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Class Supplement: 早稲田AO Extra Questions

2012年9月19日

This map is taken from a website entitled World Map of Railways. Take a look at it and answer the following questions.

World Map of Railways ( http://theintrepid.blogspot.com/2009/10/world-map-of-railways.html)

1. Focusing on Africa and India, write a paragraph explaining what you can learn from this map concerning development.

2. Discuss what aspects other than infrastructure are necessary to fight poverty.

Answer Keys
Excerpts from Common Wealth Economics for Crowded Planet, Jeffrey D. Sachs
pp.227-228
Unlike the Eurasian landmass, sub-Saharan Africa is inherently isolated by the Sahara and by the lack of rivers navigable from the ocean to the interior. Moreover, the colonial powers did not build much infrastructure in the interior of Africa. In India, the British raj constructed a thorough rail network often connected to rural roads, in part to bring India’s rural cotton production to British factories. In Africa, by contrast, rails were not built to reach villages but rather a few diamond and gold mines. The result was not a rail network but some disconnected rail capillaries that reached only a tiny proportion of Africa’s rural population.

pp. 229-231
The poor know what to do but are too poor to do it. Since they can’t meet their immediate needs (food, safe water, health care) they also can’t afford to save and invest for the future. That is where foreign assistance comes in. A temporary boost of aid over the course of several years, if properly invested, can lead to a permanent rise in productivity. That boost, in turn, leads to self-sustaining growth. The logical chain is the following:
Temporary aid→Boost of productivity→Rise of saving and investment→Sustained growth

The escape from extreme poverty requires four basic types of investment. The first is a boost to productivity of the core livelihood, agriculture. This is the hallowed Green Revolution that initially lifts smallholder farmers out of subsistence. The second is health, including control of the main killers-infection, nutritional deficiencies, and unsafe childbirth-through the provision of preventative and curative health services. The third is education, which ensures that households develop the requisite skills to navigate the local global economy. The fourth is infrastructure, essential for productivity in every sphere, including power, roads, safe water for drinking and sanitation, phone and Internet connectivity, and port services. The boost of farm production has very often been the deus ex machina that triggers the long term growth process. It is also a process that often starts with outside help, as when the United States funded the initial research and many of the inputs (improved seeds and fertilizer) that went into India’s Green Revolution, which began in the second half of the 1960s. In the urban areas, the initial investment will not support agriculture but rather manufacturing or services. Perhaps the trigger to growth will be improved roads that facilitate trade or an improved port that permits the start of an apparel sector or a power plant that provides vital power for factory production. Whatever the particular investment, the concept is the same: raise productivity above subsistence in order to trigger a self-sustaining process of economic growth.

1. Focusing on Africa and India, write a paragraph explaining what you can learn from this map concerning development.

I can learn from this map that whether a country has its infrastructure in place or not can be related to its development. Africa, the world’s poorest continent, has few railway networks except in South Africa and countries up in the north, while India, which is now regarded as an emerging economy, has railways which are as closely woven as those in many developed nations such America and Spain. This contrast between these two countries which share the same kind of history mainly of colonization, independence after WWII, and epidemic-like poverty which followed after the independence tells that the existence of railways can be a factor that have decided the fortune of them. When India put its foot in the door of development with the development of IT industry and globalization, it had an established system of transportation the British had left which was ready to accommodate the needs to move materials and people quickly and in large amounts, and we know the rest of the story. Africa, on the other hand, has almost no facilities to provide necessities such as food, medicine, and materials, which hampers the efforts for development.

2. Discuss what aspects other than infrastructure are necessary to fight poverty.

The key to successful fight against poverty is to assist the poor out of the vicious cycle of subsistence by making them able to support themselves and develop their community by themselves. To help start their self-sustaining growth, developed countries can assist them in three areas other than helping build their infrastructure.
1) assistance in agriculture:
to help them out of food shortage through provision of technology and skills
2) assistance in health care:
to help them eliminate preventable deaths but providing basic healthcare which most developed countries enjoy in a way almost as equal as fundamental human rights
3) assistance in education:
to help their children receive proper education so that they can contribute to the community especially in its economic development in the future

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