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Living Standards in a Changing World


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Title: Living Standards in a Changing World

Living Standards in a Changing World
Human Development Index
  • Every year the United Nations ranks UN member
    countries according to standard of living in the
    Human Development Index. It includes life
    expectancy, literacy rate, and GDP per capita.
  • Per Capita GDP- gross domestic product is the
    value of all goods and services produced in a
    country in one year. Per capita is the amount
    each person produces.
  • The 2009 report showed that people in 85
    countries were worse off than they were in the
  • The wealth of 200 richest people in the world in
    2008 was greater than the combined income of
    approximately 40 of the worlds population.
  • Despite the efforts of the UN and non-government
    organizations (NGOs) such as Save the Children
    and Oxfam, the gap between the rich and poor
    countries continues to grow.

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The Divided Planet
  • Developed countries- mostly the more
    affluent(wealthy) countries.
  • Infrastructure-transportation, communication,
    links, schools, hospitals.
  • Newly Industrialized countries (NICs)- those
    building up industries and infrastructure, such
    as Indonesia and Brazil.
  • Developing countries- those that do not have a
    modern infrastructure or many industries.
  • Heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs)

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Closing the Development Gap
  • In 2000, a major worldwide initiative was
    launched to close the gap in living standards
    between developed and developing countries.
  • All United Nations member states adopted eight
    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
  • By 2015, the world would have less poverty,
    hunger, and disease, greater survival rates and
    prospects for mothers and their infants,
    education for all, equal opportunities for women,
    an improved physical environment.

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Measuring Living Standards
  • Levels of economic development are hard to
    measure accurately.
  • Developing economies have many people who make
    goods at home and trade them in local
  • The wealth of a country is not shared among the
    people. For example, in Qatar the 2009 GDP was
    121, 400 US because of the income from the sale
    of oil resources.
  • Quality of life includes health, levels of
    nutrition, life expectancy, literacy rate, and
    the status of women and children
  • A person living in poverty in Canada has access
    to government programs that provide a safety net
    of services, such as health care and education.
    In developing countries, a very poor urban family
    is likely to live in a dwelling made from scrap
    materials with no electricity, sanitation or safe
  • Quality of life depends on more than meeting the
    necessities of life. Many are denied freedom of
    expression, economic freedom, and the right to
    safe and clean environment.

An Urban World and Globalization
  • More people live in cities than ever before.
    Various reasons can push people to leave land and
    others are attracted to cities for a better life.
  • The UN-HABITAT State of the Worlds Cities
    2006-2007 report found that poor people living in
    urban areas are as badly off than rural
    populations. They face similar issues in health,
    education, employment, mortality (death rate per
    1000 people), and malnutrition.
  • Many people in the developed world believe
    globalization ( spread of ideas, information, and
    culture around the world) brings free trade,
    cheaper goods, and access to technology, which in
    turn contribute to wealth and standard of living.
  • Many see this as a threat because their job may
    be sent to a country with cheaper labour or fewer
    environmental protection policies.
  • China and India have benefited from globalization
    and have seen a rise in their standard of living.
  • Many developing nations are in debt and their
    industries and natural resources are controlled
    by multinational corporations (MNCs).

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Measuring Poverty
  • Measured differently in developed and developed
  • Poverty line-unable to afford a minimum of food,
    clothing, shelter, health care and education
  • in developing countries, the poverty line is
    about 1.25 per person per day
  • The World Bank in 2008 showed 1.4 billion (one in
    four) people in developing countries were living
    on less than 1.25 per day
  • Statistics Canada uses a low income cut-off
    (LICO) to determine those living in
    povertyhousehold that spends 70 of its income
    on food, clothing, and shelter.
  • The National Council of Welfare (NCW) differs
    from Statistics Canada in determining LICOs. The
    NCW uses after-tax income to measure poverty.

The Poverty Trap
  • About 1 billion people in developing countries go
    hungry every day. Yet the world produces enough
    food to feed every single people on Earth.
  • The problem is that poor people can not afford
    the food that is available.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the
    World Bank (agencies of the United Nations) gave
    loans and development assistance to help improve
    standards of living through economic growth.
  • They encourage developing countries to engage in
    megaprojects to promote economic growth.
  • Many of these initiatives caused environmental
    damage and did not improve the countries
  • In the 1960s, Western banks loaned billions of
    dollars to newly independent African countries
    for megaprojects. These nations main income came
    from exporting minerals and agricultural
    products. A world economic slowdown led to a
    collapse in prices for these commodities, making
    it difficult to repay the loans.

The Cycle and Burden of Debt
  • Western banks and their governments encouraged
    the IMF and the World Bank to lend countries
    money to pay off their debts.
  • Today African countries owe 227 billion.
  • IMF told these countries to also restructure
    their economies to help repay their debts. IMF
    encouraged foreign investment, cash crops for
    export and private companies to run some govt
    services. These measures are called structural
    adjustment programs (SAPs)
  • Poor countries are forced to sacrifice spending
    on health and education to meet the demands of
    SAPs and repay debts.
  • Many countries that are in debt have few natural
    resources or receive low prices for them on the
    world market. Their resources are under control
    of foreign multinational corporations.
  • West Africa produces 70 of the worlds cocoa,
    but it must sell its crops to four multinational
    corp. that control the price. Very little of the
    profit filers back to the farmers. This makes it
    difficult to pay back their debts.

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Debt Relief
  • The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
    Initiative was launched in 1996 by the
    International Development Association (IDA) and
    IMF. The goal was to ensure that poor countries
    are not crippled by their debts.
  • The HIPC provides debt relief to poor countries
    with external debts that severely burden export
  • By the end of 2008, the World Bank and IMF had
    committed more than US57 billion to help HIPC
    restructure their debts.
  • Many governments of developed countries have
    forgiven the HIPC debt.
  • Canada has forgiven all overseas development aid
    debt to HIPCs (Highly Indebted Poor Countries)
    except Myanmar (formerly Burma) which has a
    military dictatorship.
  • more bilateral aid for development (assistance
    from one government to another) money given as
    grants now (instead of loans)

The Vulnerable Ones  Women and Children
  • Male-dominated societies in developing countries
  • Women and children may have no legal rights
  • Women may even be killed to satisfy a familys
  • May have to eat whatever is left after men have
    finished their meals malnutrition
  • Women may have to work more than 12 hrs each day
  • They are responsible for more than 2/3 of the
    food production and are often left to support the
    family when men migrate in search of work.
  • Literacy rate is lower among women than men in
    the developing world.
  • Only 1/3 of girls in rural India go to school
    compared to more than half of boys.
  • Girls are kept at home to look after the younger
    children and help with chores.

Education is the Solution
  • A decline in the number of children a woman has
    in her lifetime frees her to improve her lot and
    that of her children. Studies show that
    better-educated women tend to marry later and
    have fewer children. Because they are literate,
    they have a better understanding of
    contraception, and may be able to resist family
    pressures to have more children.
  • The children of educated women are also more
    likely to survive because their mothers know the
    importance of immunization, clean water, and good

Children in Crisis
  • Famine, disease, war, and a host of other
    problems prey on societys most vulnerable
  • Children in some developing countries have few
    educational opportunities and are often exploited
    as child labour. Some are even trapped in the sex
  • The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)
    published a Progress of Nations Report (PNR) on
    the welfare of children. It is based on the
    mortality rates of children under the age of 5,
    the percentage of children who are moderately or
    severely underweight, number of children who do
    not attend primary school, risks from armed
    conflict, and risks from HIV/AIDS

Working Children
  • Abandoned children in cities survive by begging,
    stealing, or selling sex.
  • Root causes of child labour are poverty and no
    access to education.
  • The first two Millennium Development Goals are to
    aim to wipe out extreme poverty and achieve
    universal primary education.
  • Children forced to work in unsafe conditions.
  • Many children are forced to work as bonded labour
    to help pay off their families debts.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO)
    estimates there are 100 million girls working as
    child labourers. Girls are sometimes pulled out
    of school to earn money so their brothers can get
    an education. They have double the burden as they
    have to work and complete house duties.

Boys cleaning new carpets in Fayum, Egypt.
     Rural farming boy in Bolivia tends his flock
of sheep.
Mauritanian girls weave a straw rug.
Columbia boy shifts through trash for items of
value to sell.
Young boys carrying bricks at a construction site
to earn a living in New Delhi, India.
Children selling handicrafts in Bangkok,
Clean Water A Basic Human Need
  • In 2002, about 1.2 billion people around the
    world did not have access to clean or enough
  • Climate change, which has contributed to extreme
    droughts and damaging floods, is adding to the
  • Open water sources are contaminated. Rivers that
    supply water are also used for washing and
    disposing waste.
  • Irrigation for agriculture takes the largest
    share of water supplies in the developing world.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates
    that improving drinking water, sanitation, and
    hygiene could prevent about 10 of diseases
  • Cholera and typhoid are among the diseases caused
    by bacteria that breed in unclean water.

The Scourge of Epidemics
  • Malaria is prevalent in 106 countries, affecting
    half of the worlds population. More than 240
    million cases of malaria were diagnosed in 2008.
    At least a million of these people will die. Many
    of them will be under the age of five.
  • Why is it an epidemic in the developing world?
  • Help is not available in slums, forest clearing
    in South America and Asia allows sunlight to warm
    standing water, creating breeding grounds for
  • Way of preventing malaria is to use
    insecticide-treated bed nets to protect people
    from being bitten while they sleep.
  • DDT, a chemical that nearly eradicated malaria in
    the 1960s is also effective but it was banned
    because of its over use in agriculture.

HIV/ AIDS Pandemic
  • Treatments are too costly for those who suffer in
    developing countries.
  • HIV/AIDs pandemic affects 33 million people
  • More than 2 million children under 15 years of
    age were living with HIV and 430 000 children
    became newly infected.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the centre of this
  • Those dying from the pandemic are often
    productive workers so this will have long-term
    effects culturally and economically. (Botswana)
  • There are at least 1 million AIDS orphans in
    sub-Saharan Africa.
  • These children may face poverty, homelessness, or
    loss of education and are often forced to take on
    the role of parent to younger siblings.
  • The international community has been slow to
    react to the seriousness of the problem.
  • It requires the cooperation of many national and
    international agencies.
  • Canada has been one of the leaders in
    establishing the Joint United Nations Programme

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Helping to Improve Living Standards
  • Foreign aid
  • Official development assistance (ODA) is
    delivered by governments.
  • Non-government organizations (NGOs) give another
    type of aid.
  • Multilateral aid is funded by a number of
    governments, and usually involves large-scale
    programs like dam building.
  • Bilateral aid goes directly from one country to
  • Much bilateral aid is tied aid, giving conditions
    attached. For example, donated money must be
    spent on goods bought from the donor country.

Canadas Foreign Aid Program
  • In 1968 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his
    government created the Canadian International
    Development Agency (CIDA) to administer Canadas
    aid to developing countries.
  • CIDAs priorities basic human needs, women in
    development, infrastructure services, human
    rights, democracy, and good government, private
    sector development, and the environment.

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