Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

8.2B: Industrializing Countries

Industrializing countries have low standards of living, undeveloped industry, and low Human Development Indices (HDIs).

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

Explain why some scholars use the term ‘less-developed country’ instead of ‘industrializing country’

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Key Points

 

  • In the global hierarchy, industrializing countries are at the middle of the global economic order as measured by indicators such as income per capita, basic infrastructure, literacy rates, or HDI.
  • HDI is the measure of development that is used by the United Nations. HDI considers a country’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP), per capita income, rate of literacy, life expectancy, basic infrastructure, and other factors to determine how developed a country is.
  • Because so-called “industrializing countries” do not always have economic growth, some scholars prefer the descriptive term “less- developed country ” to describe nations with smaller economies than developed countries.

 

Key Terms

 

  • Human Development Index (HDI): A composite statistic used to rank countries by level of “human development,” taken as a synonym of the older term “standard of living. “
  • Developing Country: A nation with a low living standard, undeveloped industrial base, and low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries.
  • Industrializing Country: A nation with a low living standard, undeveloped industrial base, and low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries.

An industrializing country, also commonly referred to as a developing country or a less-developed country, is a nation with a low standard of living, undeveloped industrial base, and low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. HDI is the measure of development that is used by the United Nations. HDI considers a country’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP), per capita income, rate of literacy, life expectancy, basic infrastructure, and other factors affecting standard of living to determine how developed a country is. Industrializing countries have HDIs between the most and least industrialized countries in the world.

image

 

Map of GDP Per Capita (2008): The GDP of economies across the globe.

Considering global stratification, industrializing nations are at the middle of the hierarchy. Standards of living in industrializing nations are lower than in developed countries, but range widely depending on whether a nation is rapidly industrializing or is in decline. For example, India is considered a industrializing country. Many Indians, particularly in rural areas and urban slums, live in extreme poverty and have little access to healthcare, education, and paid employment. However, standards of living in India have greatly improved in recent decades as a result of a rapidly expanding economy. By contrast, in Afghanistan, which is also considered an industrializing nation, war and drought has halted economic growth and standards of living have not been rising substantially.

 

“Industrializing” versus “Less-developed”

 

Many scholars and social theorists have criticized the term “industrializing country” for being misleading. First, it implies that a country’s economy is growing; some partially industrialized countries are stagnant or in decline. Second, critics claim the term masks the inequality within each country. In other words, saying that India is an industrializing country hides the fact that within India some people are very wealthy and have a high standard of living, while some Indians are very poor and have few resources and opportunities. Because of such critiques, some scholars use the term less-developed country to describe the present circumstances in countries with relatively small economies and little infrastructure.

Developing Countries Need Infrastructure to Facilitate Trade: According to research from the World Bank, one challenge facing industrializing nations is how to successfully export products when they do not have pre-existing infrastructures to facilitiate international trade.

image

 

Developed and Developing Countries: This map shows what stage of economic development various countries are in. It also includes which nations are in a transitional moment between stages of development.