The Brandt Line, also known as the North-South divide, it is a divisionary line which simply separates the rich countries in the North from the poor countries in the South. It encircles the world at latitude of 30°N. It crosses North and Central America, North of Africa and India, and then it goes down towards the South, placing Australia and New Zealand above the line. The Brandt line does take into account different development factors such as health care facilities, gross domestic product, education levels etc.
How was the Brandt Line formed?
Over thirty years ago, a commissioned chaired by Willy Brandt, former chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, published a report “North-South; A programme for survival” in 1980. The whole point of the report was to create a boundary line between the North and the South.
Not all countries have developed at the same rate and globally there is an unequal distribution of wealth. Most economically developed countries (MEDCs) cover only 20% of the world’s population but have 80% of the world’s wealth, and are located in the northern hemisphere and include countries like USA, Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan etc. the southern hemisphere with African countries, for example.
There are a lot of arguments put forward regarding the location of the Brandt Line. The line portrayed the lack of industrial development in South America and Africa, firstly because of their demographics and secondly, due to their exploitation as colonies by Europe’s countries from the 16th to 19th centuries.
It is critical to understand that the status of some countries is static and that the pattern is likely to distort due to the fast development of some of the Southern countries, many of them newly industrialised countries (NICs) including India, Thailand, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mexico etc. these countries are experiencing fast development on the back of growing manufacturing industries and exports. For example, the GDP per capita for Mexico in the year 2010 was $13, 900, and it currently rose to $15, 224. According to the Goldman Sachs, by 2050, the largest economies in the world will be China, Mexico, India, Brazil and USA. Turkey and South Africa are classified as developed countries by the CIA. Some South American countries like Brazil were already developing in the 1970s, making the Brandt Line out of date by 1981.
Economic development patterns have become complex and some parts of countries have developed quicker than the whole of the country. For example, Hong Kong and Dubai. Similarly, some countries in South East Asia, like Thailand and Malaysia have grown rapidly since 1981, and hence, there are more NICs in the world than at that time. Due to the fast development of some countries and the same stability of few, the gap between the rich and poor has widened.
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