According to the generally accepted UNclassification, the civilization macroregions of the world include:
Central and Eastern Europe (including former socialist Europeancountries and former Baltic Republics of the USSR);
Russian-Euroasian region (former USSR, excluding Baltic states);
Northern Africa and Middle East;
Southern Asia (former territory of India and protectorates, andSri Lanka);
Latin America (often subdivided into South America, CentralAmerica, Caribbean Islands, and Mexico);
UN also singles out certain types ofcountries basing on the criteria adopted by this organization. For instance, UNintroduced the term “least developed countries” (LDC). It is often assumed thatthe introduction of this term was sponsored by industrially developed nationsto support the selective most favored country system differentiated by productsand countries against the opposition of proposition to establish a uniform mostfavored nation trade system sponsored by developing countries. In the end, theUN General Assembly set three criteria ofLDS:
Per capita income below US $ 200 a year (as compared with averageUS $ 700 for developing countries and US $ 8,000 for developed market economiesin 1979);
Less than 10 per cent share of industrial sector in GDP (ascompared with 19 per cent for developing countries at large);
Literacy level below 20 per cent.
First, the list included 24 countries. Byearly 1980s the official list included 31 states: Afghanistan, Bangladesh,Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Bhutan, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Haiti, Gambia,Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Yemen, Yemen Arab Republic, Comoros, Laos, Lesotho,Malawi, Mali, the Maldives, Nepal, Niger, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Western Samoa,Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia. Thetotal population of these countries was at 275 million, or about 13 per cent ofthe total population of developing countries. Later this share grew up to 36per cent and in the early 1990s reached 46 per cent. At present 10 leastdeveloped countries are situated in Asia, 31 – in Africa, 4 – in Oceania, and 1 – in Latin America. The totalpopulation of these countries is currently at about 500million.
LDC have a number of common characteristicspermitting to>
A considerable part of the population lives from agriculture,which as a rule provides only subsistence minimum and is practically outsidethe modern system of money relations.
Underdeveloped communications systems;
LDC industrial output (both in absolute and percentage terms) isusually at the lowest level. The majority of LDC show so slow pace of economicgrowth that per capita incomes in these countries often decrease;
Due to various reasons, LDC usually can not create export sectorssufficient to provide funds for purchase of imports. LDC exports (were carriedout) is usually comprised of two or three staples;
Although these countries have various natural resources, thedeposits are as a rule either not prospected, or not developed. Many LDC havesubstantial mineral and hydraulic power resources, however, the developmentrequires cooperation and coordination. In other countries such resources areeither absent, or deposits are small. The only way out of this situation ismore effective utilization of national labor resources.
However, all LDC experience an acute shortage of competentpersonnel necessary to plan, organize and manage the process of development dueto very low level of literacy and small number of students of primary,secondary, and higher education institutions.
LDC populations suffer of malnutrition, lack of clean drinkablewater, and lack of elementary public health care and education services.Highest birth and mortality rates are a specific feature of these countries.According to the President of the World Bank, “the population [of thesecountries] lives in absolute poverty;”
LDC dispose of insignificant domestic savings, while the level ofcapital investment is extremely low;
The majority of LDC to a great extent depend on international aid,which covers the larger part of their import expenditures. The situation isaggravated by the fact that the gap between these countries and the developingworld widens, the same as between the latter and the industrially developedcountries.
5. Typology of RF regions built by UNmethods (HDI– human development index)
According to this methodology livingstandards are the key criterion of the level and conditions of living. Livingstandards are determined by a number of economic, social, demographic,environmental, geographical, political, and moral factors.
Among objective factors there are singledout nutrition, housing conditions, employment level, development of services, education, socialsecurity. The subjective factors include job and living standards satisfaction, socialstatus, financialstanding of households, etc. Welfare of population is determined by the levelof incomes, accumulatedmaterial wealth (including housing, durable and household articles, and by the amount offree public goods (education, health care, etc.).
Growing living standards are reflected inincreasing consumption of durable goods (for instance, household appliances),what subsequently saves time and effort for house work, increase in leisuretime and spending for services, rest, culture, and tourism. The livingstandards depend on the level of information, civil and political liberties,etc. Social welfare of the family is an indicator of living standards,therefore, afterachieving a certain level of welfare, the society pays special attention topsycho-social, spiritual, and moral aspects of life.
Different methods are applicable todetermine living standards, for instance, the system of minimal consumerbudgets (physiological, subsistence and social minimums), which permit to determineshares of individuals below respective level (poverty line, etc.), or statisticalsurveys of household budgets allowing to determine the number of households withcertain aggregate incomes. For instance, in the USA there was calculated the minimal cost ofnutrition necessary to maintain physical existence of a four-member family (typical for the USA),which after adding cost of housing, health care, clothes, and transport wasincreased by three times,was set as the so called “poverty threshold.” Depending on the level ofeconomical development of a country, this indicator has more or less socialcontent (minimal income permitting to meet additional social needs, usuallyreduced to the most important requirements). In order to evaluate living standards moreprecisely, there are applied certain statistical indicators concerning consumption of goods (annual meatconsumption per person, etc.), or services (hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants).
For a rather long time (since 1961) themajority of countries used >
The system of social indicators elaboratedby the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is analyzed in article“Kachestvo zhizni (Living standards) by A. A. Tkachenko. The system comprises 8 major aspectsof life: health, development via education, employment and quality of jobs, leisureand rest, development ofconsumer markets (goods and services), environment, individual security, socialopportunities and social activity*
In the 1970s, the West experienced socalled movement for social indicators. For the first time the new value measuring humandevelopment was introduced by the first Human development report in 1990*
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