Once there lived a king. He loved his people so dearly that he wanted them get the best gifts of life and enjoy every moment in its fullness. So he called the wise men of his court and told them to go round the globe, visit libraries, do research, interact with the sages of other countries and return with the magic formula of getting the best gifts this life can offer.
Afterwards what happened?
What did the wise men do?
Were they able to work out the gift formula?
Was the formula acceptable to the king and his people?
Please watch the play for answers.
It may be easy to answer the question by saying that the developing countries are poor because they are poor. The question again is why so? The main reason is population explosion. Whatever progress made by this category of countries is effectively counterbalanced by an ever increasing population. It is like a typical family. If the number of children is more than four and the daily or monthly income moderately increases, the typical family will have problems in later years to make ends meet. It won’t have a scope of savings and its financial difficulties will keep multiplying. Similarly a country, having to take care of over a billion people, will always find itself scuffing for cash. Even if it makes significant progress in mopping up revenues, expenses would outpace those. The result is low or no savings. Such countries are usually forced to apply for loans from international banks and financial institutions. After having got the funds, the recipient developing countries would find it difficult to repay or debt-service as undertaken by them.
Another aspect that typifies a developing country is its grossly inadequate sanitation and hygiene. The consequence of this is outbreak of diseases and at times epidemics. The main reason for this serious shortcoming is meager allocation of funds and resources for up-keep of the country. It is like a Domino Effect. One bad occurrence will trigger off a chain of several reverses.
In this context, it might be appropriate to invoke China, the emerging super power (or, already one?) Before 1975, China was lagging behind India in all walks of life. Its Per Capita income was nearly half of India’s. Undaunted, China was in search of the main reason why it was lagging behind several countries of the world, including India. It figured out that rapid population growth rate had prevented it from making real progress and lift its population out of poverty and squalor. After considerable deliberations, China promulgated an ordinance that ordered each Chinese couple not to bear more than one child. The one-child policy made the people wary. It is customary for any couple anywhere to have two children, at least: one heir, one spare. But the Chinese were abruptly deprived of that small luxury. They were disallowed to have more than one child. If anyone broke the rule, he would lose the government provided benefits like subsidized food ration, health care, bank loan, etc. Gradually, the Chinese people started complying with the strict one-child policy. The population slowly stabilized and eased the pressure that had built on the nation. In about 10-15 years, China made giant strides in major areas like industry and infrastructure. This made China a favorable location for world factories. It attracted billions and billions of foreign direct investments. Soon, the Chinese per capita income and purchasing power leapfrogged. The world started looking at China with awe. As religions had been banned long since, Chinese had a lot of time at their disposal, unlike many other countries, which wasted time on glorifying imaginary gods and fighting wars on religious lines.
If other developing countries want to grow rapidly and shed the “developing country” tag, they can very well replicate what China did to defeat the odds and forge ahead to write a success story.
To be honest, the Chinese experience is no panacea. It may not work in other places. But it is worth trying to eradicate poverty, penury, ill-health, illiteracy, superstitions, and lack of cleanliness prevalent in developing countries. A confident big push might do the trick!