West indian countries

Why are some countries rich and others poor? – my Republic

The economic performance of any nation state requires a thorough analysis of its various social and political determinants; To truly understand whether and how a state “succeeds” or “fails” in implementing economic schemes requires holistic and multidimensional analysis.

As someone who was born and raised in what has been historically classified as one of the poorest countries in the world – Nepal – I have often asked myself, “What makes Nepal so poor?” ? “,” Is it because the country is landlocked between two emerging economic giants – China and India? “,” Is it the gulf between ethnic lines? or “Is it because of the autocratic regime of the ruling elite – the Shahs and Ranas who exploited their subjects?” “Or” Is it the education system, which was only made accessible to the general public in the 1950s? the poorest and most vulnerable in the country?

In my one lifetime Nepal has had to undergo enormous political and social changes which resulted in the inability of the nation state to establish an accountable and stable government. A conversation I have heard repeatedly between two Nepalese citizens supports the feeling that it is the greed of political leaders who want to monopolize power that repeatedly leads to power struggles between (and within) parties for be the only reason behind the economic (and socio-political) backwardness. What is the most specific question to ask here, if any? What explains the differences in growth between countries?

First, taking the case of Nepal into consideration, many argue that this is because of the country’s geography – the fact that it is landlocked and mountainous, makes any orientation towards economic growth and / or impossible. development of any kind. However, this particular position can be easily contradicted by the example of Switzerland which is very similar to Nepal in terms of geographic features but is renowned for being one of the wealthiest nation states in the world today. Indeed, global inequality cannot be explained by such a simplistic and naive proposition. In the contemporary context, inequality has emerged from the unequal distribution of industrial technologies and the means of production. Nepal as a nation state never truly embraced the breakthrough of the Industrial Revolution and the technological divide evidently continues to this day.

Next comes a hypothesis that as an anthropologist I cannot and must not ignore – the cultural one. I would be lying if I said I haven’t heard people accuse the Nepalese ‘culture’ of being the reason for the country’s ‘backwardness’, the reason for its stagnant and unreliable bureaucratic system, and the reason for it. which seasoned politicians who failed continue to reign on the throne time and time again. However, this point of view, even when expressed by the Nepalese themselves, is inherently ethnocentric because the point of view stems from a rather Eurocentric explanation. There are certainly many differences in practices, beliefs, norms and values, but the difference in prosperity is not the cause of a certain culture but rather the consequence of different institutions that create different incentives. .

As mentioned earlier, in a short time Nepal had to go through multiple political changes – from an autocratic monarchy to a democratic monarchy for a full democracy to a democracy slightly influenced by communism and between each type of governance the country has has been a major cause of instability and disruption in education, health services, basic government services, and potential technological advancements. There was (and continues to be) a political priority – and the urgency of bringing about federal reforms and changes rather than technological advancements within the nation-state. Therefore, it is because of Nepal’s political history rather than its culture that its development has lagged moderately behind other nation-states which have adopted the necessary economic policies and political institutions crucial to it. Economic Growth). Additionally, culture is constantly changing and never stagnates, making it difficult to quantify over time as a variable of economic development or lack of it.

Then there is what you will hear in almost any meeting involving any number of middle aged Nepalese, the highly internalized ignorance hypothesis: “Our (political) leadership is inadequate. They are not educated enough and therefore lack the understanding of what it takes to govern a successful nation state. The ignorance hypothesis claims that unlike the developed countries of the Global North, Nepal or the Nepalese (overtime) rulers have remained unable to truly understand the policies required and have failed to choose the right development patterns. Economic and Social.

While it is true that recent former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is only supposed to be a high school graduate, the majority of contemporary Nepalese political leaders have received formal higher education, as have modern leaders such as the charismatic BP Koirala, the democratically elected first prime minister. . However, a degree does not say much about the capabilities of political leaders and a great testament to this is Indira Gandhi from India who never graduated from college but remains to this day one of the core strengths of the community. Indian democracy. In the case of Nepal, political leaders have not adopted certain economic or political policies because they are unable to know better, but they do so to stay in power – there is a reason for an exponential increase in the number. of parliamentarians who happen to be rich conglomerates.

All things considered, the economic performance of any nation state requires a thorough analysis of its various social and political determinants; To truly understand whether and how a state “succeeds” or “fails” in implementing economic schemes requires holistic and multidimensional analysis.


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