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Less-Developed Countries & Obstacles to Development

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  • 0:01 Lesser-Developed…
  • 0:21 Social & Political Hurdles
  • 2:07 Economic & Financial Hurdles
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Most of the world's population lives in lesser-developed countries struggling to develop and rise out of poverty. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the major hurdles facing these countries in their quest to develop.

Lesser-Developed Country Defined

A lesser-developed country (LDC), sometimes called a developing country, is a country with a low level of economic development compared to developed countries, such as Japan, Europe and North America, with the exception of Mexico. LDCs are located in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Social & Political Hurdles

LDCs have some political and social hurdles to overcome in pursuing development. A rapidly growing population is a giant hurdle for many LDCs. Most of the world's population is actually in LDCs rather than in the developed countries, and people take resources just to survive. The more people there are, the more resources are necessary to provide basic necessities like food, clean water and adequate sanitation. More resources used for survival means there are less resources available for economic development.

Gender inequality also adds to the problem. In many LDCs, the culture frowns upon women working outside of the home. Downplaying or ignoring half of a country's valuable human resources is typically not a good development plan.

Many LDCs are run by corrupt and inefficient governments. A developed economy requires predictability in the application of law, and trust in the government, given the power it can wield businesses. Corruption prevents this predictability and creates instability and uncertainty, both of which are bad for business. Corruption also creates inefficiency when those in power make decisions based not on sound development strategy but rather on what benefits them or their patrons. For example, important jobs or economic projects may go to political patrons rather than the most qualified people and firms.

Even honest governments in LDCs can have serious problems. In the world of lesser-developed countries, governments often have inadequate resources available to engage in meaningful development or even maintain their current infrastructure. This brings us to our next topic - economic and financial hurdles.

Economic & Financial Hurdles

LDCs also face several economic and financial hurdles in their race to development. A lack of capital and investment is a serious obstacle for development. Many LDCs simply don't have the ability to invest in things like factories, machinery, equipment, infrastructure and higher education to support a developed economy.

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