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Student Question

What are the internal and external causes of underdevelopment in the Global South? Does the dependency theory or modernization theory provide a better explanation for this underdevelopment?

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Internal causes of underdevelopment in the Global South include over-population, war, poor education, poor healthcare, corruption, poverty, and inequality. External causes of underdevelopment include unfair trading practices, colonialism and its legacy, and discriminatory practices in international politics and diplomacy.

Dependency theory focuses primarily on the external causes, stating that wealthy or "core" nations exploit peripheral nations and keep them in a position of dependency. These peripheral nations depend on the core nations for their economic growth, and the core nations prevent them from developing beyond a certain point.

Modernization theory also takes historical inequality into account, but focuses on the current lack of industrialization in the Global South. Proponents of the theory believe that poorer countries should focus on economic growth and industrialization, adjusting their cultural values and work ethic accordingly.

These two theories could both be correct, since they are really different perspectives rather than conflicting explanations. Modernization theory offers a more obvious solution, though proponents of dependency theory often advocate reparations or increased aid.

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