Sample Essay on Current Issues in the Global South

The key issues that are currently affecting countries in the global south include globalization, lack of developmental capital, unemployment and poverty. This paper will argued that globalization is the main factor that has led to poverty, poor economic growth, and underdevelopment in the global south. Most countries in the global south were subjected to some form of colonialization, which subjugated the people and prevented them from pursing national goals. After colonialism, countries in the global south were subjected to imperialism that continued to stifle economic growth in the region.[1] However, scholars like Alfred J. Lopez have argued that globalization is the key reason for underdevelopment and widespread poverty in the global south in the post-colonial era.[2]

Initially the proponents of globalization upheld it as the best tool for global economic growth that stands to benefit all the people from those living in the global north to south. However, evidence indicates the contrary because globalization has led to disproportionate suffering for the people living in the global south, and this is evident in the widespread poverty, unemployment, diseases and poor living standards. Even the global north where globalization has bestowed some benefits, it has disproportionately disenfranchised some groups, especially women, people of color, and immigrants who are not considered as belonging to the “national community”.[3]

Nevertheless, the ever-shrinking white middle class and the working poor also considered globalization as a threat to their way of life, political sovereignty, economy and cultural integrity. This is the main cause of the growing anti-immigration sentiments in the global north. Globalization has led to the disenfranchisement in the global south, and some scholars consider people in the global south as those living under global governance, but without proper representation in the global economy and affairs. Countries in the global south are excluded from the exercise of global power and the appropriation of global wealth, and yet they are affected by polices made at the global level with no chance of being heard or to respond.[4]

The marginalization of the countries in the global south has led to the emergence of sub-cultures and unofficial economies based on national, ethnic or religious affiliation. This makes people in these countries not to benefit from the advantage of globalization although they carry the burdens of globalization economically and politically. Scholars such as Hugo Radice argues that globalization benefited the global south because it has enabled the countries to arrive at what he refers to as “normal capitalism”.[5]  However, Hugo also contends that globalization has caused widespread inequalities in the global south inform of social injustice and uneven development.[6]

On the contrary, Hugo argues that in terms of global economic crises like the one witnessed in 2008, countries in the global north are the ones that are often impacted the most and experience a slow recovery. Countries in the global south experience slight shocks and recover quickly. However, the long-term, countries in the global south bear the heaviest cost of globalization. The path to economic development and ending poverty and inequalities in the global south has met many obstacles with globalization being the most recent one. Before the era of globalization, countries in the global north considered industrialization as their main approach to development, but there were disagreements on the best method of achieving it.[7]

After the Second World War, debates on development in the global south were split between communism and capitalism. Towards the end of 1960s, two schools of thoughts emerged and they included the dependency school and the mainstream school. The proponents of the main school advocated for a benevolent and democratic state that could steer the growth of a mixed economy whereby the public sector concentrates on gathering resources both social and physical, while the private sector would be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring transformation from agriculture-based societies to industrial ones. The critics of the dependency theory argued that the approach negated the existence of extreme inequalities in terms of wealth and power, and the need for markets and technology that could only be accessed by depending on developed nations.[8]

The collapse of the monetary order that was established by the Bretton Woods in 1944 caused by the decision by Japan and Western Europe to challenge industrial dominance by the U.S made inflation to spread throughout the world. In addition, the decision by OPEC countries to come together in order to increase the purchasing power of oil that was declining inspired countries in the global south to come together and demand for a new international order that would address the imbalances between the north and south. It was thought that a new international order would free the global south from the imperialism of former colonial masters. However, the measures the U.S had adopted to deal with its economic challenges caused a serious recession, and this means that countries in the global south that relied on cheap loans could no longer access them.[9]

Moreover, the loans had become expensive to finance, and in 1982, Mexico defaulted and it was the start of a debt crisis in the global south especially in African and Latin American countries. The debt crisis led to the establishment of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF that were charged with the responsibility of enforcing discipline in the global market. Between 1989 and 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the IMF and the World Bank had succeeded in imposing a neo-liberal ideology in every part of the world. The countries that did not conform to the neo-liberal ideologies were those in East Asia such as Taiwan and South Korea that had adopted the post-war development strategy that was being used by Japan.[10]

The neo-liberal ideologies saved African economies from the shrinking they were experiencing, while their counterparts in Latin America were saved from stagnation. Some of the successes attributed to the neo-liberal model included quick modernization, high economic growth, and ending the overdependence on foreign capital. The remarkable transformation of China and the high economic growth that is experienced up to date has been attributed to neo-liberal policies.[11]

The adoption of liberal policies also brought significant changes in Latin America. It led to economic growth but the distribution of the growth was uneven. From 1994 to 2001 a series of grave financial crisis were witnessed in the global south, especially in Mexico and Southeast Asia, Turkey, Brazil and Russia. The challenges were marked by capital flight, insolvencies in the financial sector, and enormous fiscal deficits largely because of poor economic governance and incomplete economic liberalization. Some critics attributed this to the focus on liberation while doing away with economic policies. In reality, these changes could be linked to globalization that led to the division of labor at the international level, the growth of new centers of accumulating capital, and a new social political order at the global level.[12]

For example, in the area of production, globalization has made the global south to stop focusing on food security in pursuit of foreign currency by cultivating high value cash crops. This production system is justified because imports can be used to complement food produced locally. This approach has proved ineffective because cases of widespread hunger and starvation are still common in the global south especially in Africa and some parts of Asia. In the area of manufacturing, governments in the global south are constantly looking for ways to move up the value chain, but this has proved difficult because it requires expensive infrastructure, and advanced local supply networks. Manufacturing also require high skilled workers, but countries in the global south are still facing a challenge because even after training workers, they often move to the global north where they are promised a better pay and high living standards.[13]


            In the initial stages, globalization was highly valued based on the argument that globalization is the only tool that can end the widespread inequalities between the global north and the global south. Proponents of globalization upheld it because it could benefit all ranging from a CEO in the UK to a farmer in Africa. On the contrary, globalization has not only failed to live to its promise, it has aggravated the inequalities between the global north and south by benefiting the global south that dominates resources and international politics. Globalization has led to further marginalization of the global south leading to widespread poverty, uneven development, and unemployment.



Lopez, Alfred J. “Introduction: The (Post) Global South.” The Global South, vol. 1, no. 1 (2007): 1-11.

Prashad, Vijay. The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World. New York: New Press, 2008

Radice, Hugo. “The Crisis and the Global South: From Development to Capitalism.” Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46, no. 48 (2011): 27-29.





[1] Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World  (New York New Press, 2008), p. 13-14

[2] , Alfred J Lopez, “Introduction: The (Post) Global South,” The Global South, vol. 1, no. 1 (2007): 1-11.

[3] Ibid., p. 2-3.

[4]Ibid., p. 2-3.

[5] Ibid., p. 2-3.

[6] Hugo Radice, “The Crisis and the Global South: From Development to Capitalism,” Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46, no. 48 (2011): 27-29.

[7] Ibid., p. 27-29

[8] Ibid., p. 27-29

[9]Ibid., p. 27-29

[10] Ibid., p. 27-29

[11] Ibid., p. 27-29

[12] Ibid., p. 27-29

[13] Ibid., p. 27-29