Tuesday May 31, 2011 – Periods 4 & 8
Economic development is the process by which nations increase their economic output and improve their citizens’ lives. For many developing countries, globalization has been the key to economic development. However, some of the world’s less developed countries have failed to experience such gains.
International organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations (UN), World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) play key roles in globalization. The United Nations uses the Human Development Index (HDI) to measure a country’s development level based on life expectancy, education, and standard of living. The WTO and World Bank classify nations into three categories based on economic indicators, including GDP: developed countries, developing countries, and least developed countries. The United Nations uses the Human Development Index (HDI) to measure a country’s development level based on life expectancy, education, and standard of living.
One controversial issue the IMF addresses is the high level of foreign debt held by developing countries. Some experts advocate a policy of debt forgiveness to cancel loans and allow developing countries to escape the debt cycle.
Globalization is often accused of spreading of American customs and cultures to other countries. Critics fear that the flood of Western products and ideas may crowd out local traditions and hasten the extinction of many world languages. Globalization has the potential to enrich cultures by introducing new ideas, technologies, foods, and arts. Multinational corporations often adapt their products and business practices to conform to local traditions.
Despite an overall worldwide decrease in poverty, about one-sixth of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 per day.