3.5.8 Policies for Developing Countries

Irrespective of moral and political considerations, poverty in developing countries is worth addressing from an economic perspective:

  • It is directly in everybody’s economic interest that developing countries become wealthier – to increase the total market for goods and services.
  • Population growth is lower in developed countries, as shown in the latest World Population Data Sheet. If developing countries become wealthier, with better education, it is reasonable to suppose that their population growth would eventually slow down.  Migratory pressures would be reduced (3.4.3).
  • The world as a whole would be wealthier if the productive capacity of poorer countries were more developed where they have a natural comparative advantage.

Although most people would prefer poverty in developing countries to be reduced or eliminated, there are sharp disagreements about the best course of action to bring this about.  There is a potential trade-off between economic growth and sustainability, so an appropriate balance needs to be achieved.

For growth, the issue is to identify the best approach – as described in the following sub-sections:

  • Aid can help people to survive and kick-start their economic development (
  • Developing countries can take measures to encourage their economies to grow (
  • Wealthy countries can allow developing economies to trade fairly with the rest of the world (
  • Developing countries can adopt new agricultural methods, so that they can feed themselves (



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