Friday, June 20, 2008

SUMMER PROJECT POST: ABC's of Developing Nations and Microfinance

This is the second of my 4 summer project posts around the theme of "Global Challenges: Narrowing the Gap between Developing and Developed Nations". If the Kiva article got your attention, you might want to find out more about what defines a developing nation, what microfinance is, and other basic concepts around this topic. The link below will take you to a google doc I published online that contains excerpts from articles with information on this issue.

Once you've read it, consider answering some or all of the questions below:

1. Based on your knowledge of world history, current events, etc., why do you think some countries have become "more developed" than others?

2. Is being "more developed" necessarily a good thing for a nation? Why or why not? What are some advantages/disadvantages to being a developed or developing nation?

3. Why do you think women in developing countries are the most likely to apply for microfinance loans?

4. In your opinion, what would be the most desirable and important outcome of microfinance efforts in developing countries? Why is this outcome the most desirable/important?


chenayakirsen said...

I think that one of the main reasons some countries have become more developed than others is the availability of natural resources. For example chad (in africa) is very dry arid and barren and therefore not good for agriculture compared to the us which has lots of fertile farm land. Agriculture gives a base for many things needed in a developed country, when you dont have that it is hard to find something else to base your country off of.
Being developed is a good thing for the people living in it presently but it has many issues too. Developed countries eventually have to fall and therefore we are closer to our termination than other countries that havnt even started to become stable and developed. Also the world powers expect more from developed countries to help in times of trouble, wars...when other countries need help they generally look to us. Right now we are sort of like the "mother" country and we just have a lot of responsibility to uphold.

Ms. Stotler said...

You mean...physical environment impacts the development of a civilization???!!! No way! (Just're right on.)

Are you saying that in order to fall, a civilization has to be "developed"? It seems to me that there have been a lot of civilizations in history that fell before they were developed (through conquest, for instance).

Your second point about other countries expecting a lot from us as a developed nation is definitely a burden we are currently shouldering. If you're familiar with the Parable of the Faithful Servant, "From those to whom much has been given, much will be required."

drumlinebabyy10 said...

I also believe that some countries are becoming more "developed" than others is because of natural resources such as: good farming land, water, oil, etc. But I also believe that with a stronger central government that things that are required are going to get done quicker. America, for the most part, has an extremely strong government system to keep order and some level of stability. We are also lucky to have good agriculture, trade, and other necessities.
Being developed is a great thing. We have a lot of responsibility that we obviously put on ourselves, but regardless have it all organized. We are the main source of help when needed and as Chenaya said, the "mother" to everyone. I don't believe though, that this is an excuse for developing countries to just throw in the towel and call for help everytime. There has to be a point where they take responsibility.
I believe that more women are turning to microfinance because men have the overall power. Men work and earn the money, where it seem women don't have any independence. If they could get help with financial problems, they can do things on their own, thus becoming their own person, instead of relying on men.

-Mariah Ryan

Ardath Osborne said...

The most important and desirable outcome of microfinance, from my understanding, is empower the poor people, to create developed countries, to ultimately end world poverty. The importance to ending world poverty is to give people a chance to become who they truly are. Because they do not have the resources they need to get started, microfinance is a good way to do this. Very poor people are motivated by this opportunity to success, and pay back their loans at a higher rate than Americans do. They prove to be good workers and in most cases hold successful business from the aid they received. Women are shown to fight poverty well because they strongly care for their families and want what is best for their children. This also gives them an opportunity have more power than they ever have.
With the thought of underdeveloped countries becoming developed, one thing seems negative. Think about it- if all countries became developed that would mean that they would all be involved in industry. Industrial plants would be popping up across the globe like dandelions. What effect would that have on the environment? Would people be more careful? Or would it ultimately lead to our downfall?