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Assignment: Licensed Vaccines

Assignment: Licensed Vaccines

Assignment: Licensed Vaccines


First discovered in 1976, the Ebola virus is fatal in half the cases, and there are no licensed vaccines. The West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were the most severely affected in the latest outbreak. All suffer from a lack of doctors and nurses, medical facilities and supplies, and public health infrastructure. Although the disease is not highly contagious and can only be transmitted through direct person-to-person contact, ill-informed and irresponsible headline news stories gave rise to a scare bordering on hysteria for a time in the United States.

Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, tribal and ethnic rivalries, official corruption, and violence against women are among the many problems we often associate with the regions formerly known as the Third World. What we often forget is that these problems are related to the bitter legacy of colonialism, and they continue to be exacerbated by the fact that many of the world’s poor countries contain resources that the world’s rich countries desire—a mixed blessing, to be sure, as the turmoil in the conflict-ridden Middle East attests.

World poverty amidst Western affluence raises serious moral issues. In this chapter, we focus on two basic questions. First, what are the causes of poverty and instability in least developed countries? Second, is a world divided between rich (“us”) and poor (“them”) sustainable? A closer look at the obstacles to progress and good government in these countries will shed light on the extreme challenges they face.

Development as Ideology

During the Cold War, the Third World was also called the South, which highlighted the great disparities between the industrially developed states in temperate climates above the equator (North), and the former colonies in the tropical and semitropical zones below it (South). According to a view known as neocolonialism, the rich nations of the North continued to exploit the poor nations of the South even after the latter gained independence in the post-World War II period. This view both reflected and fed into notions about the existence of an ill-defined North-South conflict.

Several Third World countries promulgated the idea of a Manichean struggle between the rich (north) and the poor (south) in the 1950s and 1960s. Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah published a book in 1956 entitled Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism.