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The Third World and Development in Cameroon Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Akwalla Johanness, Canada Feb 6, 2007
Health , Education   Opinions


The third world is not one mass. It would be highly misleading to portray the third world as an unchanging world of widespread poverty and illnesses. Most third world countries have made, and are still making
significant progress. Yet there has hardly been a change in the number of world economic categories. China is not anything near what it was decades ago; even between one year and the next there are great changes.

It must be realized that physical development or technological development is but one aspect of national development. A balanced view of development should comprise the cultural, personal, and physical
aspects of the society. Thus we may define development as “the sustained improvement of an entire society and social system towards a better and MORE JUST LIFE”. Walter Rodney notes that “development in human society is a many-sided process which comprises of the
-Physical development which includes man-made goods produced by the use of technology
-Cultural development which comprises of the values, norms and traditions of a society and,
-Personal development which includes the psychological
directions of individuals

Development is a continuing utility to mankind and the process of developing should be thought of as a continuing process and not as one that is static. This explains why such countries like Japan and the United
States continue to engage in research to become more developed. In other words, they are still developing.

Physical development: Natural resources like oil and minerals are provided by nature. The mere presence of natural resources within a nation is not development. Man-made resources result from the application of technology. If natural resources are harnessed to
provide food, shelter. Health and protection for the citizens and for other people with whom the citizens interact, and then there is physical development. This is what economists call “Economic Growth”.
Technology, the utilization of knowledge for useful ends, is an important requirement for man-made resources. Technology is required for the production of:
a) Communication equipment
b) Transportation equipment
c) Military hardware and all other goods and services for public consumption.

Technology may also be directed against the process of
1) Communication equipment- If the modes of communication are controlled by high level national or private authorities so that the ordinary person in the street and villages cannot express his or her views, this has a negative effect on the intellectual development of the nations e.g. the typical images of Africa, Asia and Latin America on American Television reveal mostly the exotic and negative aspects:
starving people, huts and naked people. And because truth is distorted we cannot claim that this is development.

2) Military Equipment: Technological progress has produced weapons used for both international aggression and internal subjugation of some portion of national population. With technological progress, Africans were
uprooted from Africa and enslaved in the western Worlds; Thousands of people were decimated by bombs in Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some individuals and nations (the merchant of the devil, as they are
sometimes called) increase their income by specializing in the production of weapons and inciting conflicts within weaker nations in order to sell weapons. To this day, the world is under the spectre of
nuclear extermination. These few examples only show how military technology has not served a useful purpose to mankind, yet, many would say this is development.

3) Cultural development: By culture we mean the body of all non-genetic information. Cultural development is an important component of development. The culture of a society is usually reflected in its values, norms and traditions. The economic and political institutions of any human society are structured to enhance the way of life of that society. Thus, two institutions are important here: the economic institutions and the political institutions.

Economic institutions embody those cultural values placed on the creation, governing and distribution of goods, whether in a traditional, market or planned economy. All these three types of economies involve
participation and decision-making in the production of goods and services. Two types of goods are produced in any society,” fun items and life sustaining items” necessary for the basic human survival and any nation that discriminates against a portion of its population or does not create conditions that improve the well-being of all or most of its people, is uncivilized and underdeveloped.

The political institution is another cultural component in any appraisal of national development. The quality of any government or any leader should not be solely judged in terms of election criteria but in terms of the usefulness of that government and the dedication of the leader to his people. This quality also depends essentially on how the government


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Akwalla Johanness

I am a young development activist who believes that for youths to be successful, we need to come together and share ideas that are beneficial to the whole of humanity.
I strongly believe that for Africa to come out of the political hostage its finds itself, our leaders must stop to consider themselves as traditional rulers. We all know that traditional rulers rule for life, and power is passed on to their descendant. And I think that once our leaders stop to think of themselves as such and concentrate on development by investing into the education and basic health care and social services, then can we say we are on the right path to human development.
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