Development of East Asia and Underdevelopment of Sub-Saharan Africa

Development and welfare of countries is influenced and shaped by a huge amount of interdependent historical, political, social, economic, and environmental factors. The current paper aims at revealing the main determinants, especially free trade, market access, private ownership, and competition that contribute to the prosperity of East Asian nations. In addition, much attention will be paid to several determinants, especially slave trade, corruption, isolation from market and agile trade, insufficient investment, poor quality of education, and lack of foreign support, that promote the underdevelopment of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The researchers differentiate two major categories of factors, including economic and non-economic determinants, which have the power to promote or hinder economic development of countries (Asafa, 2014). The most common types of economic factors that foster economic growth of countries are the following: abundance of natural resources, effectiveness of economic systems, conditions in foreign trade, and many others. However, there are numerous non-environmental factors that may also accelerate, as well as slow down the development of East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, including availability of human resources, the quality of education, political freedom, corruption, opportunity to develop, slave trade, foreign assistance, and many others (Asafa, 2014).

Taking into account the estimations of Rostow Walt Whitman, one of famous economists and political theorists in the USA, the development and status of countries on international arena is influenced by several stages of economic growth (Rostow’s model – the stages of economic development). In other words, the economist differentiates several main stages of economic development, including traditional society, transitional zone, the phase of take off, drive to maturity, and high mass consumption. He was a proponent of the idea that in case countries rely on diversification, continuous innovation, and independence from imports, their economic development accelerates (Rostow’s model – the stages of economic development). Amsden Alice (1991), who explores the processes of development in East Asia, shares the views of Rostow Walt Whitman that industrialization, which involves mass production of commodities, reliance on drastic technological innovations, significant industrial investments, and extensive reorganization of economy for the purpose associated with manufacturing are the main causes that contribute to the development of East Asia (Amsden, 1991). The researcher Amsden (1991) stresses that East Asia has faced rapid economic growth as it encompassed the most strong, powerful, and influential industrialized nations, especially Japan, South Korea, as well as Taiwan (Amsden, 1991). The researcher assures that the economy of East Asia has become one of the most successful, prosperous, dynamic, diversified, and booming due to the fact that East Asia should be viewed as home for such contemporary industrial giants as Mainland China, Hong Kong, and many other well-developed countries (Amsden, 1991).

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In addition, in one of her articles about Korea as an emerging giant in the world economy, Amsden Alice (1989) claims that industrialization, effective free-market principles, novel technology, active participation of the government in the processes of industrial development, and cooperation with international markets are effective factors that ensured a unique opportunity to Korea that belongs to the East Asia region to become one of the most influential players on the international scene (Amsden, 1989).

Bardhan Pranab (2008), who investigates the great rise and success of China and India, emphasizes that although extreme poverty was the most critical factor that slowed down the process of China’s development, numerous market reforms, global integration, and powerful entrepreneurial agencies are main forces that justify strikingly rapid growth and development of East Asia (Bardhan, 2008). Thus, according to the estimations of the researcher, global integration of countries and a series of well-developed market reforms contribute to the vibrant nature and increased competitiveness of the East Asia countries. In addition, the author of the article What Makes a Miracle (2008) provides convincing evidence that private ownership and competition are two powerful forces that have drastically improved the productivity of Chinese enterprises and, at the same time, positively influenced the economic development of East Asia (Bardhan, 2008). As a result, the researcher believes that positive effects of increased competition and ownership are enormous considering the fact that these determinants of success influence productivity and efficiency of firms and companies that shape economy of countries on the territory of East Asia.

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Roberts et al. (2015) explore the dynamic and sustainable economic development of East Asia and argue that extreme diversification of industrial production, development of free trade zones, and sharp increase in employment are crucially important for rapid economic development of East Asia. It is caused by the fact that these factors have given the chance to East Asia to hold the leading place in the world’s economy (Roberts, Hite, Chorev, 2015).

After outlining the main determinants that have contributed to economic development of East Asia, it is possible to stress that despite economic development of countries is considered to be very complex, sensitive, and multidimensional issue, modernization theory is considered to be the most prominent theory that explains sharp economic growth and development of East Asia (Inglehart, 2001). Modernization theory that focuses on transition from traditional and rural society to modern and industrial society is one of the most popular sociological theories. Moreover, it is supported by many researchers who believe that industrialization is the most powerful motivating force that has ensured a unique opportunity to East Asia to overcome extreme poverty and contribute to welfare of society, as well as to the wealth of nations (Gardner & Lewis, 2015). Generally speaking, modernization is one of the dominant theories that outlines remarkable economic development of East Asia as it concentrates on the viewpoint that industrialization, modernization, and innovation are main determinants that result in revolutionary economic chances of the East Asian countries (Gardner & Lewis, 2015).

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On the contrary, dependency theory is generally viewed as the most common theory that is extensively used by experts in economy and sociology to understand the main reasons of underdevelopment of many countries, including Sub-Saharan Africa (Sonntag, 2001). In general, dependency theory that supports the viewpoint that development should be viewed as an essentially unequalising process motivates researchers to think that rich countries become richer and all the rest will definitely become poorer (Gardner & Lewis, 2015).

The researchers differentiate numerous factors that hinder economic growth and development of Sub-Saharan Africa, including misrule, pervasive corruption on local and national levels, insufficient foreign assistance, lack of investments, poor quality of education, and vast proliferation of diseases (Asafa, 2015). Regardless of the fact that economists and sociologists differentiate numerous hindrances that prevent Sub-Saharan Africa from rapid development, colonial legacy, and colonial capitalism are considered to be the most common problems that contribute to underdevelopment of this region (Asafa, 2015). Most territory of Sub-Saharan Africa remains underdeveloped due to triple issues that include colonial capitalism, state terrorism, and racism that have been brutally imposed on people who live on these territories by powerful European colonial giants, including Spain, Portugal, England, and many other European nations (Asafa, 2015).

Therefore, threatening impacts of slave trade and corruption on development of Sub-Saharan Africa are not less significant. Asafa Jalata (2015), who explores the main causes of African underdevelopment, provides evidence that the processes of enslaving African people involve numerous illegal and inhuman activities, including kidnapping, raping, torturing, warfare, and many other forms of slave trade (Asafa, 2015). Taking into consideration statistical data, the number of young Africans who were enslaved and merchandized as commodities by European and American slave traders exceeds 13 million people. In addition, numerous credible sources provide evidence that thousands of Africans were illegally enslaved by Arabs, transported to Asia, and forced to work there for free on plantations and farms (Asafa, 2015).

The influence of corruption on development of Sub-Saharan Africa is tremendous as corruption and economic development are two opposite phenomena. Numerous empirical studies prove that corruption, which is directly linked to misuse of power and unfair ways of achieving certain goals, is the main force that makes the entire Sub-Saharan region suffer (Asafa, 2015). Corruption promotes underdevelopment of countries in this region as it contributes to unequal allocation of resources and distribution of wealth, gives no stimulus for modernization and technological innovations, fosters the development of shadow markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, and promotes poor quality of education and healthcare services. In addition, considering the fact that corruption demotivates government authorities in Sub-Saharan African to take immediate actions to modernize, it proves that misuse of power and absence of plans for rebuilding are two typical problems that slow down the development of countries in the given region (Asafa, 2015).

The Cold War manipulation by the USA, poor investments, and insufficient assistance of foreign countries also contribute to underdevelopment of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the fact that Western industrialized counties that were the most powerful donor groups that provided effective foreign aid to counties did not focus their attention on Sub-Saharan Africa (Brown, 2014). On the contrary, leading Western counties decided to allocate their significant funds to more productive and promising territories (Brown, 2014).

Finally, Sacks Jeffrey, who identifies and assesses the impact of diseases on economic degradation of Sub-Saharan Africa, proves that numerous ferocious diseases, including HIV pandemic, and malaria epidemic, contribute to underdevelopment of this region (Sachs, 2006).

Thus, after outlining the main determinants that promote sharp economic development of East Asia, and describing the main factors that contribute to underdevelopment of Sub-Saharan Africa, it is possible to come to conclusions that there are numerous economic and non-economic factors that influence and shape economic successes of the countries. The most powerful determinants that promote remarkable and progressive development of East Asia are development of free trade zones, private ownership, healthy competition, good access to international markets, technological innovation, and several other factors that are directly linked to industrialization. On the contrary, misrule, corruption, poor investments and foreign assistance, extremely low quality of education, and proliferation of ferocious diseases are the main problems that enhance underdevelopment of Sub-Saharan Africa.

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