The Parameters of Development

WHAT are the factors that determine the developmental status, in timeline, of groups, communities, even countries? Exactly what factors influence the disparities in development and growth between two countries, which otherwise have comparable endowments in tangible resources? These and similar questions have preoccupied developmental scientists (Sociologists, Economists etc) for ages. Practical solutions to these questions are imperative to bridging the yawning gap in development among communities the world over.

It is very common to hear the phrase ‘North-South dichotomy’ when global development is the topic of discussion. In concrete terms, what does this mean and how do we break this down into easily resolvable practical components? It is no news that human communities in the Northern hemisphere have accomplished more, in terms of development, than their sister communities from the Southern hemisphere. Reasons for this extant scenario are many, spanning the political, sociological, economical even pure scientific continuum. It is important, however, to isolate three basic parameters which underpin all these other considerations. These are: Climatic, Cultural and the Context of individual interactions.

The inhabited, underdeveloped Southern hemisphere generally has two seasons i.e. the dry season and the rainy season, with average annual temperatures rarely below 25 centigrade. The inhabited, developed northern hemisphere has four seasons i.e. summer, autumn, winter and spring, with average annual temperature in the low teens, even single digits in some areas. This disparity in annual temperature values is a direct consequence of the South having significantly more sunny days than the North. The sun is good and we all want sunny lives. Solar energy is the primary source of energy for all life forms on the planet. Nevertheless, as the popular saying goes, “too much of a good thing is bad”, this is the case with the sunny South. Sunny days make people more affective, open, even talkative, but less amenable to hard work. It is not a mere coincidence that the vacation season for the working class of Europe and America is the summer season, when the sun is right overhead. The sun increases the rate of human biochemical process of perspiration, promoting dehydration and ultimately slowing down human productivity. It also engenders a perfect meso/thermophilic environment for all kinds of disease-inflicting microbes to thrive. On an annual scale, the summer period in Europe and America (June-September) has consistently been the yearly quarter with the least industrial productivity. Imagine the effect which doubling the summer months will have on industrial output and economic growth (GDP figures) in the Northern hemisphere.


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