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uneven development

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On a multitude of scales, the condition of an economy which has not benefited equally from development either in a spatial sense and/or within classes in society. Henderson et al. (2000) World Bank Working Paper WPS 2456: ‘The most striking fact about the economic geography of the world is the uneven spatial distribution of economic activity, including the coexistence of economic development and underdevelopment. High-income regions are almost entirely concentrated in a few temperate zones, half of the world's GDP is produced by 15 percent of the world's population, and 54 percent of the world's GDP is produced by countries occupying just 10 percent of the world's land area. The poorest half of the world's population produces only 14 percent of the world's GDP, and 17 of the poorest 20 nations are in tropical Africa.’ ‘The world…cannot become smaller while such grotesque inequalities divide us’ (D. Massey, Open2Net).

Global uneven development may be seen to be a result of capitalism, based as it is on competition and accumulation, but inequality is not unique to capitalism. For a national case study, see Hsu and Cheng (2002) Reg. Studs 36, 8 on uneven development in post-war Taiwan. Gallup et al. (1998) NBER Working Paper 6849 find that location and climate have large effects on income levels and income growth, through their effects on transport costs, disease burdens, and agricultural productivity, among other channels, and geography seems to be a factor in the choice of economic policy itself. ‘Many geographical regions that are not conducive to modern economic growth have a combination of dense population and rapid population increase. This is especially true of populations that are located far from the coast, and thus that face large transport costs for international trade, as well as populations in tropical regions of high disease burden. Furthermore, much of the population increase in the next thirty years is likely to take place in these geographically disadvantaged regions’ (Gallup et al. (1999) Harvard U. CID W. Papers, 1).

Business development is still very uneven within the UK, because of local transaction costs, variations in institutional thickness, agglomeration, external and urbanization economies, and the continued importance of face-to-face contacts. Transport costs, despite dissenting views, are still important (Bennett, Graham, and Bratton (1999) TIBG 24, 4). Peripheral location appears to affect economic development strongly in China. Wei has shown that the per capita gross value of industrial output of the coastal provinces, such as Guangdong, was double that of provinces deep inland, such as Xizang (2006, J. Planning Lit. 20). J. Y. Lin (2005, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research Development Economics Working Papers 656) proposes that flawed development strategy is responsible for the increasing disparities in economic development among Chinese provinces.

Uneven DevelopmentWorld per captia GDPSource: World Bank

Uneven Development in China

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