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‘What Is The North South Divide, And Why Has Its Continuing Relevance Been Called Into Question?’

1526 words - 7 pages

The issue of the North-South divide has been put on diplomatic tables oftentimes in the last
century. It has become an area of various discussions, negotiations and resolutions among the
leaders of more or less influential nations. When we think about the North-South divide, we
should take a look at geopolitics which gives us an understanding of social, cultural,
economic and political differences between these two regions, more commonly referred to as
the Global North and the Global South. “The Global North or “core” countries are the
developed world that has control of the means of production and a vastly larger percentage of
wealth in comparison to the poorest countries. The global South or less developed countries
are considered to be “peripheral” nations because they are not in the centre of trade, industry,
or high level services and therefore do not hold the necessary amount of wealth that a country
needs in order to exert political leverage” . In general, the North consists of the United States,
Canada, Europe and developed parts of East Asia. There are certain exceptions like
dependencies of developed countries (Australia, New Zealand or South Africa) lying in the
southern hemisphere, but belonging to the developed northern part. The South includes Latin
America, Africa and countries of developing Asia.

First of all, the roots of the North-South divide date back in the history to 1861 and beginning
of the American Civil War. Its causes were based on economic differences between the North
and the South. While in the northern states mature industry was one of their prime advantages,
the economy in the southern states was based on agricultural activities (cultivation of cotton)
and cheap labour. This war meant an acceleration of industrialization and empowerment of
the northern states on one side, and the abolition of slavery system and acknowledgment of
democratic principles in the southern states on the other side. The North-South division has
its continuance in the colonization era during the Second World War when the colonial
experience left southern countries non autonomous and dependent from their colonizers.
Moreover, the gap between these two hemispheres deepened during the Cold War with “the
idea of categorizing countries by their economic and developmental status and the
classifications of East and West“ .

Neither today there can be stated one clear answer on the question what has been the cause of this persistent world division. There have been many of them; that is the only thing that historians, economists and experts in the field can agree on. There exist vary of theories regarding to the North-South divide that can be taken as a basic division for puzzling out the most relevant answer.

To begin with, the most significant theory relevant to the North-South divide is, in my opinion, the dependency theory. “Dependency can be defined as an explanation of the economic development of a state in terms of the external...

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