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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #1
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Equatorial Poverty


In my World Geo class, we just finished studying South America and I noticed that nations formed close to the Equator/in tropical regions have a large amount of poverty-stricken citizens, a large amount of economic disparity, and frequent governmental revolutions. I noticed this just didn't occur in South America, but across the world. Central Africa and Southeast Asia are also part of this pattern that is developed. Because of this, the further North, or South, but more North, you go, the more stable nations are, economically, politically, and socially. So is my hypothesis correct or just a figment of my imagination? I am also aware this pattern is disrupted and is not applicable everywhere along the equator.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #2

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An interesting thought in respect to South America.

South America seems to have a default position of rule by dictator, military or otherwise. One wonders if this is partly due to the Spanish ancestry, in the sense of the way the countries were set up in the first place. Dictators like Pizarro, then Viceroys, then revolution/dictator, then revolution, then revolution/dictator......

Not unlike the history of Spain prior to 1976 really. The South American colonies were founded on Holy War, bloodshed and conquest, and this way of doing business seems to have percolated through the mindset. If in doubt, fight. And this cannot help the economic stability over the centuries.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 06:23 PM   #3

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What's the governmental situation in Brazil and Indonesia like then?
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Old January 28th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qymaen View Post
In my World Geo class, we just finished studying South America and I noticed that nations formed close to the Equator/in tropical regions have a large amount of poverty-stricken citizens, a large amount of economic disparity, and frequent governmental revolutions. I noticed this just didn't occur in South America, but across the world. Central Africa and Southeast Asia are also part of this pattern that is developed. Because of this, the further North, or South, but more North, you go, the more stable nations are, economically, politically, and socially. So is my hypothesis correct or just a figment of my imagination? I am also aware this pattern is disrupted and is not applicable everywhere along the equator.
Ah, you are a wise one, grasshopper!

In equatorial regions, living is easy. No need for heat, clothing, food is plentiful. The further you get away from the equator, the tougher life becomes. Like the bell curve, or the Frank-Starling curve, there is a high point where the environment stresses a society to new levels of greatness and efficiency. Too far away from the equator, the environment becomes too onerous, and no development on a societal level is possible. People just hunker down and try to get by.

There are other factors, of course, but this is a big one, if not the biggest.

IMO
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Old January 28th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qymaen View Post
In my World Geo class, we just finished studying South America and I noticed that nations formed close to the Equator/in tropical regions have a large amount of poverty-stricken citizens, a large amount of economic disparity, and frequent governmental revolutions. I noticed this just didn't occur in South America, but across the world. Central Africa and Southeast Asia are also part of this pattern that is developed. Because of this, the further North, or South, but more North, you go, the more stable nations are, economically, politically, and socially. So is my hypothesis correct or just a figment of my imagination? I am also aware this pattern is disrupted and is not applicable everywhere along the equator.
I've looked into this before. Steve has a point. People in tropical climates don't face such harsh living conditions, so they can have a typical day where they get up, go fishing, eat what they catch, pick some fruit, and owning shoes is not imperative. This means they can get by without that much money, and many do.

However, instilling social competition can alter this, as is the case in Singapore, for instance. So basically, people naturally tend to do as little as possible to survive, but if others around them start to have things that they don't they'll strive to equal their neighbors. It's an interesting aspect of human nature.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #6

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I just want to note in this thread that Belgium has broken the European record for longest government-formation, and is globally only second to Iraq. The Belgian government fell about a year ago, and attempts to create a new one have been unsuccessfull so far.

One could only imagine what would've happened was Belgium situated along the equator...
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Old January 28th, 2011, 02:24 AM   #7

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Another factor to consider is that all the early civilisations occured in the tropics, why were they able to start great civilisations only to have them crumble around them????

Its not colonialism as most of these ancient civilisations were in decline at the time of colonilisation.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 02:30 AM   #8

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Another factor to consider is that all the early civilisations occured in the tropics, why were they able to start great civilisations only to have them crumble around them????

.
Name one???
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Old January 28th, 2011, 03:56 AM   #9
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there are a large number of misconceptions in this thread.

the idea that living in the equatorial is easy shows a lot of ignorance in this subject. yes, the equatorial regions does not have harsh winters or hot summers but what it does have is a constant sweltering heat that can burn your skin off your body if you are out without protection. the concept that clothing is not required is rediculous. being situated at the equator meant that the UV rays from the sun is concentrated. without any form of protection, human skin will suffer from sunburns and if overexposed, several forms of skin cancers.

the high ambient, relatively constant temperature and wet conditions means that viral and bacterial activity is always high. malaria infected about 200m people in 2008 and killed approximately 800k in africa. war vets can also tell you how quickly infection can set-in in tropical areas

one also must not forget the effects of colonial rule. many europeans and americans think colonial rule as a benefit for the colonies. this isnt true at all. much of the wealth of the colonies, ie petroleum in indonesia, ores in malaysia, precious stones in africa were all transported back to the various colonial powers. this created a wealth gap between the colonial powers who were situated predominantly in the northern part of the equator (including japan) and the colonies at the equator and south of it. pretty much of SE Asia were still colonies up until 1950s. with a shorter time of independence, there is much development to achieve

someone mentioned about singapore. the primary reason singapore could emerge from the shadows is the availability of education. all singaporean citizens are required to undergo at least 10 years of compulsory education within public/autonomous schools with a standardized syllabus. in 2010, world bank recorded the percentage of 25-35 year old americans stood at 30%. for the same age bracket in singapore is listed as 50%. so much emphasis is placed on education that many countries adopt our syllabus and textbooks

is there competition in singapore? yes, we are a meritocratic country where opportunities are based on academic excellence but base this as the reason of our rise is unfair. many of the developed countries in the north have some form of social security. by some of the reasoning here, i could counter that it could allow people in non-competition and thus stagnating, or even going backwards

in conclusion, there are way much more factors than the lack of competition (which implies that people are unmotivated and reluctant to improve themselves) why equatorial countries are lagging behind
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Old January 28th, 2011, 03:59 AM   #10

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Aren't they all poor because their colonial powers didn't bother to develop more industries besides the Agricultural and Mining business ? Really ought' to be said its the British, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch (And others) who are to blame.
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