Increasing concern has been expressed by Third World leaders and international organizations alike over the growing gap between rich and poor nations. Between 1950 and 1980 alone, the per capita income gap between low-income and industrialized countries grew from $3,677 to $9,648. In addition, within the developing nations themselves, an ever-widening gap separates the rich from the poor.
Other evidence suggests that middle-income countries may be gaining on the rich countries. Some research shows that the gap in education and health is narrowing rather rapidly, and studies of domestic inequality have revealed that growth with equity has occurred in a number of developing nations that have committed themselves to such a policy.
This volume presents the evidence for both sides of the debate. It begins by stating the conventional wisdom–that international and internal gaps are widening–and goes on to examine the major explanations offered, which focus on culture, urban bias, dependency, and world-system analysis. The book then presents empirical studies on the existence and causes of the gap, as well as key case studies that challenge the conventional wisdom.
Unique in its objectivity, this text does not seek to serve either side of the debate, but instead draws upon the best research in the field to highlight major issues and to present studies that have subjected the differing perspectives to rigorous empirical analysis. It will prove especially useful in courses on Third World development, political economy, comparative politics, development economics, the sociology of development, and related topics.
Preface -- Defining the Gap between Rich and Poor -- The Dual Gaps: An Overview of Theory and Research -- The Gap Between Rich and Poor Countries -- Income Inequality: Some Dimensions of the Problem -- Contending Explanations of the Gaps -- Economic Growth and Income Inequality -- Cultures and Growth -- The Achievement Motive in Economic Growth -- Becoming Modern -- The Confucian Ethic and Economic Growth -- On the Sociology of National Development: Theories and Issues -- Urban Bias and Inequality -- The Structure of Dependence -- Modernization and Dependency: Alternative Perspectives in the Study of Latin American Underdevelopment -- The Present State of the Debate on World Inequality -- Reiterating the Identity of the Peripheral State -- Empirical Studies: Evidence Meets Theory -- Economic Development and the Distribution of Income -- The World-Economy and the Distribution of Income Within States: A Cross-National Study -- Cross-National Evidence of the Effects of Foreign Investment and Aid on Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of Findings and a Reanalysis -- Dependence on Foreign Investment and Economic Growth in the Third World -- Some Recent Explanations of Income Inequality -- Financial Dependence in the Capitalist World Economy and the Distribution of Income Within Nations -- Some Questions on the Validity of Income Distribution Data -- Assessing Progress Toward Greater Equality of Income Distribution -- The Vicious Circle of Poverty -- Is There a Tradeoff Between Growth and Basic Needs? -- Case Studies and Conclusions -- “Trickle-up” Income Redistribution and Development in Central America During the 1960s and 1970s -- Sugar Dependency in Cuba: Capitalism versus Socialism -- Rapid Growth with Improved Income Distribution: The Taiwan Success Story -- The Future of the Gap Between Rich and Poor -- Inequality in a Global Perspective: Directions for Further Research -- Other Titles of Interest from Westview Press