to oil sales) however the trend of inequality is only expanding.[7]

South Africa

It is argued that South Africa’s … dualist qualities of a 1st & 2nd economy. The 1st (wealth producing sector) being one that is integrated in the global economy through modern industrialization, mining, agricultural & financial services, and the 2nd a structural manifestation of poverty, underdevelopment & marginalization. With indicators such as GDP/capita at PPP of $11 240 in 2001, placing it as one the 50th wealthiest countries in the world , and on the other hand social indicators that rank it 111th in terms of HDI for the same year. [8]

Some of the causality of the underdevelopment is attributed to the institutionalized apartheid practices in South African politics, society and economics. The reforms that were introduced in 1994, have furthered the increase of inequality and uneven wealth distribution in the nation. As “Hoogeveen andO¨ zler (2005: 15) conclude that ‘Growth has not been pro-poor in South Africa as a whole, and in the instances when poverty declined for certain subgroups, the distributional shifts were still not pro-poor’.” Through the notion of adverse inclusion versus social exclusion du Toit draws attention to the fact that the present dynamics of the nation are not simply a result of being left out of mainstream economy, rather from the terms under which individuals are incorporated, . The individuals who find themselves incorporated are often not those that make up the majority of the population that lives in considerably unfavorable conditions. [9]


Ineffective policies in agriculture and government expenditure have been linked to the factors of terrorism in South Eastern Turkey. Agriculture and government services were identified as the more important components of the GDP of Turkey. Wherefore GDP was revealed to be helpful in explaining terrorism, due to the evidence of underdevelopment in South Eastern Turkey [10]


Modernization Theory

Modernization theory is a socio-economic theory, also known as the Development theory. This highlights the positive role played by the developed world in modernizing and facilitating sustainable development in underdeveloped nations. It is often contrasted with Dependency theory.[11]

The theory of modernization consists of three parts:

  • Identification of types of societies, and explanation of how those designated as modernized or relatively modernized differ from others;
  • Specification of how societies become modernized, comparing factors that are more or less conducive to transformation.
  • Generalizations about how the parts of a modernized society fit together, involving comparisons of stages of modernization and types of modernized societies with clarity about prospects for further modernization. [12]

Dependency Theory

Dependency theory is the body of theories by various intellectuals, both from the Third World and the First World, that suggest that the wealthy nations of the world need a peripheral group of poorer states in order to remain wealthy. Dependency theory states that the poverty of the countries in the periphery is not because they are not integrated into the world system, but because of how they are integrated into the system.

These poor nations provide natural resources, cheap labor, a destination for obsolete technology, and markets to the wealthy nations, without which they could not have the standard of living they enjoy. First world nations actively, but not necessarily consciously, perpetuate a state of dependency through various policies and initiatives. This state of dependency is multifaceted, involving economics, media control, politics, banking and finance, education, sport and all aspects of human resource development. Any attempt by the dependent nations to resist the influences of dependency could result in economic sanctions and/or military invasion and control. This is rare, however, and dependency is enforced far more by the wealthy nations setting the rules of international trade and commerce.

Dependency theory first emerged in the 1950s, advocated by Raul Prebisch whose research found that the wealth of poor nations tended to decrease when the wealth of rich nations increased. The theory quickly divided into diverse schools. Some, most notably Andre Gunder Frank, adapted it to Marxism. "Standard" dependency theory differs sharply from Marxism, however, arguing against internationalism and any hope of progress in less developed nations towards industrialization and a liberating revolution. Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso wrote extensively on dependency theory while in political exile. The American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein refined the Marxist aspect of the theory, and called it the "world system." [13]

According to Brazilian social scientist, Theotonio Dos Santos, dependence means a situation in which certain countries economies’ are conditioned by the development & expansion of another to which the former is subject to. He goes on to further clarify that the interdependence of two or more economies, and consequently world trade, assumes the form of dependence when dominant countries can create dependency only as a reflection of that expansion, which can have a negative effect on the subordinate’s immediate economy. [14]

TINA: There Is No Alternative

Neoliberal/Capitalist practices of the United States of America and Western Europe have been a significant part of the difficulty in solving the problem of underdevelopment. Through being incorpated into the World Capitalist System through imperialism & colonialism countries in the Africa, the Americas and Asia, where ‘old’ civilization were subordinated by ‘new’ ones, this facilitated them into the project of Development that emergred after the 2nd World War(OLUTAYO, OLUTAYO & OMOBOWALE).

Dependency Theory argues that development is impossible for the underdeveloped. Due to the ‘chains of dependency’ from the most advanced societies to the most less developed ones being linked through the expropriation/appropriation of economic surplus from the latter by the former, this process determining the social, political and economic structures of underdeveloped nations. Consequently there is a polarization of metropolis & satellite nations that leads to development for the metropolis through expropriation from the satellites that become underdeveloped. [15]


1. A. G. Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment,” Development: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences (2005).

2. A. K. Bagchi, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment (Cambridge University Press, 1982).









  1. ^ A. G. Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment,” Development: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences (2005).
  2. ^ A. K. Bagchi, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment (Cambridge University Press, 1982).
  3. ^ a b Underdevelopment of countries - World Problems - Issues Online
  4. ^ Poverty in Underdeveloped Countries—The Poorest of the Poor - Africa: The Poorest Continent
  5. ^ Afghanistan (12/07)
  6. ^ Irogbe, Kema "GLOBALIZATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT OF THE THIRD WORLD." Journal of Third World Studies 22.1 (2005): 41-68. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 17 Oct. 2009.
  7. ^ Pannel, Clifton W. "China's Economic and Political Penetration in Africa." Eurasian Geography & Economics 49.6 (2008): 706-730. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 25 Feb. 2009.
  8. ^ May, Julian, and Charles Meth "Dualism or underdevelopment in South Africa: what does a quantitative assessment of poverty, inequality and employment reveal?." Development Southern Africa 24.2 (2007): 271-287. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.
  9. ^ May, Julian, and Charles Meth "Dualism or underdevelopment in South Africa: what does a quantitative assessment of poverty, inequality and employment reveal?." Development Southern Africa 24.2 (2007): 271-287. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.
  10. ^ Feridun, Mete, and Selami Sezgin "REGIONAL UNDERDEVELOPMENT AND TERRORISM: THE CASE OF SOUTH EASTERN TURKEY." Defence & Peace Economics 19.3 (2008): 225-233. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Oct. 2009.
  11. ^ Modernization theory - Economics Dictionary and Research Guide
  12. ^ Modernization Theory - Defining Modernization Theory
  13. ^ Dependency theory
  14. ^ Irogbe, Kema "GLOBALIZATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT OF THE THIRD WORLD." Journal of Third World Studies 22.1 (2005): 41-68. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 17 Oct. 2009.
  15. ^ Olutayo, Akinpelu Olanrewaju, Molatokunbo Abiola Oluwaseun Olutayo, and Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale "'TINA', aids, and the underdevelopment problem in Africa." Revista de Economia Política / Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 28.2 (2008): 239-248. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

See also



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address