• Chevan

Why are some countries richer than others?

Disparities exist between various countries around the world, this is a fact that is made apparent through the various classifications for countries that exist based on established criteria in stratification systems. In narrowing this down, this article will be focusing mainly on economies and how they determine which countries are developed (first world) or developing (second and third world).

We must first acknowledge that there is a multitude of reasons why some countries today are doing drastically better than others, these include but are not limited to slavery and colonization, wars, discoveries, inventories, and resources. The harsh reality is that the world as we know it today is a product of major events and happenings that have taken place since the beginning of mankind. What started as ancient civilizations became the medieval world, before evolving into the modern societies that we enjoy today. Dissecting each of these would take a substantial amount of time and effort as they are each extremely detailed. Instead, we will start the focus on the era of slavery through to present times.

As it existed over five hundred years ago, the world’s dominant powers were mainly the countries in the eastern hemisphere focusing particularly on those from the continents of Europe and Asia. While countries in the Middle East were believed to have been enslaving people earlier, European countries are more explicitly known for having practiced slavery, as it relates to the act being done to the people of countries in the western hemisphere and from the continents of Africa and Asia. Notably, slavery dates back so long ago that it cannot be easily traced back to any time from the past. In continuing, Great Britain, Spain, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands, and later the United States colonized overseas territories from the fifteenth century through to the twentieth century. During these immoral and callous periods of forced enslavement and exploitation, countries that partook in the act greatly grew and developed their economies through the acquisition of the wealth that came from the economic activities that they oversaw within these territories. Cotton, sugar cane, tobacco, and spices were some of the most profitable products during these periods.

Using the wealth they generated from this, some of the most developed countries of the world today got the foundation they needed to guarantee their prosperity for decades. The oppressed nations bore the expense of this, as they had their resources depleted and their people have taken advantage of, then left to fend for themselves after slavery became universally abolished and the practice of indentured labour stopped to some extent. Additionally, though conflicts and inventions took place during the period of slavery, in modern history, the two world wars that led to alliances and the formation of mutually beneficial world organizations/agreements alongside the various instrumental technological advancements and world-renowned products from the twentieth century that has significantly impacted the contemporary world today, are associated with the countries that are soaring today economically – developed, first-world nations. Thus, most underdeveloped nations (developing and the third world) are unfortunately victims of happenings from the past as well as issues such as limited or inferior resources, small populations, lack of technological advancements, climate and geographic phenomenons, etc.

Today, to rectify this, there have been several attempts to aid developing countries in obtaining sustainable economic development such as trading with them, permitting unrestricted trade regulations, and allowing free travels and investments. While these have been helpful, unfortunately, the disparity still exists and will likely continue to do so unless breakthrough economic happenings take place within the economies of these developing countries