|Canada||Saudi Arabia||United States||Japan||Afghanistan||Mali|
|infant mortality (deaths per 1000 live births)||4.85||15.61||6||2.21||121.63||108.7|
|Life expectancy in years||81.48||74.35||78.49||83.91||49.72||53.06|
|Fertility (births per 1000 women)||10.28||19.19||13.7||8.39||39.3||46.6|
|GDP per capita PPP in dollars||$41,500||$25,700||$49,800||$36,200||$1,000||$1,100|
Source: The World Factbook.
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It has become quite common to explain countries’ successes and failures in terms of their willingness to progress. The developed world claims that the developing and Third World countries do not want to give up their traditionalist attributes and move towards a better state of wellbeing.
However, the data provided in the table reveal considerable disparities in the way different countries develop and grow. These data can be interpreted either in terms of the dependency theory or the theory of modernization.
The modernization theory of development relies on the assumption that new technologies and industrialization are the two major prerequisites of countries’ continuous economic growth.
In other words, those countries, which want to advance themselves economically, socially, politically, and culturally, must discard the technologies and principles of production that have become obsolete.
They must open themselves to new knowledge. In this sense, and according to the statistical data, Canada, Japan, and the United States have already achieved the highest level of modernization through capitalism and industrialization.
The rise of new social and economic institutions has paved the way to the emergence of the new, developed world, which took most of its resources from the poorest countries and, consequently, greatly contributed to the existing social stratification at a global scale.
Here, Saudi Arabia is the state, which is still developing. The statistical data for Saudi Arabia implies that the country is moving in the direction of capitalism and technological development, while also borrowing the best features and achievements from the West.
Its GDP per capita is still below the average in the western world, but it has all chances to become part of the civilized western reality.
However, the modernization theory cannot explain everything. The patterns of global stratification are very complex. The dependency theory best reflects the gruesome picture of poverty, low life expectancy, and unprecedentedly high infant mortality rates in Africa and the Middle East.
The statistical data for Afghanistan and Mali imply that the exploitative relationship between the developed and underdeveloped worlds is still real.
Based on the dependency theory, internal motivation and willingness to adopt new technologies are not enough to support countries in their development strategies.
It is through exploitation that the developed world manages to maintain its “developed” image. Afghanistan and Mali rank the highest in terms of their infant mortality and fertility rates. Their GDP per capita is too low to satisfy the most basic domestic needs.
The history of exploitation has left these countries unable to satisfy the needs of their societies. They have to share their resources and provide cheap labor to deal with the wealth concerns of the developed world.
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They become dependent on the western world, while the western world does not invest anything in their development and infrastructure.
However, with the lack of even basic means of living, these countries hardly have any power to change their current position. It is difficult to imagine that they will improve their economies and lives at any time soon.