Global Stratification Chapter 12. An Overview The Extent of Poverty Modernization Theory Dependency Theory. High-Income Countries.
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About three-fourths of the people in high-income countries live in or near cities. Production in rich nations is capital-intensive; that is, it is based on factories, big machinery, and advanced technology.
Two-thirds of people live in cities, and industrial jobs are common. The remaining one-third of the people live in rural areas, where most are poor and lack access to schools, medical care, adequate housing, and even safe drinking water.
Low-income countries, where most people are very poor, are largely agrarian societies with some industry. Most of the sixty nations are in African and southern Asia. Low-income countries cover 28 percent of the planet’s land. Population density is high although it is greatest in Asian countries than in central African nations.
Poverty in poor countries is more extensive than it is in rich nations such as the United States.
The typical adult in a rich nation, such as the U.S. consumes about 35,000 calories a day, an excess that contributes to obesity and related health problems. The typical adult in a low-income country not only does more physical labor but also consumes just 2,000 calories a day. The result is undernourishment: too little food or not enough of the right kinds of food.
In rich societies, the work women do typically is unrecognized, undervalued, and underpaid. Women in poor countries work in sweatshops and factories that make much of the clothing and other products that is consumed in rich countries. Families depend on women’s income while at the same time, tradition bars many women from attending school and gives them primary responsibility for raising children and running the household.
The entire world was poor several centuries ago; the Industrial Revolution brought affluence to high-income countries; as industrialization gradually transforms poor societies, all nations are likely to become more equal and alike.
Global parity was disrupted by colonialism, which made some countries rich while making others poor; barring radical change in the world capitalist system, rich nations will grow richer and poor nations will become poorer.
Global economic relations—historical colonialism and now multinational corporations—have enriched high-income countries while making low-income nations economically dependent.
Role of Rich Nations
Rich nations have concentrated global resources, conferring advantages on themselves while generating massive foreign debt in low-income countries; rich nations impede the economic development of poor nations.