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Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Old 12-16-09, 03:47 PM
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Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

I heard this in the context of the impasse between China and the US during the global warming talks. It was a bit on NPR about how since China was a developing country it shouldn't be beholden to agreements (or at least not be required to put them in writing) especially since the "first world" countries (aka the US) are having problems working their end of the "deal"... or something like that. That's not really the point of the thread (there's already a global warming thread for that discussion) so if I have the details wrong I apologize. The point I want to know is why is China considered a "developing" or presumably "third-world" country? According to the CIA World Fact Book

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicat...k/geos/ch.html
Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2008 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income.
So is the latter part more important/critical than the former when considering whether something is "first" or "third" (btw whatever happened to "second-world" countries [1] ). What exactly does it mean to be "developing" as opposed to ??? "developed" I guess?



[1] To partially answer my own questions... looking it up on wikipedia it seems "first" "second" and "third" are relics of the Cold War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World There also seems to be some info on "developed" "developing" and "underdeveloped" on there as well, so maybe this will be a short thread, but I'll leave it open to see what kind of discussion is generated...

Last edited by nemein; 12-16-09 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 12-16-09, 03:58 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

When they start using a fork they will be developed.

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Old 12-16-09, 04:09 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Per capita is probably still too low.

edit: wiki says China's per capita was $3,259 (104th).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...%29_per_capita

Definitely still third-world. I don't see how anyone can argue otherwise.

Last edited by Ranger; 12-16-09 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 12-16-09, 04:17 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

I understand the cold war origination of the term 3rd world, but I think it has more evolved into this today.

Third World Countries classified by various indices : their Political Rights and Civil Liberties, the Gross National Income (GNI) and Poverty of countries, the Human Development of countries, and the Freedom of Information within a country.
There is not just one simple rule that defines 1st, 2nd, or 3rd anymore.


more

http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/third_world.htm


Or put more simply, is it safe to drink the tap water there? NO = 3rd world (no running water available also = 3rd world)
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Old 12-16-09, 04:25 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

How long is it going to take for us to both be 2nd world at the same time?
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Old 12-16-09, 04:30 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Given their global might, I think it is done because those that use the labels know China won't agree to anything the "first world" countries will, so there is an advantage to maintaining their "3rd world" status.....less people to opt out of crappy agreements.

Look at it this way. If you know China won't agree to anything that would ever be asked of them towards the global community, you keep them labeled as a 3rd world country so that you can claim that all the developed countries are on board. I think it is that simple.
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Old 12-16-09, 04:40 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Or more simply, war is peace?
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Old 12-16-09, 05:04 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Given their global might, I think it is done because those that use the labels know China won't agree to anything the "first world" countries will, so there is an advantage to maintaining their "3rd world" status.....less people to opt out of crappy agreements.

Look at it this way. If you know China won't agree to anything that would ever be asked of them towards the global community, you keep them labeled as a 3rd world country so that you can claim that all the developed countries are on board. I think it is that simple.
I think aside from all the demographics that are used to distinguish 1st, 2nd, 3rd this is probably the most true explanation of what is going on. I mean we can look at per capita, GDP, drinking water, whatever you want and place China on that scale, but let's be honest they have a lot of power these days. Granted it is mainly economic but it is my understanding they are working on subs (http://www.heritage.org/research/asi...fic/wm1001.cfm) and aircraft carriers (http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...d/china/cv.htm) [note links chosen at random from results found via a search] which are the hallmarks of a modern military and the ability to direct that type of power on a global scale. I think to continue to classify them as developing is underselling their impact on the world and allows them to dodge some of the language/requirements of some of these types of agreements. JMO...
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Old 12-16-09, 05:59 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Aren't there poor villages in China where everyone shits in the mud puddle at the end of town?
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Old 12-16-09, 07:42 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

They do that in Tennessee.

Seriously, the government is set up very different for social services. They have the ability to change a lot of the poverty that they have. Hell, they just had a $500 billion stimulus bill that focused on infrastructure. Consider what how far that actually goes in China with lower labor costs, no unions, etc. They simply don't do it. Deciding not to take care of your people in the same manner as the West doesn't make you a 3rd world nation. They have the economic might to be big time (and they are), but because they don't take the same social responsibility that the West does, they are 3rd world? That's an issue of culture, imo.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:48 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Sichuan Earthquake
May 12, 2008 - before the Summer Olympics.
68,712 dead
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake

1976 Tangshan earthquake - not that long ago - had 779,000 dead.

It looks like they still have some serious safety issues.
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Old 12-16-09, 11:52 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

It looks like they still have some serious safety issues.
No doubt about that. Also consider all the product safety issues related to China's exports. Is that what makes a country "first world" or "developing"? I guess that's the first question the needs to be answered, what makes a country "developing" and does "develop" necessarily equate to "first world". As some of the links above show there seems to be a lot of debate about this alone. Also whether "first" "second" "third" even have any context anymore or are they cold war relics.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:24 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Well, personally, I think per capita is the best measure of determining whether a country is "first" or "third" world. I often look at sites like city-data.com to compare the per capita and other stats of American cities.

I remember in the Knox thread that Birrman54 mistakenly listed India as a developed country which it certainly isn't. India's per capita ($2,780/130th) is even lower than China. So what if India has some modern developments here and there and a decent military, it doesn't mean much if the majority of the country is dirt-poor.
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Old 12-17-09, 01:13 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Sounds like there is no incentive for any "developing" country to strive to become "developed."
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Old 12-17-09, 02:32 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Sounds like there is no incentive for any "developing" country to strive to become "developed."
You're also forgetting that they would have to stop lording over us about how much better their health care systems are and their lower infant mortality rate.
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Old 12-17-09, 03:01 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

And how great their education system supposedly is.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:07 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Ranger's got it. It's all about per capita.

In the classes I teach, we tend to use the words: industrialized, developing, and third-world.

"Developed" sounds final, and of course America and other countries like it and their respective economies and industries can continue to evolve.

However, countries like China and India don't actually have their own industries (Bollywood excluded?). They rely on other countries' technologies and methods, and just copy them. Until they create their own industries and their most significant resource becomes something other than "labor," they will still be classified as "developing," in my book.

Energy production and usage, attention to environmental conditions in cities, child mortality rate (no comments about the U.S.'s rate--do your research before spouting the oft-used idiot lines), life expectancy, etc.--all those are, in my opinion, variables dependent on GDP per capita. As each person becomes wealthier and a greater contributor to the economy, they demand better healh care, cleaner environent, etc.. Poor people are more concerned with living through the day. Richer people are more concerned with being comfortable and happy.


What gets me is that some people consider Russia a "developing" nation. And I hardly see Brazil as in the same category as the others (BRIC nations), but maybe the world will see it differently after the Olympics there.

Last edited by Cheato; 12-17-09 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:12 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

child mortality rate (no comments about the U.S.'s rate--do your research before spouting the oft-used idiot lines), life expectancy, etc.
Thank you.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:36 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

% of employment in agriculture

China - 49%
Romania - 32%
United States - 2%

Color TVs per household

China - 0.468
Romania - 0.554
United States - 0.997

Energy consumption per head (kg oil equivalent)

China - 1242
Romania - 1778
United States - 7921

-----------------------------------------------------

No country where half the population still works in agriculture can be considered 'developed'.
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Old 12-17-09, 10:40 AM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

But they have nuclear weapons. Doesn't that make them developed?
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Old 12-17-09, 12:23 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
% of employment in agriculture

China - 49%
Romania - 32%
United States - 2%

Color TVs per household

China - 0.468
Romania - 0.554
United States - 0.997

Energy consumption per head (kg oil equivalent)

China - 1242
Romania - 1778
United States - 7921

-----------------------------------------------------

No country where half the population still works in agriculture can be considered 'developed'.
I refuse to believe the US has just under 1 color tv per household.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:24 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
No country where half the population still works in agriculture can be considered 'developed'.
Exactly. Don't let the shiny lights of Shanghai or Beijing fool you. Most of China is still dirt poor.
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Old 12-17-09, 12:52 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I refuse to believe the US has just under 1 color tv per household.
The US has about 2.5 TV sets per household. I don't know how many of those are color, but I can't believe it isn't the vast majority.
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Old 12-17-09, 01:00 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I refuse to believe the US has just under 1 color tv per household.
I thought it was odd myself. My source is the 2008 edition of The Economist Pocket World in Figures.
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Old 12-17-09, 01:03 PM
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Re: Why is China still considered a "developing" country?

Maybe it's households that have at least one color TV.
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