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Distorted Development Within Countries

Midgley (1997) notes that there are many examples of distorted development in the world. In some countries in the Global South, such as in Latin America, extensive economic growth has occurred without corresponding social development. This can also be seen in wealthier nations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. These countries are among the wealthiest in the world, yet a high percentage of their population still lives in poverty with their basic needs unmet.

Certain populations within a country are more likely to be victims of distorted development. Those who are left out of social development frequently share common characteristics. According to the economist Goulet, development should offer three things: life sustenance, self-esteem, and freedom (Thomas-Slayter, 2003). Those who are left out typically lack access to these due to discrimination, poverty, and/or lack of access to education. These barriers make it difficult for these people to make such basic decisions as where to live, whom to marry, how to earn a living, and with whom to engage in sexual relations. The barriers can lead to social problems such as AIDS, refugees, and slavery. For example, women frequently receive less than their share of the benefits of development. Although women perform two-thirds of the work in the world, they receive only 10% of the income and own less than 1% of the property (United Nations, 2005). These three barriers are discussed in further detail in Chapter 2.

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