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Assignment: Import Industrial Goods.

Assignment: Import Industrial Goods.

Assignment: Import Industrial Goods.

NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT:Assignment: Import Industrial Goods.

To modernize, poor countries need to import industrial goods. To pay for manufactures, LDCs need to export food, fiber, and minerals. But the terms of trade tend to work against them—the price of industrial goods is high, while the price of agricultural products and raw materials is often low. Commodity prices on the world market fluctuate wildly at times, creating uncertainties and mounting foreign debt.

Some LDCs also face a serious population problem. The industrial democracies have population growth of less than 1%, and several western European countries reached zero or negative population growth by 1990. By contrast, many of the poorest countries still have birthrates in the range of 2 to 3% annually (compare Figure 9.6 and Figure 9.7). In some African countries (Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), as well as in parts of the Middle East (notably the Palestinian territories and Yemen), annual birthrates are greater than 3%.

Rapid urbanization poses acute problems because LDCs do not have the resources to support public services, build roads and bridges, or create new schools, hospitals, housing complexes, and most important, jobs. Many people do not have easy access to a water pump, much less indoor plumbing. Open sewers and contaminated drinking water pose a standing threat to public health.

Tens of millions of people go to bed hungry every night. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization put the number suffering from malnutrition or chronic undernourishment in 2010–2012 at 817 million, most of whom live in the least developed countries. These numbers have been falling in Asia and Latin America but are still on the rise in Africa. Many malnourished children are sick up to 160 days in a year, and chronic hunger plays a role in at least half the 10.9 million child deaths annually.*

The main obstacles to ending world hunger today are political, not economic. The so-called Green Revolution—that is, the application of agricultural technology and modern irrigation and synthetic fertilizers to produce high-yield strains of wheat, rice, and corn—has helped ease the food-population crisis in India, Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere, but at a high cost to the environment.* People who subsist on severely limited diets do not have the energy to be productive, leaving many developing nations caught in a vicious cycle: they are poor because they are not productive enough, and they are not productive enough because they are poor.